Storms wreak havoc locally
The Daily Reflector
Friday, August 31, 2018
Where thunder and lightning doomed one high school game entirely in the area on Friday night, it merely delayed and postponed others, and one game was finished late in spite of the weather.
The local storms delayed a showdown of unbeaten teams in Wilson as J.H. Rose (2-0) traveled to square off with a fellow unbeaten at Hunt, but that game was stopped in its tracks and will now be finished on Monday night.
Meanwhile, D.H. Conley’s quest to reverse an 0-2 start to the season at Washington was delayed. The Vikings and Pam Pack kicked off on time, but had a lighting delay at halftime and the game did not resume until after 10 p.m., and the teams authored a late-night classic in a 56-45 Vikings triumph.
Elsewhere, East Duplin outraced the weather and Ayden-Grifton for a victory.
D.H. Conley 56, Washington 45
WASHINGTON - In what was an action-packed, high-scoring football game complete with slick plays, long touchdown runs and an hour-long lightning delay at halftime, the Washington Pam Pack ultimately fell to the D.H. Conley Vikings 56-45 early Saturday morning.
Although the score makes it look like the two teams battled it out from start to finish, that wasn’t the case in the second half. The last 24 minutes of the game belonged to Conley (1-2), outscoring Washington (1-2) 28-12 and leaving Washington head coach Jon Blank very unhappy with his team.
“We cracked mentally in the first half for some reason,” Blank said. “As soon as adversity struck us in the second half, we decided to get on our heels and our young kids got nervous and I don’t think they handled the pressure very well.”
After a couple of scoreless drives from both teams to start the game, it quickly turned into a back-and-forth shootout for the rest of the first half. Viking C.J. Johnson broke the scoreless drought by cutting to his right and exploding past the Washington defense for a 61-yard touchdown at the 3:18 mark of the first quarter.
Johnson scored the first three touchdowns for the Vikings, but Washington’s Michael Clark and Montrice Selby joined in on the action. The duo combined for four first half rushing touchdowns, including a 46-yard TD from Selby where he looked like a man possessed, carrying three Viking defenders into the end zone from inside Conley’s 15-yard line, propelling the Pam Pack into halftime with a 33-28 lead.
Due to reported lightning in the area, the halftime went on much longer than expected and the game did not resume until 10 p.m. As the Washington fans waited in their cars hoping to see a Pam Pack victory, they were instead treated to the C.J. Johnson show in the second half.
Johnson started the third quarter like he did in the first, by outracing the Pam Pack defenders in the open field for the touchdown to regain the lead for the Vikings with a 35-33 advantage. From that point, Conley never looked back, as Johnson and Isaiah Gamble put the game out of the reach, each scoring a touchdown to extend to a 48-33 lead. The Pam Pack cut the lead to nine in the fourth period, but the Viking defense forced a pair of turnovers in the final frame, and Conley scored once again to seal Washington’s fate.
According to Conley head coach Nate Conner, his team did an exceptional job staying focused during the extended halftime while trailing. They were able to settle down, and it gave them an opportunity to evaluate what Washington was doing to them offensively and defensively, which helped them overcome the deficit and win the game.
“I think our kids are hard-working, dedicated and focused,” Conner said. “We came out and did a great job adjusting and talking about some things at halftime and using that time as a bonus. Not wasting time, not complaining about the time but using it as a positive for us and it helped us a lot.”
— Robert Romero, Washington Daily News
East Duplin 28, Ayden-Grifton 20
BEULAVILLE—Rarely has Ayden-Grifton football coach Paul Cornwell been so pleased with a loss.
A week after a lackluster home defeat to Pamlico County, the Chargers took defending 2-A state runner-up East Duplin to the wire on the road before falling just short, 28-20, on Friday at Charles Richard Powers Stadium.
“We had a chance to beat one of the best 2-A teams in the state, on their home field, which is one of the toughest environments anywhere to play in,” Cornwell said. “I asked our kids to compete for 48 minutes, which they didn’t do last week. Tonight, they did. I have nothing to be upset about. We left everything on the field.”
After recovering an onside kick at the ED 30 with 3:40 left in the game, the Chargers (1-2) drove to the 5-yard line in the final minute before the Panther defense rose to the occasion and forced three straight incompletions to turn the ball over on downs.
“Our defense came up big at the end, but we were very fortunate to win this football game,” ED coach Battle Holley said. “Ayden-Grifton is talented, well-coached, and has an excellent tradition. We knew coming in we’d been in for a fight.”
The Panthers used the big play to build a 28-14 lead after three quarters.
Devon Hunter hauled in a 53-yard TD pass from Ty Jenkins, Laquan Brown raced 69 yards for a score, and Keyon McClarin set up another Brown touchdown with a 69-yard scamper from the ED 16 to the Charger 15.
Until the final 12 minutes, A-G was only able to put together one scoring drive, a 10-play, 63-yard march that ended with Blake McLawhorn’s 18-yard TD strike to Jeffrey Gunter.
In the fourth quarter, the Chargers dominated.
After stopping ED on downs at the 3-yard line, the Chargers put together a textbook 16-play, 97-yard possession that also culminated in a McLawhorn-to-Gunter scoring pass, this one from 24 yards with 3:40 to play.
A-G then recovered the ensuing kickoff before coming up just short on the potential overtime-forcing drive.
The Panthers ran just three offensive plays in the fourth quarter, the last one a quarterback kneel-down to run out the clock.
“If we hold on to a couple of passes we have a real chance to win,” Cornwell said. “Blake threw the ball well for the most part, but our receivers let him down a few times. We dropped a couple of potential touchdown passes.”
McLawhorn completed just 7-of-18 passes, but six of those misfires were the result of drops. He did throw one costly interception, which came at the Panther 19 in the third quarter.
“We have nothing to hang our heads about,” Cornwell said. “East Duplin is going to win a ton of ballgames. We played hard, didn’t roll over and had a chance to win at the end. We took a step forward this week.”
— Neuse News