Falcons escape Panthers 44-30
By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector
Saturday, September 14, 2019
South Central held off an impressive effort from Pitt County rival North Pitt on Friday night in Bethel, outlasting the Panthers 44-30.
After a blowout loss to SouthWest Edgecombe last week, the Falcons (3-1) had to face considerable opposition from the winless Panthers (0-3).
South Central running back Kevone Harris had his second consecutive game with three rushing touchdowns, finishing with 153 yards off 23 carries. Zyaire Williams also had a strong showing, recording 11 carries for 116 yards and two scores. Justin Humphries went 5-for-10, throwing for 85 yards, while Xavier Meachum finished 2-for-4, throwing for 60 yards and a touchdown, which was a 58-yard strike to Humphries.
NP quarterback Alex Espinosa-Johnson had his best performance of the season, going 5-for-14, throwing for 118 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also had 16 carries for 43 yards and a TD. Jaquez Coffey had a breakout game for the Panthers. The junior wide receiver brought in just two receptions, but recorded 81 yards and a touchdown.
Penalties killed the Panthers, especially defensively. NP had five penalties on third down, which led to 29 of 44 points for the Falcons.
While the loss stung for NP head coach Greg Watford, he was extremely proud of the effort his team produced, showing that week by week the Panthers are putting together the pieces to compete.
"I am immensely proud," Watford said. "They came in, they didn't quit and they worked hard. We were in this game. We made some mistakes that were key, but the thing is that our circumstances didn't define us. Tough break on a couple touchdowns getting called back. The big play on third and a million and we got the unsportsmanlike, we made those mistakes. Those are things we have to fix, but we are recognizing them. Last year we didn't even recognize we were making those mistakes."
The grind of the regular season also showed its face for the small Panthers roster, as running back Raheem Jones battled leg pain throughout the night. On'teds Harris (one reception for a 58-yard TD) also suffered a leg injury. Watford said he expects Harris to be able to return for NP's next matchup against Ayden-Grifton.
Falcons head coach Andy Tew also saw improvement from his side, which struggled with turnovers and penalties in last week's loss.
"I think our turnovers were a lot better than they were last week," Tew said. "Our tackling is still not what it needs to be. Our kickoff coverage and tackling needs to get better. Our defense lined up where they needed to be, which was a good thing. We're still giving up too many yards that don't need to be there with those guys (NP) driving down the field. That's a great offense. Coach (Watford) is doing a great job installing his game plan and getting great positive yards out of it. We gave them too many chances. For the whole first half, I didn't think we executed well on the offensive side of the ball."
The two sides found themselves in an 8-8 deadlock at the end of the first half, leading to Kevone Harris breaking the game open early in the third. Both sides traded scores throughout the second half, but the Falcons sealed the game as Williams rushed 68 yards to make the score 44-30 late in the fourth.
SC will host Hertford County on Sept. 20, while NP hits the road to face the Chargers.
Rocky Mount 35, J.H. Rose 0
J.H. Rose was blanked by visiting Rocky Mount Friday, handing the Rampants their second consecutive loss.
The Gryphons scored 29 points in the third quarter to break away from just a 6-0 score at halftime.
Rose (2-2) will travel to face Southern Nash on Sept. 20.
Scotland 35, D.H. Conley 8
D.H. Conley couldn't get their offense going against 4-A opponent Scotland.
After leading 8-7 at halftime, the Fighting Scots put up 21 points in the third, while holding the Vikings scoreless for the remainder of the half to cruise to victory.
DHC (0-3) will travel to face West Carteret on Sept. 20.
Greene Central 8, Eastern Wayne 6
Rams first-year head coach Jay Wilson picked up his first win at the helm Friday night, as GC edged 3-A opponent Eastern Wayne in an old school defensive match-up.
All of the games scoring came in the fourth quarter, as GC (1-2) sneaked away with the win.
The Rams will host Farmville Central on Sept. 20.
Friendship Christian 3, John Paul 0
John Paul II (5-2, 1-1) was swept by Friendship Christian Friday night, 25-16, 25-13 and 25-17.
Hailey Davenport had two aces, while Mary Grace Flowers (six kills), Cali Phelps (12 kills) and Hailey Davenport (six digs) also had good showings.
Oakwood 3, Kerr Vance Academy 2
Oakwood pulled out a tight win against defending state champion Kerr Vance Academy on Friday.
Macey Robinette had 11 kills and 19 digs, while Kennedy Rhodes (five kills, five aces, six blocks), BreAnna McMillan (five kills, 10 digs, three aces) and Sydney Martin (21 assists) all made big contributions in the win.
Oakwood (6-0) will hit the road again on Sept. 16 to face Hobgood.