Western Alamance QB sparks win over Hawks
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 21, 2004 2:00 AM
LAGRANGE -- A two-year letterman, Western Alamance quarterback Bo Jordan knew exactly how to counter attack North Lenoir's defensive tenacity against the run. The junior quarterback simply opened up the passing game and worked it to near perfection Friday evening.
Jordan completed 12 of 16 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns as the Warriors eliminated the Hawks 34-13 from the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 2-AA (large school) football playoffs.
Western Alamance, the No. 5 seed, advanced to the eastern semifinals for the third straight year and fifth time overall since 1999.
North Lenoir concluded its most successful campaign at 6-7.
An inauspicious beginning set an early tempo before a near-capacity crowd at Bullock Field. The Warriors kicked off and the ball sailed high into the cool night air, but barely traveled the necessary 10 yards for an official kick. A North Lenoir player, not used to fielding the ball on the front line, let it bounce behind him and it deflected off his shoulder pads.
Western Alamance (10-3) recovered at the Hawks' 45.
"An accidental, good play," said North Lenoir coach Wayne Jackson of the opening-game mishap. "It was just a mistake and they still had to drive it in."
Jordan orchestrated a nine-play drive that included two fourth-down conversions on short-yardage situations. The second conversion led to a 10-yard touchdown run by Reid Burton. The Hawks punted on their next possession and Jordan directed a five-play, 67-yard drive in less than 2 1/2 minutes. Jordan capped the touchdown march with a 27-yard touchdown strike to Burton.
The Warriors led 14-0.
"(Jordan) had an awesome night tonight," veteran Western coach Hal Capps said. "He's got great composure and is a tough-nut kid. He showed great poise tonight."
Jordan, who has started all 42 games since his freshman season, completed his first seven passes to five different receivers.
The Warriors collected touchdowns on their first three possessions, despite struggling to move the football on the ground. Jackson complemented Capps and his staff for taking advantage of his small and inexperienced secondary. Offseason transfers, academic ineligibility and injuries forced Jackson to play young freshmen and sophomores at times.
Meanwhile, Capps applauded the Hawks' defense, which shut down the Warriors' running game after the first possession. North Lenoir yielded 42 yards on the opening drive, but allowed just 44 on Western's next 10 possessions combined.
"We saw something (on tape) we couldn't do and that's run the ball down their throat," Capps said. "So, we said if we can't do it, let's not beat our heads against the wall. Let's come out and mix in the pass with the run. If we have to throw a little bit more than run, sobeit.
"If we're able to do that, let's do it and get them off balance. Then, we hope it will free up the running game. We didn't think we could come in here and just mash them."
Jordan completed three passes on Western's third touchdown drive for a 21-0 advantage. His 23-yard toss to 6-foot-4 tight end Jermaine Hawkins finished off the visitors' fourth scoring possession of the opening half. The Warriors led 26-0 at the break.
Jackson's team regained its focus at halftime.
"We lost our composure a little bit the first half," Jackson said. "But then we talked to our players (at halftime) about we've invested too much hard work not to keep our composure, and play to the end. (We said) not to give up and embarrass our program, and they didn't. We came out in the second half and played pretty well."
North Lenoir spoiled Western's shutout bid on E.J. Brown's 1-yard plunge with 8:49 left in the third quarter.
The Warriors answered with the final touchdown, highlighted by Jordan's 66-yard aerial to Chris Graves. Hawkins snagged his second touchdown pass, a seven-yard play, to conclude the visitors' scoring.
Brown tallied his second touchdown, a six-yard scramble, midway through the final quarter. Brown, a senior, finished with 76 yards total offense -- 25 rushing and 51 receiving. Backfield mate Antonio Hamilton, held to 20 yards in the opening half, grinded out 84 yards on 14 carries for the game.
W. Alamance 14 12 8 0 -- 34
N. Lenoir 0 0 7 6 -- 13
WA -- Burton 10 run (Campbell kick), 6:59
WA -- Burton 27 pass from Jordan (Campbell kick), 2:56
WA -- Burton 13 run (kick failed), 9:18
WA -- Hawkins 23 pass from Jordan (kick failed), 1:30
NL -- E.J. Brown 1 run (Baird kick), 8:47
WA -- Hawkins 7 pass from Jordan (Jordan run), 5:10
NL -- E.J. Brown 6 run (kick blocked), 5:29
First downs 16 6
Rushes-yds 37-86 35-119
Passing yds 276 54
Total yards 352 173
Att.-Comp.-Int. 17-12-1 11-5-1
Fumbles-lost 3-2 3-1
Punts-avg. 1-43.0 3-36.3
Penalties-yds 6-50 6-43
RUSHING -- Western Alamance -- Jordan 2-19; Burton 15-53, 2 TDs; Bradsher 7-16; Twiss 1-(-18); T. Rogers 1-(-1); Jones 3-(-2); Johnson 5-4; L. Rogers 3-15. North Lenoir -- E.J. Brown 10-25, 2 TDs; Antonio Hamilton 14-84; Andrew Manning 5-(-13); Spencer 1-(-3); Ervin Atkins 2-21; T. Hamilton 1-4; Harris 1-2; Kelly 1-(-1).
PASSING -- Western Alamance -- Bo Jordan 12-16-0 276, 3 TDs; Johnson 0-1-1 0. North Lenoir -- Andrew Manning 4-10-1 53; Thorbs 1-1-0 1.
RECEIVING -- Western Alamance -- Buckner 4-56; Bradsher 1-14; Oakley 1-29; Burton 1-27, TD; Hawkins 2-30, 2 TDs; Graves 3-120. North Lenoir -- E.J. Brown 3-51; Antonio Hamilton 1-2; Kelly 1-1.
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