Upson Lee Knights @ Northside-Columbus Patriots
When: Sept. 18, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Kinnett Stadium (Columbus)
Last Season: UL (7-3), NSC (4-7)
Last Meeting: UL 21, NSC 13 (2014)
Head Coaches: UL- Tommy Parks (7-3 in 2nd season @ UL, 61-57 overall in 12th season), NSC- Morgan Ingram (6-15 in 3rd season @ NSC, 16-25 in 5th season overall)
Key Patriots: #1 DB-David Apiag, Sr. (5’7, 140), #2 RB-Kalan Watts, Sr. (5’9, 185), #16 QB-Stephen Parker, Jr. (6’1, 180), #12 K/P-Nathan Robertson, Jr. (5’10, 165)
In 2014 the Northside-Columbus Patriots did something no other team had ever done against the Upson Lee Knights. The Pats carried the ball 61 times against the Knights, the most rushes ever against Upson Lee in a single game in school history. The old record was held by Troup County when they carried the ball 59 times against the Knights in 2002.
In that game against Troup County in 2002, Upson Lee escaped with a 21-20 victory over the Tigers, and last season when the Pats carried the ball 61 times, the Knights again won, this time by a 21-13 score.
The Patriots finished with a 4-7 record last season, advancing to the State Playoffs and losing to Northside-Warner Robins 48-0. Running back Kalan Watts and kicker Nathan Robertson were each named to the All-Region Team and the Bi-City Team by the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Unfortunately for Upson Lee, both players are back for the 2015 season.
Against the Knights in 2014, the Patriots’ first two scores came off of the foot of Robertson. The then sophomore kicked field goals of 31 and 39 yards, but an 11-yard TD run from Kalen Puckett put the Knights ahead by a 7-6 score in the third quarter.
As a junior last season, Watts finished the year with 1,465 all-purpose yards, including 1,001 rushing yards, 124 receiving yards, and 340 return yards. He also finished with 14 touchdowns on the season. In the Knights’ 21-13 victory last season Watts carried the ball 32 times for 125 yards, but failed to reach the end zone. The Pats only touchdown of the game last season against UL came from Chris Gray on a three-yard run, but Gray graduated in May.
Upson Lee’s offense in their match-up with the Patriots last year came in the form of Kenderius Pennyman, who carried the ball 31 times for 119 yards and two scores. Quay Reviere and Markevious Robinson will look to pick up where Pennyman left off last season. The two teams combined for 491 yards rushing in last season’s game, with the Pats rushing for 266 yards and the Knights 225 yards.
Both teams will return key pieces from last year’s squad. The Patriots will return their starting quarterback Stephen Parker, running back Kalan Watts, kicker/punter Nathan Robertson, and All-Region defensive back David Apiag. In 2014 Apiag tallied four interceptions, 11 pass break-ups, and returned a punt for a score.
This will be the last game the Knights will play before playing Region 2 competition. Upson Lee will square off with the Patriots at Kinnett Stadium on Sept. 18 in Columbus. Kick off is slated for 7:30 p.m.
Wes McCard can be contacted at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @WesMc21.