South Johnston and Corinth Holders faced off in a must-win football game on Friday night.
And the visiting Trojans did exactly what they needed to do.
DeParis Patterson threw for three touchdowns and finished with 322 yards total offense, leading the Trojans to a 42-15 win over the Pirates in a Two Rivers 3A battle on the Pirates’ senior night.
Javonte Smith caught two first-half touchdown passes for South.
Corinth Holders’ senior quarterback Johnavan Neal was all over the stat sheet, rushing for over 100 yards, completing five passes including one for a touchdown and catching five passes including one for a touchdown.
The win, which broke a two-game losing streak, improved South to 4-6, 2-2 in conference play in its first season under Matthew Riggsbee. The Trojans are in contention for a state playoff spot and would nail it down by winning their season finale against ancient rival Smithfield-Selma.
Corinth Holders fell to 2-8, 2-2 in conference play and cannot make the playoffs. The Pirates had gotten easy victories in two of their last three games after breaking an eight-game losing streak.
South leads the all-time series 3-1, with the exception Corinth Holders’ 28-16 win last season in Four Oaks.
“We’ve had it in us all along,” Riggsbee said. “I hate that it took 10 games for us to play like a team and get the leadership we’ve been missing. The fact we won this one means we still have hope for the playoffs, but we’ve got to take care of business next week.”
On the first play of the second quarter, with South leading 14-7, junior linebacker Nathaniel Lucus returned a Pirates fumble 60 yards for a score and some breathing room.
THEY SAID IT
“Patterson and Smith and (Fabian McDonald) are really good athletes for them and they showed it tonight,” Corinth Holders coach Bubba Williams said. “Defensively, we just had four or five bad plays that let the game get out of hand.”
THREE TO KNOW
DeParis Patterson, South Johnston: The senior completed long touchdown passes on his first two throws and three of his first five to get the Trojans off to their quick start.
“My buddy Javonte works hard in practice every day,” Patterson said. “He never complains. I thought I’d give him a chance and let him make the plays. Corinth Holders is a hard-working team, but I was just determined to win tonight and have a chance to get into the playoffs my senior year.”
Johnavan Neal, Corinth Holders: The senior had 160 yards total offense while also catching five passes.
“I liked playing receiver and did what I had to do when I was there,” Neal said. “Andrew (Holtzclaw) did a good job at quarterback and got some good experience tonight.”
Javonte Smith, South Johnston: The senior caught five passes including matching 48-yard touchdown receptions.
BY THE NUMBERS
59: Passing yards for Neal.
80: Rushing yards by Corinth Holders’ Mike Darden.
83: Passing yards for Pirates sophomore quarterback Andrew Holtzclaw, all to Neal.
101: Rushing yards for Neal.
111: Rushing yards for Patterson.
124: Combined rushing and receiving yards from South’s Fabian McDonald.
133: Receiving yards for Smith.
211: Passing yards for Patterson.
South hosts long-time rival Smithfield-Selma in their regular-season finale on Friday night.
Corinth Holders visits archrival Cleveland in their season finale on Friday night.