Northampton County quarterback Anthony Harding (8) rumbles for yardage during Friday's 34-16 victory over Rosewood in third-round play of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A playoffs. The junior was exceptional throughout the affair, scoring three touchdowns.

GASTON — Anthony Harding rushed for three touchdowns on Friday as Northampton County overcame a wobbly start to punish Rosewood, 34-16, in third-round play of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A football playoffs.

The Jaguars now stand 10-2 this season.

“They were going to key on Kwamie," Northampton head coach George Privott said of Rosewood's intent to slow Tar Roanoke Player of the Year Kwamie Pitt, who entered the win-or-go-home contest with a season-long total of 928 rushing yards. "I said, ‘Yeah. You’ll be a decoy tonight. When you can get it, you can get it, but any other time, let somebody else shine ... our ability not to be selfish helps us out a lot.”

As did signal-caller Harding, whose pad-level grit resulted in scoring runs of 55, 97 and 30 yards — the last of which iced the affair with 3:56 remaining.

Base look revisited

Rosewood was tack-sharp in the opening stanza, converting a pair of NHC fumbles into 13 points — only to have its gateway to the end zone summarily closed after a shrewd in-game pivot by Privott.

“We caught’em off guard with the 3-3-stack defense when we played’em in 2019 — they weren’t prepared for it,” Privott said of his outfit's familiarity with the Eagles, which ultimately informed Friday’s chess move. “It seems as though they came in prepared for it this time, but they weren’t prepared for my base defense, so we switched back to the base defense, and the rest is history — we just went to work from then on out.”

In total, call the effort a navy-and-teal silencing — as in, zero scoring for the Eagles over the final 34:57.

Who’s got next …?

Northampton County will trek to face mighty Tarboro (11-1) next Friday, while RHS finished its 2021 campaign with a 6-3 overall record.

Northampton County 34,

Rosewood 16

First Quarter

R — Rylan Hobbins 4 pass from Rocco Raper (Zach Gordon PAT), 10:15

R — David Lamm 2 run (Zach Gordon PAT blocked), 3:13

Second Quarter

R — Zach Gordon 35 FG, 10:57

N — Anthony Harding 55 run (Harding), 9:13

N — Kwamie Pitt 27 run (Harding), 6:43

Third Quarter

N — Anthony Harding 97 run (conversion failed), 5:51

Fourth Quarter

N — Anthony Harding 30 run (conversion failed), 3:56

N — Jahmeik Reid 30 run (conversion failed), 1:52