South Johnston gets to play at Rocky Mount in the second round of the NCHSAA 3A football playoffs next week after a 21-6 win at Eastern Wayne.
The Trojans offense got off to the strong start, but it was an impressive defensive effort that enabled the 11th seeded Trojans (8-4) to hand the 6th seeded Warriors a loss.
“I thought our defense played great the whole night,” South Johnston coach Hunter Jenks said. “That was an explosive team with some very good athletes and all we gave up was that one big play. I’m very proud of the defense.”
It took South just more than three minutes to jump ahead 7-0, marching 58 yards on seven plays. Kavante Johnson scored on a 13-yard run and Yovani Herrera kicked his first of 3 extra points for a lead the Trojans never lost.
“Eastern Wayne came out to take away our passing game and our offensive line played great that first drive,” Jenks said. “Then they asserted themselves again in the second half.”
The Warriors (4-7) stung the visitors with a 65-yard touchdown pass that cut the lead to 7-6 at halftime.
But Johnson, who rushed for 52 yards in the first half, picked up 65 more yards in the second half and added an 11-yard third period score.
The Trojans added a fourth-quarter score when quarterback DeParis Patterson rolled out and fired a 3-yard touchdown pass to Sharod Bailey with 4:33 left in the game.
The defense, meanwhile, continued to make big plays.
Early in the fourth period, the Warriors were driving and on a second and two play, Trojans tackle Josh Bunch stopped a runner for a 3-yard loss and two plays later it was linebacker London Walker who made the stop after a fourth down pass completion, turning the ball over to the Trojans.
South defensive back Lawrence Reddick snuffed out the Warriors last hope when he intercepted a pass with just 2:32 to play in the game. The offense then ran out the remaining time for a well earned slot in the second round of the playoffs.
3A Playoffs, Round Two - Friday at 7:30 p.m.
South Johnston (8-4) at Rocky Mount (10-2)
Meet the Gryphons: Rocky Mount has won seven straight coming in, including a 28-14 win over Burlington Williams in the first round. … The Gryphons have three backs over 500 yards on the season and two over 1,000. Nick Bynum leads the bunch with 1,068 yards and 15 TDs, while B.J. Sanders has 1,035 and 12 TDs. …. Alert: Rocky Mount has a Revis on defense. It’s Detrell Revis who is one of three Gryphons with three interceptions on the season. Revis also has two fumble recoveries. (Charlie Williams III and Aaron Parker have three INTs as well.)
The winner gets: No. 10 Eden Morehead or No. 2 Havelock on Nov. 27.