Fabian McDonald and DeParis Patterson showed how to shrug off a little rain on Thursday night.
OK, it was a lot of rain.
McDonald scored three touchdowns while Patterson scored one and passed for another, leading South Johnston to a 27-6 romp over North Johnston in football at Avery Stadium.
The game, played in a steady downpour that included a 30-minute lightning delay in the second quarter, was played on Thursday instead of Friday to avoid conflict with Benson’s Mule Days festival.
South, a member of the Two Rivers 3A, snapped a four-game losing streak and improved to 2-4 on the season.
North, which belongs to the Eastern Plains 2A and had won over county rivals each of the previous two weeks, fell to 4-2.
The Trojans had beaten the Panthers 31-0 last season in Kenly in their first meeting in 11 years.
“We did a good job outnumbering their backfield with ‘man’ coverage,” said South coach Matthew Riggsbee, who is in his first season at the helm. “They have a great quarterback and a great scheme, but the conditions took a lot of their passing game away. We had to win this game. We just absolutely had to win it. I think it will cure a lot of things that have been going on.”
South led 14-0 at halftime on a long touchdown run from McDonald and a short touchdown pass from Patterson to McDonald.
The Trojans added two more scores in the third on a five-yard run from Patterson and a 58-yard scamper from McDonald.
North broke the shutout with 5.7 seconds left in the game on a 32-yard pass from Trey Whitley to Matt Griswold.
McDonald’s 65-yard scoring run in the final minute of the first after the teams had sloshed it out in the mud for the first 11 minutes. South had been shut out in two straight games heading into the contest.
THEY SAID IT
“I think it was more (South’s team) than the conditions,” said North’s Jonathan Riba, in his first season as the Panthers’ mentor after serving as an assistant on the staff the previous two seasons. “They played a pretty darn good defensive football game and kept our kids confused. They just out-executed us defensively. Their scheme was really solid.”
THREE TO KNOW
Fabian McDonald, wide receiver, South Johnston: The senior caught one TD pass from Patterson and broke away for two long ones on the ground.
“I just stayed focused and ran hard,” McDonald said. “We had been practicing in the rain all week and were ready for the adversity. We really needed this win, and I think we can get better and better as we go through the season.”
DeParis Patterson, quarterback, South Johnston: The senior dual-threat signal caller rushed for over 100 yards and a TD and threw a TD pass.
“We were ready for the conditions, so the rain was no biggie,” Patterson said. “Tonight we got a monkey off our backs and came together as a team.”
Trey Whitley, quarterback, North Johnston: The junior rushed or passed on 40 plays including the touchdown that broke the shutout in the closing seconds.
“It felt good to finally get something going,” Whitley said. “I don’t think our minds were in the game. With the weather we were doing a lot of slipping and sliding. It was tough not being able to make the sharp cuts.”
BY THE NUMBERS
131: Yards total offense for North.
151: Yards total offense for Patterson.
179: Rushing yards for McDonald on 11 attempts.
335: Rushing yards for South.
South will have an open date before opening conference play on Oct. 7 at Western Harnett.
North will have an open date before opening conference play on Oct. 7 at Beddingfield.