Game of the week -- North Johnston and Spring Creek
By David Williams
Published in Sports on October 10, 2004 9:50 AM
SEVEN SPRINGS -- Coming into Friday's night's clash against Spring Creek, the North Johnston football team had built quite a thirst for their first Class 1-A Carolina Conference victory.
The Panthers got the triumph they needed as they outscored the Gators 28-0 in the second half en route to a 42-10 win. The win halted North Johnston's two-game skid in the league and gave them six wins overall.
"It's good to get back to feeling' good, this was huge," said North Johnston head coach Ken Avent. "If we don't win tonight, It would have been hard to get them back up, but I think we'll be all right now."
It was a tale of two halves as the Gators entered halftime only trailing 14-10, but North's defense returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the third quarter en route to a comfortable conference victory.
North reached the 40 point plateau for the fifth time all year.
"Down 14-10 at halftime. We felt pretty good, they scored that one time, and just sort of snowballed from there," said Spring Creek coach Roy Whitfield. "It was two entirely different halves."
Panther tailback Adrian Briscoe starred on both sides of the ball as the speedster gained 140 yards on the ground but got his only touchdown when he picked off a Dequan McLamb pass over the middle and went 26 yards to cross the goal line for a 21-10 lead. The North Johnston defense pitched a shut out in the second half as its secondary had three interceptions while the defensive front only allowed 118 yards rushing.
After giving up 31 and 30 points the past two weeks, North's defensive squad got a gut check in the final two quarters.
"The defense really set the tone for the whole game," said Avent. "I thought we played our best defensive game tonight that we've played all year."
Down 7-3 early in the second quarter, Gator quarterback Josh Wright shook off a pair of Panther defenders and tossed a 48-yard touchdown pass to Lelo Burt for the 10-7 advantage.
On the ensuing possession, North Johnston quarterback Brad Holloman later capped a 13-play, 84-yard drive with a 10-yard keeper to the left side. He found the corner of the end zone to give his team the lead for good at 14-10. The score was the second of his two touchdowns on the night.
"I've always thought their quarterback was one of the best that we see every year," said Whitfield. "We knew what they were going to do and worked on it this week, but what you do during the week and what you do on Friday night is two different things."
J.P. Wise had the longest play from scrimmage when he took a counter play and shot through the Gator defense and along the sideline 58 yards for his only touchdown of the game to put North up 28-10.
North Johnston (6-2, 1-2 CC) entertains North Duplin at home next week, while Spring Creek (1-6, 1-2) travels to defending league champion Farmville Central. Each game is slated for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
North Johnston 0 14 21 7 -- 42
Spring Creek 3 7 0 0 -- 10
SC -- Estrada 18 FG, 7:18
NJ -- Holloman 2 run (Stancil kick), 10:54
SC -- Burt 48 pass from Wright (Estrada kick), 9:25
NJ -- Holloman 10 run (Stancil kick), 3:37
NJ -- Briscoe 26 interception return (Stancil kick), 10:14
NJ -- Wise 58 run (Stancil kick), 6:46
NJ -- Oliver 26 interception return (Stancil kick), 3:56
NJ -- Wentz 14 run (Stancil kick), 1:46
N. Johnston S. Creek
First downs 15 6
Rushes-yds 43-307 28-118
Passing yards 39 136
Total yards 346 254
Att.-Comp.-Int. 7-3-0 14-4-2
Fumbles lost 5-4 4-3
Punts-avg. 1-30.0 4-33.0
Penalties-yds 7-40 9-70
RUSHING -- North Johnston -- Briscoe 16-140; Holloman 7-28, 2 TDs; Wise 5-69, TD; Britt 8-35; Cooper 2-11; Wentz 5-24, TD. Spring Creek -- Mason 8-19; Wright 8-46; McLamb 6-5; Buchtman 4-49; Dunmire 1-(-3); King 1-2.
PASSING -- North Johnston -- Holloman 3-7-0 39. Spring Creek -- Josh Wright 4-14-2 74, 2 TDs; Mychael King 1-3-1 27; Lelo Burt 1-1-0 35.
RECEIVING -- North Johnston -- Miller 3-39. Spring Creek -- Burt 3-94, TD; Dunmire 1-35; Thompson 1-0.
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