KNIGHTDALE — It was a slow, steady process for Garner Friday night against Knightdale, but the Trojans got the job done in a 22-0 shutout win over the Knights to advance to 3-0 in the Greater Neuse River conference.
Things looked up for the home team early on. Garner (5-2 overall) bobbled Knightdale's first punt of the game and the Knights recovered on the Trojan 31, but failed to convert on fourth and long.
Garner didn't hesitate to take advantage of the Knights' missed opportunity, scoring on the ensuing drive. Lemond Johnson connected with Juwan Moye to advance the Trojans into the red zone, and another strike to Bryan Watkins led to a 7-0 Garner lead.
Knightdale (1-6, 1-2) lingered despite being stopped on offense at the turn of the second quarter. Just after the Trojans regained posession, Johnson looked for Watkins once again but instead found Knightdale defensive back Jermario Gooch, who intercepted the pass on the Knightdale 25 yard line.
Knight quarterback Ben Bolling fumbled on the first play following the interception, and while Garner took over near the 20 yard line, the home team defense stood firm to force a 35-yard field goal from Connor Torruella.
Knightdale gambled and attempted to run instead of kick after reaching the Garner 4 yard line with three seconds remaining in the half, but the Trojan line did not budge â even gave a push in the opposite direction â as Garner went into the half ahead 10-0.
The Trojans extended their lead to 16 halfway through the third quarter on a 1-yard keeper by Johnson, and found the end zone one final time in the fourth quarter after Bolling threw an interception to Davonte Atkinson. Garner used Tyler Hinton and A.J. Clanton to punch through the Knightdale line and set up a 4-yard Clanton touchdown. A two-point conversion attempt followed, but was blocked by Obinna Uzoma.
While both teams finished the game with 13 first downs, and there was a mere 2 yard difference in rushing between the Knights and Trojans, Garner's 58 yards passing were significant when stacked up against Knightdale's -5.
Johnson finished the game 3-5 with 58 yards and the one interception. Clanton carried 13 times for 52 yards, Hinton four times for 39 and Moye six times for 27 yards. Watkins and Moye each had 29 yards receiving.
Bolling led the Knights' rushing attack, carrying 19 times for 92 yards. He was followed by Hinnant with 47 yards on 15 carries.
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