GARNER — Anybody who was expecting Garner to be down after losing so many key offensive players from last seasons Eastern 4A championship team has been sorely disappointed.
On Thursday night, Raevon Smith carried for 130 yards and two touchdowns and caught an 80-yard scoring pass. Tyler Hinton rushed for 177 yards and two touchdowns. And Vince Jefferies passed for 265 yards including two long passes to Armani Lanier as the Trojans amassed 692 yards total offense in a 51-27 win against Broughton.
The game at times had a track-meet feel, as Caps quarterback Maclin Batchelor completed 12 of 29 for 210 yards and two scores while teammates had two return touchdowns as well.
I was pleased with the overall effort, said Garner coach Nelson Smith, who is in his final season in the position after assuming the athletic directors job.
We had a turnover that led to a touchdown and a kickoff returned for a touchdown. But give Broughton a lot of credit. They played hard the whole game and theyre going to be a good football team. Overall Im very happy. Weve just got to keep moving forward.
The Trojans (3-0) scored easily on their first drive, with Raevon Smith going in from 5 yards to complete an eight-play, 78-yard march at 8 minutes, 41 seconds. Kenneth Perkinson added the conversion.
The Trojans doubled their lead on their next snap, as Smith caught Jefferies pass in stride behind the defense and sprinted 80 yards down the right sideline. Perkinsons boot made it 14-0 at 6:14.
Our offensive line gave me plenty of time to throw, Jefferies said. And our receivers have been working hard. We got to the state championship game last year and thats making us work harder through the offseason. We had a lot of good athletes on that team, but we have new good athletes come through Garner every year.
The Caps (0-3) got on the board with 4:30 left on the period, as Batchelor found Micheal Gilchrist from 35 yards out. Andrew Kings kick made it 14-7.
Broughton tied it on a big defensive play with 8 minutes left in the half, as Brandon Dupree picked Smiths fumble out of the air and returned it 10 yards to the end zone with King adding the conversion.
Were still making mistakes, Caps coach Chris Martin said. Garners a good football team and you cant make mistakes against them. But were going to be a good football team. We can play, but were making too many mental mistakes.
And weve got to play four quarters. Weve played some very good teams in our nonconference schedule, and were young.
The Trojans got the lead again on another big pass play, with Jeffries hitting Armani Lanier for a 66-yard sprint down the left sideline. Perkinson added the kick at 6:36.
Broughton pulled within a point when Caleb Gabriel returned the second-half kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. But Kings kick was blocked by Jeremie Bolobiongo and the Trojans kept the lead.
The rest of the third quarter was all Garner, as the Trojans ran off 21 points with scoring runs from Smith and Hinton bookending Jeffries 45-yard scoring pass to Lanier to put the game away.
Big shout-outs to my O-line, Raevon Smith said. Without them nothing is possible. I think weve got a good offense, but we still have a lot more work to do.
Broughton finished with 277 yards total offense including 59 rushing yards from Darryl Webster.
I improved from the first two weeks, and Im looking forward to next week, Batchelor said. But Id rather throw four picks in a loss.