Newnan - To help solve the mystery of Northgate’s Wing-T offense, Douglas County coach Johnny White pulled offensive line coach John Farmer to the defensive side of the ball during practice.
Farmer grew up playing and coaching in a Wing-T offense before coming over to the Tigers’ program.
That knowledge proved to be invaluable in Friday’s 21-0 win over the Vikings in the Region 5-AAAAAA opener for both teams.
It’s the first time Northgate has been shutout in the regular season since 2013 when it lost to Griffin 35-0 on the road. The last home shutout was 2012 against Union Grove (23-0).
“Our defensive line was unbelievable,” Douglas County coach Johnny White said. “We have to give a shoutout to coach Farmer. He really helped us a lot and we followed his protocol on the defensive side.”
White said his team used a combination of six different defensive linemen to disrupt the Vikings offense, which allowed all-region line back Braelen Oliver to roam free.
Oliver finished with 22 tackles including a tackle for loss. The defensive line of Mataio Soli, John Brown, and Jonathan Jefferson combined for four tackles for loss and three sacks for a total of negative 28 yards.
The Tigers held to 84 yards of offense, only 12 coming on the ground.
Offensively, the Tigers were led by senior running back Uriah West, who had 321 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries. That comes on the heels of a 190-yard, two-touchdown performance the week before against Carver-Columbus.
“The best thing is that we overcame a lot of adversity that had us backed up,” Tigers offensive coordinator and assistant head coach Travis Smith said. “The most pleasing thing is that we didn’t quit. Uriah ran the ball well.
With the win, Douglas County improved to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the region. It is the first time since 2012 that the Tigers have started the season when they won their first four games before finishing 6-5 overall.
Northgate dropped to 1-2 and 1-0.
West got the Tigers on the board first by going six yards for a touchdown to cap the team’s first series with a score.
Northgate’s best chance to put points on the board came early in the second quarter when Jake Barberio returned a Douglas County punt deep into Tiger territory.
After a couple of rushes from Nick Carter and Trandon Torres-Niles the drive stalled and the Vikings set up for a 22 yard field goal that sailed wide.
The teams exchanged punts the rest of the first half.
Like it did on its first series of the game, Douglas County opened the second half with a scoring drive to take as 14-0 lead.
This time, the Tigers marched 60-yards. After handing the ball to West on three carries, the Tigers found a new weapon.
Xavier Hopson bounced off a few tacklers and raced 43 yards for the score and a 14-0 lead.
West put an exclamation point on the game with the third and final score after he raced 46 yards for the touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.
“They run by Xavier was huge for us,” White said. “I’m really proud of our defense because it carried us.”
Douglas County had 407 yards of offense, 382 coming on the ground in 41 rushing attempts.
“We have to find away to get our passing game going,” Smith said. “We left a few points off the board. Our running game was able to control the clock. It was a real big win for us.”
The Newnan Times-Herald contributed to this article.