Southern Wayne takes shootout at South Central
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on September 17, 2004 1:56 PM
WINTERVILLE -- The final Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference meeting between Southern Wayne and South Central's football teams will be remembered as a classic.
In a game of shifting momentum with a number of huge plays, the Saints claimed the last one -- a fumble recovery by Joseph Davis near midfield with just under a minute left -- as Southern Wayne emerged with a 38-35 victory at the Falcons' stadium.
Saints' running back Walter Best rushed 26 times for 235 yards on the ground as the Falcons, who move into a new conference in next year's realignment, rarely had an answer for Best's running outside and the Saint offensive line.
Best amassed 305 yards of total offense and capped Southern Wayne's scoring with a 60-yard touchdown rumble with just under 10 minutes left in the game to make the score 38-28 after Luis Cifuentes' extra point.
"We took what they gave us," Southern Wayne coach Bob Warren said. "They were stopping everything up the middle and when they do that you have to go outside. We found a couple of plays that would work."
But like most of the contest, the improving Falcons (0-4, 0-2) clawed back.
Set up by a big return by South Central all-purpose specialist Tyrell Worthington, the Falcons' Curtis Davis pulled his team within three with a 32-yard scamper at the 2:51 mark. South Central's ensuing onside kick failed, but the Saints went three and out and were forced to punt deep in their own territory.
The punt positioned the Falcons near midfield, but Southern Wayne's defense posted a final stand as Davis' fumble recovery on third-and-short sealed the nail-biting win -- ending South Central's bid for its first varsity victory in school history.
Southern Wayne (2-2, 1-1) took less than seven minutes to build a 10-0 advantage after Brian White's two-yard plunge, following a Michael Warren interception deep in Falcon territory.
Paced by two touchdowns by Worthington, South Central trimmed the 10-0 lead and later cut an 11-point deficit to trail just 18-15 at halftime. Worthington, who finished with 143 yards on the ground and three touchdowns, dashed in from 59 yards out to give his team their first and only lead at 21-18 on the first play of the third quarter.
Southern Wayne counter-punched with another offensive surge.
Best turned a short screen-pass from quarterback Logan Porter into a 70-yard touchdown with less than a minute left in the third to push his team back up 31-21 after the extra point attempt failed. The score was Porter's second touchdown pass of the quarter.
Statistically, Southern Wayne outgained the home team by over 150 yards and had 10 more first downs than the Falcons. However, the turnover battle was even at two apiece and South Central had just two penalties for 10 yards compared to 11 flags for 85 yards by the Saints.
South Central's Brandon Knox scooped Southern Wayne's second lost fumble of the game at the Saint 10 and charged in to pull the Falcons to within three at 31-28 early in the fourth quarter. Leading by 10, Southern Wayne disrupted a 28-yard field goal try by the Falcons midway through the fourth.
"South Central played extremely well and my kids never gave up. They keep plugging away," Warren said. "They made some big plays and we made some big plays. We've just got to eliminate some of those plays that came back to haunt us.
"If we can do that, we will be that much better."
The Saints entertain Wayne County rival Charles B. Aycock Sept. 24, while South Central travels to West Craven.
Southern Wayne 10 8 13 7 -- 38 South Central 7 8 6 14 -- 35
SW -- Cifuentes 28 FG, 8:40
SW -- White 2 run (Cifuentes kick), 5:43
SC -- Worthington 28 run (Kinsley kick), :0.0
SW -- Flow 5 run (Flow run), 8:31
SC -- Worthington 1 run (Griffin run), 1:02
SC -- Worthington 59 run (kick failed), 11:45
SW -- Gainey 6 pass from Porter (Cifuentes kick), 6:42
SW -- Best 70 pass from Porter (kick failed), :47.9
SC -- Knox 10 fumble return (Kinsley kick), 10:23
SW -- Best 60 run (Cifuentes kick), 9:49
SC -- Davis 32 run (Kinsley kick), 2:51
First downs 18 8
Rushes-yds 54-272 38-229
Passing yds 123 0
Total yards 395 229
Att.-Comp.-Int. 5-4-0 5-0-1
Fumbles-lost 5-2 2-1
Punts-avg. 4-29.75 3-37
Penalties-yds. 11-85 2-10
RUSHING -- Southern Wayne -- Walter Best 26-235, TD; Brian White 15-62, TD; Montee Flow 4-14, TD; Logan Porter 6-(-44); Derrick Lathan 2-5. South Central -- Tyrell Worthington 14-143, 3 TD; Curtis Davis 11-51, TD; Zack Bieber 3-5; Jonathan Williams 9-33; Micheal Griffin 1-(-2).
PASSING -- Southern Wayne -- Logan Porter 4-5-0 123, 2 TD. South Central -- Zack Bieber 0-5-1 0.
RECEIVING -- Southern Wayne -- Marcus Oates 1-32; Thomas Gainey 1-15; Walter Best 1-70, TD.
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