DURHAM — Kendal Hinton thought the Southern Durham offense would be exceptional this season, but not even in his most optimistic moments did he envision the juggernaut the Spartans have become.
Southern Durham is averaging 50.6 points per game and has scored 45 or more in its past seven games.
I knew we were going to be pretty strong because of the speed that we have, but Im not saying that I thought wed average 50 points, Hinton said. Were pretty balanced between running and passing and we have some fast guys who can score points.
Hinton threw for a career-best 452 yards in last weeks 55-41 victory over previously undefeated Orange. He completed 28 of 40 passes and tossed five touchdown passes. He has passed for 2,699 yards and 27 touchdowns this season.
The 6-foot, 185-pound junior also leads the Spartans in rushing with 794 yards and seven touchdowns, including one in the win over Orange that gave Southern the Big Eight 3A regular-season championship.
He is playing lights out, said Southern Durham coach Adrian Jones. He is doing a really good job of picking up the right guy to throw to.
Hinton was the Spartans starting quarterback last season and passed for 2,481 yards during a 6-5 season.
Last year, he usually knew where he was going to throw as soon as the play was called.
Not so this year.
His primary receivers are Maurice Trowell, an N.C. State recruit who has 57 catches for 1,069 yards, and Derrick Mason, who has 27 receptions for 360 yards.
Im always amazed at how wide open they get, Hinton said. I go back and try to get the ball to whoever is the most open.
Hinton came to football a little late. He always envisioned himself as a basketball player like his dad, Kevin Hinton, who played basketball at Southern Durham and at Johnson C. Smith.
But by the time he was finished at Brogden Middle School, he knew football was his sport and quarterback was his position. His talent was apparent early during preseason workouts.
At Southern Durham, he quickly established a relationship with Jones. He can be quite a disciplinarian, but you know that he loves kids and wants to make them better people, Hinton said.
Jones marvels at Hintons efficiency. Hinton was 7 for 7 against South Brunswick, 11 of 14 against Chapel Hill, 12 of 14 against Cardinal Gibbons and 15 of 16 against Cedar Ridge.
He throws the ball where receivers can catch it, Jones said. He takes care of the ball.
Hinton believes the Spartans have the ability to play for the state championship. Southern Durhams playoffs begin Friday against Chapel Hill, a club that the Spartans beat 59-20 during the regular season.
Im sure Chapel Hill is going to be much more challenging, Hinton said. Theyve seen us and they are going to make adjustments. We are going to have to play better this time.