Tevin McDaniel was a busy man in the first quarter.
The rest of the game, not so much.
The speedy Northwest Whitfield High School senior scored four touchdowns in the opening period as his team raced to a 35-0 lead less than 12 minutes into the game en route to a 49-7 victory over Heritage-Catoosa at Jeff Sims Field.
The Bruins remained undefeated five games into the season and started Sub-region 7B-4A play the right way. The Generals (0-5, 0-1) lost their 15th straight and still haven’t won since the 2011 season.
“That’s what we wanted to do, get out to a fast start,” said McDaniel, who like most of the starters rested during the second half. “I just went out there and played the way I’m supposed to play.”
And play McDaniels did. During his electric first quarter, he had a 66-yard touchdown reception, a 32-yard interception return for a score and two more touchdown catches from 1 yard out and 21 yards out.
Sprinkle in two more first-half touchdown passes from quarterback Caleb Shiflett (6 yards to wide receiver Andy Whisenant and 10 yards to wide receiver Clay Phillips), a 10-yard scoring run by running back Jacob Webb and seven extra points, and the game was decided by halftime.
But it wasn’t all offense. Northwest’s defense held the Generals’ offense to 14 total yards in the first quarter and 51 yards in the first half.
Northwest’s junior varsity squad played parts of the second quarter and all of the third quarter, while the freshman team played the fourth quarter. A running clock was used the entire second half.
“We want to come out and perform the best we can no matter who it is,” Northwest coach Josh Robinson said. “I think they got better in the first half, and that’s something to build on.”
Towards the end of the game, Northwest players celebrated the win by writing on a white marker board, “Northwest 5-0,” and foreshadowed next Friday night’s showdown in Tunnel Hill against the Dalton Catamounts with the message “Dalton is next.”
Not only is that game an intense, intracounty rivalry game, it also is important in the standings as a sub-region game.
“You can use all the clichés, and I’m sure people will say, ‘Ah, it’s just another game,’ but it’s fun,” Robinson said. “It really is a good opportunity for our guys to get out in front of a lot of people, the community is going to be talking about it and it’s a great opportunity.
“It’s fun. I wish every week was high school football like Northwest and Dalton. I don’t think we need to worry about focus. These guys know what we want out of them.”
McDaniel knows the atmosphere at Bruin Stadium will be wild, as will the run-up to the game. His cousin, Chris Childs, plays for Dalton.
He’s sure there will be some good-natured ribbing during the week.
“It’s going to be crazy,” McDaniel said.
Northwest had a scare before the game as backup lineman/linebacker Hank Miller had an allergic reaction and was attended to by paramedics. He did not play, but was OK.
Defensive lineman Cameron Atkins, who played for the first time since tearing his ACL in the first game of the season, reinjured his knee and “unfortunately, I think it’s over for him,” Robinson said.
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