For the second straight year, Goldsboro football coach Bennett Johnson had to say “uncle.”
Beddingfield coach Tyrone Johnson bested his former player Friday night with a 27-6 season-opening win over the Cougars, which means the 26th-year coach can go back to rooting for his second-favorite team.
“I’ll be pulling for him,” Tyrone said. “He can win all the rest of them, but I want to win this one.”
Bennett set Beddingfield records for passing yards (more than 3,800) and touchdowns (43) as an all-state quarterback in 2005 with Tyrone as defensive coordinator; but this season’s opener had the two on opposite ends of a soggy, storm-delayed game that featured nine turnovers.
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“It’s always good to get a win when you play that bad,” Tyrone said. “I think (Bennett) knew I needed this win more than he did.”
Beddingfield again has a tough schedule this year, which Tyrone has suggested will test the team ahead of the playoffs. The Bruins lost in the second round of the 2AA playoffs last year.
“We’ve played tough teams since I’ve been here,” he said.
Bennett said he had hoped to give his old coach more of a challenge during their final contest – Tyrone is retiring after this season – but losing the turnover battle ultimately smothered the Cougars’ second-half opportunities.
“I’ve got nothing but respect for ‘Uncle Tyrone,’ ” Bennett said of his coach, who jokingly calls him his “nephew,” although the two aren’t related. “It’s fun to play against them. I wish we could have given them a better look. There were times when it was very ugly.”
Goldsboro fumbled the ball on the team’s first two opening drives before a one-hour delay due to lightning interrupted the action midway through the first quarter.
Beddingfield defensive back Kenneth Simms scooped up a third Cougars fumble early in the second quarter for the first score of the game, a score that stood until late in the third quarter when Marcus Parker rushed for another touchdown to grow the lead to 13.
Another Goldsboro three-and-out killed momentum gained from an earlier takeaway, and the Bruins began piling on.
“We lost all our confidence offensively,” Bennett said, harkening back to last year’s opener when Beddingfield’s swarming defense – a tenet of “Uncle” Tyrone’s teams – capitalized on offensive miscues early to win 45-8. “Last time we hit the chainsaw in the first quarter: This time it was the third.”