A little bit of resiliency and a lot of Jontae Lambert.
That's what the North Side football team needed Friday night to overcome host South Side with a 29-26 victory in the annual rivalry game for the Totem Pole.
“The O-line did their job. I'm thankful for the O-line. They did what they did and pushed us into the touchdown,” said Lambert, who barreled up the middle from 3 yards out with 1:51 remaining, then rushed for the 2-point conversion to finish the scoring in a back-and-forth game.
“We worked as a team. We thought the game might be over, but we worked as a team, came together as a team, and we won.”
Lambert totaled 165 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries for the Legends, who have won four consecutive Totem Pole games and are now 55-39-2 in the annual series of SAC foes.
But it seemed the Archers might snag this one, after North Side quarterback Donovan Williams was stripped of the ball on an Isaiah Anderson sack, which was returned 66 yards for a touchdown by Michael King III to give South Side a 26-21 lead with 9:23 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Archers had some terrific performances in the game, highlighted by Jaylen Lattimore, who rushed eight times for 35 yards and a touchdown, and hurled an 82-yard touchdown pass to Quincy English and had two sacks on fourth downs.
He got plenty of help, including Anthony Thomas' 14 rushes for 106 yards, and Larrenz Tabron completing 3 of 6 passes for 51 yards including a 30-yard touchdown pass to Trevor Hapner that cut North Side's lead to 21-20 with 26 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
King's touchdown would make it 19 consecutive points for the Archers (1-5), but the Legends (2-6) showed their poise and ability to tough the ball down the field in crunch time.
“We had to be disciplined. We just couldn't give up,” Lambert said. “Even though some of us might have thought it was over, some of us on the team and the coaches brought us back up. We got the motivation to do it and that's what got this won.”
North Side's Williams completed of 12 of 23 passes for 160 yards with two touchdown passes to Tae Johnson, who totaled four catches for 48 yards.
“It feels good to win this. We've had (the Totem Pole) here since 2018, so we were just trying to keep it here and keep our streak going,” Johnson said. “More than that, we got back in the win column (after losing to Bishop Luers and Homestead). This really is a big win for us.”
North Side's Dominick Malone rushed six times for 45 yards.