SMITHFIELD — Harnett Central took a step back in the right direction Friday night, snapping a two-game losing streak by blasting Smithfield-Selma 41-8 in a Greater Neuse River 4-A Conference matchup.
The Trojans (8-2, 3-2), under first-year coach Patrick Turner, began the year 6-0. Then came a pair of losses and a week off, and the Trojans were able to dominate the Spartans (1-8, 0-5) early in the contest.
"In those losses we got off to a slow start," Turner said. "Coming into this game we got some guys healthy, and we wanted to start fast and put some doubt int their minds. We needed to get our confidence back up."
Central led 27-0 at halftime.
One of the players back on the field for the Trojans was running back Jarrod Spears, who rushed for 165 yards on 15 carries and scored four touchdowns.
He ran 21, 1, and 48 yards for touchdowns and took a 3-yard shuffle pass from quarterback Brian Taylor into the end zone for another.
Taylor also threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Tre Rogers and a 53-yarder to A.J. Hayes for the other Central scores.
"We made some big plays and got going on offense and our defense played well also," said Turner, singling out linebackers Ethan Gardner and Dylan Kinton.
Central has two league losses and trails Southeast Raleigh and Garner, which are also the two teams left on the Trojans schedule.
"We've still got some big conference games left with a chance to move up," Turner said.
Smithfield scored its only touchdown after Tre'vonn Reddick returned a Central fumble 61 yards to set up quarterback Adam Driver's 34-yard touchdown pass to Laquan Cox with 1:15 left in the game.
"Even with our record we've got good attitudes and a lot of guys are still playing hard," SSS coach Frank Lassiter said. "We're still going hard and I hope these guys can still get some wins."