Football -- Jaguars knock Panthers from unbeaten ranks
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 26, 2004 2:00 AM
FARMVILLE -- Friday night, North Johnston lost its grip.
The Panthers let their undefeated record slip away literally after fumbling the ball eight times -- losing four of them --in a 38-13 loss to Farmville Central Friday night. It was the Carolina 1-A Conference opener for both teams.
The game was a warm welcome back for Farmville quarterback Brandon Austin, who passed for 34 yards and ran for 26 in his first game back with the Jaguars. His team's offensive prowess was highlighted by the dynamic backfield duo of Darrell Davis and Quintrell Cotton, both surpassing 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns each.
Davis took the ball on the first play from scrimmage and rumbled 66 yards for his first touchdown, keeping quiet the naysayers whispering that Farmville is on the decline.
"We blocked that play really well," said Farmville Coach Dixon Sauls. "It set the tone for the night."
North Johnston, which has had trouble holding on to the ball all year, missed a key chance to tie the game when J.P. Wise lost the ball 11 yards from the end zone and Farmville recovered.
The possession was a microcosm of the game for the Panthers. Coach Ken Avent didn't sugar-coat his team's performance after the game.
"The turnovers killed us," said the second-year head coach. "We shot ourselves in the foot all night long."
North Johnston had averaged 40 points a game before the matchup, and the 13 points scored was a season low thanks to a season high in fumbles.
"At times, we've laid it down this year," Avent admitted. "You can't do that against good teams."
Panther tailback Adrian Briscoe, who had 592 yards before the game, passed the 600-yard plateau but only had six carries for 42 yards. Meanwhile, Farmville had 305 yards rushing, just a week after only getting 70 yards on the ground against Greene Central. Sauls used a distributive ground game as nine different running backs carried the ball.
"We needed to win tonight," said Sauls. "Tonight was a very good effort from our team."
The turning point came after Panther quarterback Brad Holloman lost the handoff deep in his own territory. One play later, Farmville's Justin Foskey caught a 17-yard touchdown pass -- Austin's first of the year -- as the Jags scored 12 points in a 9-second span at the end of the second quarter to go into the locker room at halftime with a commanding 18-0 lead.
"The biggest play was that fumble there right before the half, said Avent. "That really hurt us."
Down 24-7, The Panthers got the shot in the arm they were looking for when Holloman hit Brandon Sanders for a 55-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 24-13 with six seconds left in the third quarter.
But North Johnston, which rallied from a 17-0 halftime deficit at South Lenoir three weeks ago, had its rally denied by Farmville's ground attack.
Cotton got his second touchdown of the night on Farmville next drive, as the junior broke free for 13 yards and crossed the goal line for a 30-13 lead to end his team's four-game losing streak.
Farmville Central 6 12 6 14 -- 38
North Johnston 0 0 13 0 -- 13
FC -- Davis 66 run (run fail) 11:40
FC -- Cotton 6 run (run fail) 1:02
FC -- Foskey 17 catch (run fail) :53
NJ -- Holloman 17 run (Stancil kick) 9:09
FC -- Cotton 4 run (run fail) :52
NJ -- Sanders 55 pass from Holloman (kick failed) :06
FC -- Cotton 13 run (run fail) 9:36
FC -- Davis 15 run (Prayer run) 8:47
First Downs 13 12
Rushes-yds 43-305 38-209
Pass yds 63 105
Total yds 368 314
Comp-att-int 4-6-0 3-11-1
Fumbles-lost 4-2 8-3
Penalties-yds 7-35 4-25
Punts-avg 1-31.0 2-32.0
RUSHING -- Farmville Central -- Davis 12-119; Cotton 11-100; Prayer 7-33; Austin 6-26; Mercer 1-9; Tuten 1-1; Dixon 1-0; Carmon 1-2. North Johnston -- Britt 6-22, Wise 10-46, Briscoe 6-42, Holloman 15-96 Wentz 1-3.
PASSING -- Farmville Central -- Austin 4-6-0-1 63 yards. North Johnston -- Holloman 3-10-1-1, 105 yards; Wentz 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING -- Farmville Central -- Foskey 3-34; Carmon 1-29. North Johnston -- Sanders 1-55, TD; Briscoe 1-45, NJ- Allen 1-15.
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