Panthers deal James Kenan first defeat of season
By David Williams
Published in Sports on September 19, 2004 8:14 AM
WARSAW -- The wet grass still sparkled against the lights at Bill Taylor Field Friday night after the East Duplin Panthers flexed their muscles en route to a 19-0 shutout win over county rival James Kenan.
Tigers coach Kevin Motsinger stood at midfield and reflected on his team's first loss of the year.
"They've got a heck of a football team," he said. "Bottom line -- they played us really well on both sides of the ball. That's East Duplin football. We knew coming in here that it was going to be a war. We just didn't answer the call."
The Panthers shut out Kenan for the third straight year, and dominated the first half of a game delayed by 40 minutes to let early evening thunderstorms pass over the area. When the game got going, the East Duplin ground game did as well, scoring twice in the first half and missing out on two more scores. The Kenan defense stood East Duplin out in one instance and quarterback Travis Aldridge let a touchdown pass from halfback Jason Dean dribble off his fingertips to miss out on another score.
The Tigers went for a first down on fourth and two in their opening drive, coming up short and giving East Duplin good field position. While the Panthers did not score off the opportunity, it set the tone for East Duplin to control field position for most of the first half.
"In the first half I go for it early and we don't get it, so we don't get field position," said Motsinger. "That started with me -- that's coaching. I trust our defense and I don't second-guess that at all. After that, on a sloppy field, I didn't want to take chances playing East Duplin -- playing Brian Aldridge -- I didn't want to take chances, and maybe I got to playing too safe."
East Duplin's first touchdown was a nine-yard run by Billy Miller, set up by a 23-yard run by Cecil Williams on a three-play drive just as the quarter was winding down. The second touchdown was an important cashing in just before halftime, moving 57 yards in just over two minutes. Jason Judge swept the right side for an 18-yard scoring run and a 12-0 halftime lead.
Kenan's defense forced three punts in the third period, but the offense could not sustain a drive. The Tigers lost a fumble as the third quarter ended, and East Duplin turned the opportunity into another touchdown after a 59-yard march. Tyler Blizzard bounced and spun his way for a 23-yard score with under 10 minutes to go.
Kenan pushed its way into more scoring chances on the arm on quarterback Kelvin Miller, who passed for 114 yards and used five different receivers. But the Panther defense and some foul luck foiled the Tigers.
"We bent there several times and we shouldn't have bent," said Motsinger. "We gave them several plays there that this defense hasn't given up all year. In the second half the defense came out and kicked butt. They stepped up and answered the call, and gave us the ball with great field position, but offensively we didn't step it up. We knocked on the door several times, but we never got to see what it looked like inside."
Judge ended up with 102 yards on 18 carries to lead all rushers.
Motsinger said while his team badly wanted to win the county rivalry game, but should be able to bounce back for next week's homecoming clash with North Lenoir and the Super Six Schedule ahead.
"These kids have played in the Super Six longer than I have," he said. " If they can't get up to play in the Super Six, then we all need to go eat barbecue at Bland's."
East Duplin 6 6 0 7 -- 19
James Kenan 0 0 0 0 -- 0
ED -- Billy Miller 9 run (run fail) :16
ED -- Jason Judge 18 run (pass fail) 1:11
ED -- Tyler Blizzard 23 run (Dean kick) 9:28
First downs 13 10
Rushes-yds 54-270 28-119
Pass yds 0 114
Total yards 270 233
Comp-int-att 0-1-0 10-24-0
Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-1
Penalties-yds 2-10 4-20
Punts 4-37.3 5-37.8
RUSHING -- East Duplin -- Jason Judge 18-102, TD; Billy Miller 13-63, TD; Cecil Williams 13-56; Tyler Blizzard 2-24, TD; Travis Aldridge 6-18; Rudy Osik 1-4; No. 26 1-3. James Kenan -- Alex Flores 8-40; Kendrick Williams 5-38; Kelvin Miller 9-36; Rikki Rogers 3-7; Leron Boykin 2-6; Jason Kennion 1-(-8).
PASSING -- East Duplin -- Jason Dean 0-1-0-0. James Kenan -- Kelvin Miller 10-24-114-0.
RECEIVING -- James Kenan -- Kendrick Williams 3-60; Michael Jarman 2-30; Matt Bass 3-26; D.J. Moore 1-6; Jason Kennion 1-(-8).
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