Layton • By a snap. By a tackle. By a touchdown.
The Titans (7-0) are fine by any way you measure it. With a gritty 21-14 road victory over Northridge (6-1) Friday night, Syracuse is alone at the top of the Region 1 standings.
So pardon them for savoring it. It's another step in what the Titans consider to be their biggest year yet.
"This program, we've come a long way since we've been here," defensive tackle Kaden Craig said. "I think it's a great win. Now we just gotta go and finish the business."
Syracuse took care of business Friday, holding a potent Northridge offense to a season-low 14 points. Although Knights star David Adams sliced up the defense at times, the Titans locked down late and ran out more than eight minutes of clock to seal the victory. The game, which was tied for most of the night, turned on a bad punt snap deep in Northridge's own territory late in the third quarter. Mason Woodward ran it in on a one-play drive from 5 yards out to give Syracuse the lead.
That margin seemed to grow frail on the Knights' next drive, a churning series in which they converted four different third-and-long situations. But on fourth-and-2, backed up against their own end zone, the Titans stuffed a Northridge run that could've tied it up.
"They just got down and got after it," Syracuse coach Russ Jones said. "We told every kid to just get upfield."
The ensuing possession was an inspiring one for the Titans, who drove down methodically, eating up clock as surely as they gained yards. Kavika Fonua was a force on the play, taking two runs 43 yards and making a key third-down catch that all but allowed Syracuse to run the victory formation.
"We knew the pressure was on them," said quarterback Brock Anderson, who fought through a strain in his throwing arm to finish with 136 passing yards and two touchdowns. "In the second half, we finally got it going."
Up to that point, it was a see-saw contest. Syracuse scored first early in the second quarter as Myles Naisbitt fell back into the endzone with a reception. Northridge quarterback Nate Kusuda responded right away with a 76-yard drive that he capped with a 1-yard keeper.
After the half, Northridge went up as Adams ran 68 yards on only three plays to the end zone. The Titans knotted it up again on a leaping catch by Kiwa Mo'o that he ran 35 yards for a score.
Syracuse 21, Northridge 14
R Titan QB Brock Anderson throws for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
• Kaden Craig makes a key stop at the goal line to end Northridge's final possession.