High School Football Rewind - Week 9
Sun. October 20, 2013 at 12:34 a.m. | By Vince Nairn | StarNews Staff Writer | Vince.Nairn@starnewsonline.com
Laney's Josiah Eason punts from the back of the end zone during the Buccaneers' game against New Hanover at Legion Stadium on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013. (Photo by Jeff Janowski)
End of 1st half sparks Scorpions
North Brunswick's fortunes turned for the better in the final minute of the first half Friday against Croatan.
The Scorpions trailed 18-2 before a Shelton Perkins touchdown pass to Shak Graham with 49 seconds to play in the half. The Scorpions recovered a fumble two plays later and kicked a field goal as time expired to shave their halftime deficit to 18-13. North rattled off 29 unanswered points in the second half to roll 42-18.
"It changed the momentum of the game," North Brunswick coach Garry Bishop said. "That's what I told (the players) at halftime. Football is a game of momentum, and we took it right there."
In all, North Brunswick (6-2, 1-1 East Central Conference) ended the game with 40 consecutive points. Graham ran for 164 yards and two touchdowns, both in the second half. The Scorpions had moved the ball well in the first half, Bishop said, but were halted by 10 penalties. They were more efficient and disciplined after the break and racked up 430 yards.
"We got it together," Bishop said.
Laney starts slow
Freshman Imeek Watkins broke a 25-yard run on Laney's first play from scrimmage Friday night at New Hanover. From there, the Buccaneers unraveled in a forgettable first half on the way to a 34-13 loss.
Laney (5-3, 3-1) had cruised through three conference victories against 3A opponents, but Friday, the Buccaneers spent much of the opening half in the shadow of their own goal line. Coach Greg Ditz attributed the sacks and penalties that hurt his team to the hostile environment.
New Hanover took advantage of the favorable field position created by its defense. The Wildcats reached the red zone on their first five drives and led 19-0 on Ward Coleman's touchdown pass to Trequan Age midway through the third quarter.
"We hurt our defense by not getting first downs," Ditz said. "We put our defense in bad situations."
Laney cut down on the mistakes in the second half and found success when it committed to the running game. Junior Jeavonne Batts and Watkins carried the load on both scoring drives, and junior quarterback Tariq Lane made a few impressive scrambles to avoid trouble.
The Buccaneers will likely need to control the clock with a strong running game to hang with conference frontrunner Hoggard next week. They found a blueprint with Friday's second half.
"We did a really good opening play call, but after that, we didn't do very many good play calls," Ditz said. "That's a little bit more on me. Jeavonne was hungry, so we should have fed him a little bit more earlier in the first half."
Hoggard front seven shines
Ashley had nowhere to run in Friday's 37-0 loss to Hoggard.
The Vikings' defensive line and linebackers shot through gaps, ran over blockers and made life miserable for the Screaming Eagles. Ashley had three first downs in the first half – two of them by Hoggard penalties – and did not have a play longer than 11 yards.
"We just had three goals: Dive, quarterback and pitch," defensive end Devyn Bond said about stopping Ashley's triple option. "We just stuck to the plan, and everything else was just instinct."
Bond had one of Hoggard's two sacks, as Ashley dropped back to pass nine times in the first half in hopes of trying to keep the Vikings off balance. But the offensive line had trouble handling the Hoggard pass rush.
The Vikings also cut off the outside run. Almost every one of Ashley's pitches to the outside went for a loss. Hoggard coach Scott Braswell credited his line for getting a good push that also allowed the linebackers to run free into the backfield. Julius Reynolds led the way with a handful of tackles for loss.
"I don't know exactly how many tackles he had, but he's playing really well for us," Braswell said. "That whole defensive front really sets the stage for our success."
Kane's injury another setback
Ashley quarterback Chris Kane will miss the rest of the season with a suspected broken collarbone, coach Tom Eanes said.
Kane took a couple big hits in Friday's loss to Hoggard, the last of which came on a sack near the end of the second quarter. Anthony Andrews filled in for Kane in the second half. Ashley – which does not throw the ball much anyway – did not attempt a pass after Kane's exit.
Kane's injury is another frustrating one for the Eagles, who lost starting running back Charles Dent in Week 1 and his replacement, Daniel Andrews, a few weeks after that.
Eric Detweiler contributed to this report.
Vince Nairn: 343-2262
On Twitter: @starnewssports