Carolina Blue visited Durham County Stadium to give you the best possible coverage of the Northern Durham versus Mt Tabor high school playoff football game. The game featured A.J. Davis and A.J. Nicholson, both players who are usually rated as the the top two overall prospects in North Carolina.
Davis' Northern Durham team obtained bragging rights over Nicholson's Mt. Tabor team with a 20-9 victory in the second round of the NCHSAA Playoffs. Despite the win for Davis, the big story of the game may have been the injury to A.J. Nicholson.
Nicholson went down in the third quarter and seemed to be in great pain. He stayed on the ground for 4 or 5 minutes as Mt. Tabor's trainers assisted him. Nicholson made it to the bench with little help from the trainers. However, he never returned back to the game after the injury occured. He was able to walk off the field by himself after the game, but he was very slow in doing so and looked as though he was still hurting. We spoke to Mt. Tabor's head trainer, but she refused to comment on Nicholson's condition at this time.
The game itself was a defensive battle as neither team could move the ball while on offense. Northern Durham gained a season low 132 yards of total offense on the night. Seventy-three of those yards came on Northern's first offensive play of the game as Northern's running back Mangum rushed for a 73-yard touchdown to put the Northern Durham Knights up 7-0 only 15 seconds into the game.
The Knights would not move the ball very well the rest of the game. Northern scored the remainder of their points through turnovers and excellent defensive play. The knights brought an interception back for a touchdown and kicked a field goal off of an earlier interception to put additional points on the board.
Mt. Tabor also had trouble moving the ball. Despite Mt. Tabor's dominating 31 minutes in time of possession and Price, their running back breaking the 100 yard mark with 118; Mt. Tabor only had 191 yards of total offense in the game.
A.J. Nicholson made several great tackles for Mt. Tabor including 1 sack before he left the game with the injury. He also had one carry on the night for 1 yard.
A.J. Davis had one carry for 13 yards and two catches for zero yards on the night. Davis had zero interceptions but he did break up several passes.
With the win Northern Durham advances to the third-round of the NCHSAA Playoffs next Friday, November 30th with a game against the number one ranked team in North Carolina - Charlotte Independence. Independence is led by quarterback C.J. Leak and has a dominating passing game featuring wide receivers Mario Raley and Eric Lyon. The game should make for an interesting matchup with Independence's powerful passing attack against the Northern Durham highly rated pass defense, which features A.J. Davis and two other future division I players.