Northland Wins State Title Over Covenant Christian

Northland Christian coach David Nelson hoists the championship trophy after winning the TAPPS Division III state championship over Colleyville Covenant.
Northland Christian coach David Nelson hoists the championship trophy after winning the TAPPS Division III state championship over Colleyville Covenant.

Northland Christian came into the TAPPS Division III championship scoring at will on just about everyone. Since the opening week, Northland had not scored fewer than 49 points in a game and Colleyville Covenant Christian held Northland to just 7 first half points and 160 yards at the break. After halftime, Northland proved they could play the close game and grinded out a 21-17 win.

Trailing 17-7 at the break, Northland Christian coach David Nelson told his team “they have a choice. They can choose the blue ribbon or the red ribbon and they chose the blue ribbon.” Northland responded to their coach’s call, erasing a 10-point deficit, dominating the time of possession, and allowing just three Covenant possessions in the second half. On Covenant’s first possession of the half, a bad snap and punt gave Northland possession at the 44 and they scored two plays later on a 25-yard pass from Michael Massarella to Tai Thomas. The next possession for Covenant ended with an interception by John Oloh. Following the turnover, Northland showed their strength with a 12-play drive, going 73 yards and ending with a TD run by Massarealla from a yard out.

Northland forced the Covenant offense off the field with a three-and-out only to have the punt muffed on their own 15. Covenant would run eight plays, reaching the 1-yard line only to be stopped on 4th down. Northland took over with 7:31 on the clock and never relinquished possession while running 14 straight running plays before assuming the victory formation at the Covenant 7 yard line.

Northland drew first blood at the 4:22 mark of the first quarter on an 8-play drive, started by a 33-yard run by Christian Lovick and capped by a 4-yard TD run by QB Michael Massarella on fourth down. It looked like Northland would get rolling offensively and looked impressive on the next drive but a sack and big pass breakup by Donald Roberts forced a Northland punt. The Covenant Christian Cougars scored 17 straight points after the big stand.

The ensuing drive saw Jack Reed score on a 37-yard pass from Josh Stith. Northland’s Brady Abt intercepted a Stith pass on the play prior to the score which was negated by a pass interference call. Covenant Christian would regain possession after a Northland turnover on downs at the 40. Covenant promptly marched to the endzone on a very methodical, 8-play drive capped by a 24-yard TD run by Stith. Donald Roberts would recover the following kickoff and Covenant would add their final points on a 25-yard field goal by Seth Keller

Michael Massarella led Northland offensively, rushing 37 times for 220 yards and 2 touchdowns. The senior also passed for 123 yards and a score. Northland Christian completes an undefeated season at 14-0. Colleyville Covenant ends the season with a 12-2 record.

GAME NOTES
– Northland Christian (1) and Covenant Christian (2) were our two top-ranked teams entering the playoffs.
– Northland Christian’s Hunter Pace was kept out of running with the offense after an injury in a team walkthrough prior to the state championship game.
– Colleyville Covenant was held scoreless in the second half.
– Captains for Northland Christian were Michael Massarella, Brady Abt, Zane Owens, and Parker Leach. The Covenant Christian captains were Joshua Stith, Niven Raj, Ben Fitzgerald, Caegan Long.
– Northland held Covenant’s leading receiver Niven Raj to just two catches and 3 yards.

SCORING SUMMARY
1st Quarter
NRTH Michael Masssarella 4 yard run (Hunter Pace kick) 4:22

2nd Quarter
COVE Jack Reed 37 yard pass from Josh Stith (Seth Keller kick) 8:06
COVE Josh Stith 24 yard run (Seth Keller kick) 2:25
COVE Seth Keller 25 yard field goal 0:43

3rd Quarter
NRTH Tai Thomas 25 yard pass from Michael Massarella (Hunter Pace kick) 8:18
NRTH Michael Massarella 1 yard run (Hunter Pace kick) 1:18