North Johnston shut down by Ayden Grifton
By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on October 31, 2004 2:01 AM
KENLY -- The running lanes that opened so often for North Johnston's backfield this season were sealed air-tight Friday night against Ayden-Grifton.
The Charger defense held the Panthers to a season-low nine points in a 45-9 win at Ben E. Strifert Stadium.
Ayden-Grifton's backfield was not as easy on the Panther defenders as Jecol Edwards and Matt Tripp combined for 229 yards rushing as the Chargers (6-3, 5-0 Class 1-A Carolina Conference) captured their fifth straight win -- silencing the homecoming crowd at North Johnston with 23 fourth-quarter points.
"They're defensively coached very well," said North Johnston coach Ken Avent. "They've got a lot of speed like Farmville. They beat us up front. They've got some good-sized boys and out-manned us up front."
The victory kept the Chargers undefeated and at the top of the Carolina 1-A conference, while the playoff-eligible Panthers (8-3, 3-3 CC) slipped to fourth place following their regular-season finale.
North Johnston led for most of the first quarter, thanks to a 34-yard Garrett Stancil field goal. Tripp scored his first touchdown on an 11-yard run with 54 seconds left, then tore off a 66-yard run on the next possession to set up Daniel Greene's six-yard score for a 16-3 Ayden Grifton lead going into the half.
North Johnston had 10 penalties for 55 yards, while the Chargers piled up 70 yards on 11 penalties.
"We didn't tackle very well, and we didn't block very well," said Avent. "But we're going to be all right -- we were in the right place most of the time tonight defensively. It's just they've got a good team."
The Chargers continued their power running game in the second half, giving their opponent a steady dose of Edwards and Tripp. Tripp scored his second touchdown on a counter play on Ayden-Grifton's first drive of the second half -- putting his team up 22-3 with the score.
Adrian Briscoe finally found room and gave the home crowd something to cheer about early in the fourth quarter when he got 80 of his 107 yards on a long touchdown run down the left sideline.
"It's a brand new season, and we'll be 0-0 and whoever we play will be 0-0," said the second-year coach of North Johnston. "We feel like we got as good a team as anybody in the playoffs, so we look forward to our chances."
North Johnston will have next week off, while Ayden-Grifton will play Farmville Central -- also with one Carolina loss -- in a clash that will have conference championship implications.
Ayden-Grifton 8 8 6 23 -- 45
North Johnston 3 0 0 6 -- 9
NJ -- Stancil 34 FG, (6:53)
AG -- Tripp 11 run (D. Greene run), :54
AG -- D. Greene 6 run (Tripp run), 9:08
AG -- Tripp 1 run (run failed), 5:43
AG -- Edwards 6 run (Tripp run), 10:44
NJ -- Briscoe 80 run (run failed), 10:15
AG -- J. Greene 21 run (Lee kick), 7:43
AG -- Williams 5 run (Moye run), 1:41
First downs 10 10
Rushing yds. 39-191 36-335
Passing yds. 38 32
Total yards 229 367
Comp.-Att.-Int. 4-10-1 3-4-1
Fumbles-lost 2-1 0-0
Penalties-yards 10-55 11-70
Punts-avg. 1-31 1-32
RUSHING -- North Johnston -- Adrian Briscoe 16-107; Brad Holloman 11-17; Jonathan Britt 4-24; Tony Cooper 1-5. Ayden-Grifton -- Pierce 4-24; Edwards 9-107, TD; Tripp 12-122, 2 TD; Turner 3-65; D. Greene 7-12, TD; J. Greene 2-22, TD; Hardy 2-7; Williams 1-5, TD.
PASSING -- North Johnston -- Brad Holloman 4-6-1 38; Josh Wentz 0-3-1 0; Adrian Briscoe 0-1-0 0. Ayden-Grifton -- Turner 3-4-1 32.
RECEIVING -- North Johnston -- Damien Allen 3-34; Michael Holland 1-4. Ayden-Grifton -- Tripp 1-7 D. Greene 2-25.
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