High School Football Rewind - Week 8

New Hanover's Rome Murphy runs the ball against Ashley during the Wildcats' 51-7 victory on Friday night. (Photo by Jason A. Frizzelle)

Wildcats find offensive consistency

Through an uneven start to the season, New Hanover coach Kevin Motsinger has lamented his team's need for consistency. For every flash of brilliance, the Wildcats seemed to come up with a head-scratching mistake.

Motsinger hopes New Hanover has turned the corner on that frustrating style after Friday's 51-7 win over Ashley. The Wildcats scored on their first four possessions in their most complete offensive performance of the season.

"We're doing a much better job executing," Motsinger said. "We're doing a much better job protecting the football."

Coming off a down-to-the-wire loss to rival Hoggard, New Hanover managed to exploit matchup advantages all over the field against the Screaming Eagles.

New Hanover offensive coordinator Darryl Raynor called nine runs on an 11-play touchdown drive to start the game. The Wildcats followed that up with an 88-yard touchdown pass from Ward Coleman to Rome Murphy on their next possession. The team's third scoring march featured nine pass plays.

Coleman struggled early this season with interceptions, but he's gone two straight games without a turnover. On Friday, the second-year starter hit on 17 of 23 passes for 312 yards and four touchdowns in a season-best performance. He'll try to carry over that momentum when the Wildcats welcome Laney to Legion Stadium on Friday.

West Brunswick breaks through

West Brunswick's 29-18 come-from-behind win over South Brunswick on Friday raises the stakes for next week's Mideastern Conference matchup with Topsail. If the Trojans can beat the Pirates, they'll likely take the No. 1 slot among 3A teams in the split conference into the playoff seeding process.

"We'll enjoy (the win) this weekend, show up Monday and go back to work," West Brunswick coach Scott Frazier said. "Our goal right now is to continue to put ourselves in a position conference-wise to get in the playoffs. That's our job."

West Brunswick's patience had been tested, waiting to celebrate a victory. The Trojans led Green Sea-Floyds (S.C.), 14-6, at halftime in the opening week when a thunderstorm forced the game's cancellation.

Five losses and a bye week later, West Brunswick (1-5, 1-1 Mideastern) secured its first win under Frazier thanks to 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.

"It's an amazing feeling to get one," senior quarterback Dylan Darguzas said. "We still feel like we're going to do good stuff this year."

Mistakes doom East Columbus

East Columbus had its chances to stay in Friday's game at Fairmont, but the Gators came up empty in scoring range too often, allowing the Golden Tornadoes to pull away for a 54-14 win.

The Gators (2-5, 1-3 Three Rivers) drove inside Fairmont's 20-yard line six times but produced only two scores. Trailing 28-12 at halftime, the visitors reached the red zone again on the first possession of the second half and couldn't convert. From there, the Golden Tornadoes scored four unanswered touchdowns.

In his second week as the starting quarterback, senior Ryan Howard consistently moved the offense. He passed for 195 yards and rushed for 79 more and both touchdowns.

"The timing's getting there," East Columbus coach Chris Haney said. "I'll be interested to see how well he does next week. We were just inches away from scoring touchdowns."

Trick play sinks East Duplin

Jacksonville Northside has been a thorn in East Duplin's side in recent years, and the Monarchs found another frustrating way to beat the Panthers in an East Central Conference contest on Friday night.

On a trick play, wide receiver Matt Pinto found Josh Cabrera wide open behind the defense for a go-ahead 41-yard touchdown with 1 minute, 58 seconds left, and Northside held on for a 28-21 victory. East Duplin has dropped three straight in the series.

"We knew they had run that in the past," Panthers coach Battle Holley told the Jacksonville Daily News. "But they came out on top, no excuses."

East Duplin (3-4, 0-1 East Central) scored all three of its touchdowns in the second quarter to take the lead but couldn't hold it. Senior Monquel Baker and junior Anderson Dauviea had rushing touchdowns and senior Mason Albertson caught a score from sophomore Jarvious Scarborough.

Vince Nairn contributed to this report.

Ahead & Behind

Week 8 Scoreboard

Mideastern Conference

Laney 41, Topsail 7

New Hanover 51, Ashley 7

W. Brunswick 29, S. Brunswick 18

East Central Conference

Northside 28, East Duplin 21

SW Onslow 41, N. Brunswick 20

Dixon 62, Croatan 57

Four County Conference

West Bladen 57, Trask 26

Wallace-Rose Hill 57, Union 0

East Bladen 46, Pender 6

Clinton 21, Midway 18

Three Rivers Conference

Fairmont 54, E. Columbus 14

Whiteville 67, Red Springs 7

S. Columbus 51, S. Robeson 16

St. Pauls 52, W. Columbus 6

Around the Area

Harrells 72, N. Raleigh Christian 34

James Kenan 59, N. Duplin 14

Week 9 Schedule

Mideastern Conference

Ashley at Hoggard

Laney at New Hanover

West Brunswick at Topsail

East Central Conference

East Duplin at SW Onslow

North Brunswick at Croatan

Dixon at Northside

Four County Conference

East Bladen at Trask

Midway at Wallace-Rose Hill

Pender at West Bladen

Clinton at Union

Three Rivers Conference

South Columbus at East Columbus

Whiteville at West Columbus

Fairmont at Red Springs

St. Pauls at South Robeson

Around the Area

Mt. Zion Christian at Harrells

Lakewood at James Kenan