Riding a seven-game losing streak ever since it dropped the 2018 season finale, North Crowley came out on fire on Arlington Sam Houston’s home turf Thursday night.
The Panthers forced seven turnovers, including five interceptions on their way to a 42-14 victory at Wilemon Field to earn their first win of the season.
“It feels real good. We’ve had to battle every week. We play very tough opponents,” North Crowley coach Courtney Allen said. “We have a very young team so it feels good to see those kids have some success tonight.”
North Crowley (1-6, 1-3 District 4-6A) took off nearly five minutes during the game’s opening possession, running 11 plays for 51 yards. The Panthers capped the drive off with a 1-yard touchdown run from quarterback Quinton Jackson.
The Panthers’ ensuing onside kick was recovered by Carlos Walker and six plays later, they led 14-0. Running back Tristan White took a dive play up the middle for the 23-yard score with 5:24 left in the first quarter.
Sam Houston (2-5, 1-3) finally got the ball and drove it to the North Crowley 20, but an 11-yard gain on fourth-and-14 forced the Texans to turn the ball over back to the Panthers.
However, the ensuing snap went into the end zone. Jackson was able to pick it up and throw it away, but after some discussion, the officials ruled it a safety in favor of the Texans.
Sam Houston pulled within 14-8 on its next drive when Justin Tone ran in a 3-yard TD with 1:16 to go in the quarter.
That’s when Tulsa commit Kaylon Washington would begin his career night.
After North Crowley extended its lead to 20-8 with an 11-yard TD run by Jackson early in the second quarter, Washington would record his first of three interceptions.
The Panthers scored on the next drive when Jackson hit Joshua Collins for a 9-yard TD pass and 26-8 lead with four minutes until intermission.
“A lot of people have been downing us all season. Our motto has always been commit to the comeback and it showed,” said Jackson, who accounted for 216 yards and five TDs.
Sam Houston’s first drive in the second half was halted on Washington’s third interception.
“Just staying hungry for the ball tonight,” Washington said. “There wasn’t a goal, but I was just trying to do whatever I could to help the team win.”
The two teams traded TDs with the Texans scoring on a 6-yard run by Jyden Hollie. It was answered by North Crowley when Jackson hit Christopher Taylor from 15 yards to extend the lead to 34-14 with under four minutes in the third.
North Crowley added one more score on Jackson’s 43-yard pass to Taylor with 1:33 left in the frame.
“Defense played great and shout-out to my offensive line,” Jackson said. “We still have an opportunity to make the playoffs, that’s our goal. We have three more games. We want to finish strong and try to win them all.”
Ronald Wilson Jr., who tipped Sam Houston’s pass attempt to help Washington get his second pick, intercepted his second of the night on the ensuing Texans’ drive. Wilson Jr. also picked off a pass to end the first half.
“All week, we talked about forcing three turnovers to get the win. It doubled up on us and you get what you emphasize,” said Allen. “Ronald Wilson is unbelievable and he and Kaylon are a great tandem back there. I was very pleased with the effort tonight.”
North Crowley gained 300 of its 437 yards on the ground.
Hollie led Sam Houston with 14 carries for 90 yards and a TD. Bryce Oliver made six catches for 59 yards.