KNIGHTDALE — Knightdale jumped on Southern Alamance early and rolled to a first football playoff win in Knightdale High School history, defeating the Patriots 38-15 in the first round of the 4A playoffs Friday.
“I didn’t really think about it in those terms,” Knightdale coach Rob Senseney said of the historical significance of the victory. “I just said come out here and play and win a playoff game, but to put it in perspective it’s a great job by the kids and coaches. It’s a big win.”
Knightdale, the No. 4 seed, improved to 10-1, while No. 13 Southern Alamance’s season ended with a 6-6 mark.
The Patriots were without senior quarterback and Duke recruit Johnathan Lloyd, who had had rolled his ankle in a loss to Greensboro Page the week before, ending a 3,000-plus yard season passing. Freshman Tanner Wilson took over under center, completing 10 of 19 passes for 117 yards.
“We prepared for (Lloyd) as if he was playing,” Senseney said. “Him being out didn’t really change what they did. They ran their offense and that freshman (Wilson) did a good job for them.”
The Knights built a 24-7 halftime lead on a 40-yard rushing score by senior quarterback Marquavious Johnson, a 14-yard pass from Johnson to Daquan Lilly, a 9-yard rush by Nate Harvey and a 34-yard field goal by Taylor Betts. Betts never missed a kick in the game.
Southern Alamance’s first score came late in the first quarter on a 2-yard keeper by Wilson. James Testerman hit the extra point to tie the game 7-7.
Marcell Johnson made the most of his teammate Jaime Brown’s interception of Wilson and scored on a 9-yard run to set up a 31-7 Knights lead at the 8:27 mark in the third quarter.
Marquavious Johnson, who had a 65-yard score reversed by a holding penalty in the first quarter, had another would-be score from 40 yards called back due to a holding call early in the fourth quarter. On the next play, he targeted his brother, Marcell, on a 40-yard shovel pass to set Knightdale up 38-7.
Southern Alamance rode a late-hit penalty against the Knights to the Knightdale 12 with 2 minutes, 21 seconds in the game. Two plays later, Jourdan Osinski carried in the 1-yard score and Alford Ellison picked up the 2-point conversion for the final points of the game.
Marquavious Johnson finished 6-of-13 for 128 yards and the two touchdown passes. Harvey led the Knights with 90 yards on 15 carries.
“I’m a perfectionist,” Senseney said after the win. “There were some things I was happy about and some things I’m not that we’ve got to clean up.”
Knightdale is set to host No. 5 seed Durham Hillside (9-2) in the second playoff round. Hillside defeated No. 12 Clayton, 36-30, in round one.
“It’s going to have to be our tenacity – we’ve got to play at a high level the whole game,” Senseney said of the second round.
Moody: 919-829-4806; Twitter: @easternwakenews