Beddingfield turned a quartet of early North Johnston miscues into three scores and rode the steady performance of its defense to a 21-0 football victory Thursday night in the Eastern Plains 2A Conference opener for both teams.
The Panthers’ first possession ended with a bad snap that had to be covered in the end zone for a safety to avoid a Bruins’ touchdown.
Beddingfield (4-3) made it 8-0 on a 14-yard TD connection between Noah Ivery and Joseph Pender. And after Ivery recovered a fumble on North’s second drive, Pender hit Isiah Davis on a 27-yard pass for a touchdown.
Davis scored on a 16-yard reverse run late in the fourth quarter.
North Johnston lost the ball on a fumbled kick off return, a leaping interception by Beddingfield’s Aaron Jenkins and two fumbles on offense in the game’s first quarter.
“The bad snap was just a technique thing. The snapper came over and told me what he did wrong after it happened and he was fine the rest of the night,” said first-year North Johnston coach Jon Riba. “We got caught in the wrong spot and couldn’t handle the ball on the kick off. You just can’t do stuff like that in this league.”
THEY SAID IT
Riba on the Eastern Plains 2A Conference: “This conference is the Southeastern Conference of 2A football in Eastern North Carolina. It doesn’t matter what your recod is coming in, good or bad. You’re going to be in a real battle every week.”
THREE TO WATCH
Joseph Pender, Beddingfield: He’s still listed as a defensive back and wide receiver on the Bruins’ roster, but when Beddingfield coach Tyrone Johnson made the decision to go with the senior at quarterback early in the season, it changed things for the better.
The Bruins are 3-2 since that point with losses to 3A squads Wilson Fike and Nash Central.
“They played very well,” Riba said of Beddingfield. “You see them on video and you realize they’ve played well against some great teams.”
Pender went 15-for-23 for 204 yards and two TDs passing Thursday night and gives the Bruins enough of a running threat at QB to take some of the attention off of running back Marcus Parker.
Marcus Parker, Beddingfield: Speaking of Parker, he went for 160 yards on just 12 carries in the victory. He had a 62-yarder with the Bruins backed up to North Johnston’s 11-yard-line late in the fourth quarter that allowed Beddingfield to run out the clock.
Tyrek Liles, Beddingfield: The Bruins dominated the middle of the line on defense and Liles did most of the dominating. He finished with four sacks and two other tackles for losses.
BY THE NUMBERS
2: Plays ran by North Johnston on the night inside of the Beddingfield 20-yard-line. The chance to get back in the game seemed to be right there all night for the Panthers; they just couldn’t take advantage of it.
13.3: Average yards gained per carry on the night by Parker, the Beddingfield running back.
2 (part two): Plays that gained more than 20 yards by North Johnston’s offense on the night: a 26-yard run by Jahvante Dublin and a 29-yard catch by Jordan Aycock.
“I felt like we could move the ball on them running, we just couldn’t hit the big play downfield in the passing game that we’ve needed,” Riba said. “That’s been a big part of our game this season.”
Johnson, the Beddingfield coach, has a claim to fame that few high school football coaches can match. He was a contestant on “The Price is Right” TV game show a few years ago. He made it onto the stage, but lost his pricing game and then ended up a couple of inches short on the big wheel of advancing to the Showcase Showdown.
Both teams have big road tests next week. North Johnston goes to Farmville Central, while the Bruins head to North Pitt.