“You happy now? You relax now?”
That is what North Side coach Mike Brevard threw at quarterback Duce Taylor, smiles adorning both their faces, with 3:35 left on the clock Friday night. Both were true for Taylor as the former Snider player threw for 313 yards and four touchdowns in a monumental (for the moment) 47-17 win over the Panthers.
It was the biggest margin of loss for Snider since 2013. It was North Side’s biggest margin of victory over the Panthers since 1988; neither Brevard or any of his players were born yet at the time of that one.
“I think that is what we’ve been missing the past three years; to just have the first victory over one of the big four teams of the conference,” Brevard said. “The biggest thing when you are taking over a program that traditionally is not a powerhouse, the first thing you try to fix is the mentality that you can play with everybody else.”
It was the first season-opening win for North Side since 2015 and for Brevard, it was a big win for the growth of his program. The Legends went 0-10 in his first season and have started 0-4 and 0-3 the last two years, including a 51-0 loss to Snider a season ago.
But things were clearly different this Week 1 and they felt different along the North Side sideline.
Striking first was crucial and North Side did that via a fumble recovery by Jaylen Walker for a score on the first play from scrimmage. But Snider struck back three and a half minutes later on a Deron Swanson keeper to even the score at seven.
North Side, to prove themselves, had to answer and did in a big way with 19 unanswered points, capped by Taylor finding Ronald Collins III on a beautiful throw with 7:06 left in the opening half.
North Side, to their credit, never relented. Its sideline was rowdy, it sensed early on that it had Snider dejected and on the ropes. The Legends responded and the Panthers, on this night, did not.
Trent Rider added a 26-yard field goal late in the second quarter for Snider, but North rebounded again on the legs of senior Ja’suan Lambert and an 11-yard touchdown run from Brauntae Johnson to push the halftime lead to 33-10.
Lambert ended with a game-high 126 yards rushing on 16 attempts with one score.
“The thing I have been preaching about is the process. Can we be 11-0? Can we win our eleven individual battles? And tonight, the boys did their job and I’m proud of them,” Brevard said.
By the time Snider backup quarterback Luke Haupert found Donovan Smith for a 40 yard touchdown pass at the end of the third quarter, things still felt academic. One sideline was reeling and the other was boasting about shocking the city. North Side added one more score with 5:53 left in the game on a Jordan Turner five-yard catch to wrap up the big win.
Turner scored two North Side touchdowns as part of his six receptions for 132 yards.
And Taylor, whose arm was instrumental in the victory, was able to smile as Brevard interacted with him down the stretch after the Legend starting quarterback had ended his night.
“For me, it was a big win. For North Side, a very personal win. We are going to celebrate as a team and tomorrow it’s back to business,” Taylor said.
And back to business it has to be. North Side began the year 0-3 in 2019 and did not score a point until Week 4. It started 2020 off right with its first win over Snider since 2013. The Legends now must set their sights on beating Bishop Dwenger for the first time since 2012.
“We have the gauntlet and for the first time in three years, we aren’t starting 0-1 or 0-3,” Brevard said. “We are going to take it week by week. That is one thing that COVID has taught us is this could be gone tomorrow so we are going to enjoy this but come Monday we are 0-0.”