08/28/05 — Panthers' Hardison too much for Hawks

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Panthers' Hardison too much for Hawks

Published in Sports on August 28, 2005 2:09 AM


Courtesy Kinston Free Press

LAGRANGE -- East Duplin strolled into North Lenoir on Friday and showed why its one of the favorites to win the powerful Class 2-A East Central Conference this season.

The Panthers were impressive in all phases of the game, breaking open a tight affair in the third quarter and rolling to a 30-9 victory at Bullock Field.

East Duplin (2-0) has outscored its opponents 66-15. Friday's contest was the Hawks' season opener.

"I told the guys before the game that tonight we would find out how close we are to being a playoff team," North Lenoir coach Wayne Jackson said. "East Duplin is one of the better teams in the East, and overall I thought we gave a decent accounting of ourselves."

The explosive Panthers used a couple of huge plays to subdue North Lenoir. After North Lenoir's Ricky Jarman booted a 30-yard field goal to draw the Hawks to within 7-3 early in the second quarter, Tyreck McFadden returned the ensuing kickoff 86 yards to the North Lenoir 7.

That set-up Tyler Blizzard's 1-yard scoring plunge three plays later.

Then, with the score 13-3 late in the third period, East Duplin's Emetrius Hardison ripped off a 76-yard scoring run that effectively sealed the outcome.

For the game, Hardison erupted for 141 yards on just 7 carries, including a 38-yard burst on the Panthers' first play from scrimmage.

Perhaps the biggest sequence of the game occurred a few minutes before Hardison's long touchdown dash.

With the score still 13-3. North Lenoir's Josh Reese intercepted an errant pass by Panthers' punter Aaron Miller, returning the ball to the East Duplin 16.

However, the Hawks were whistled for holding on the return, and then a dead ball unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting was tacked on, placing the ball all the way back to the East Duplin 41.

Three plays netted just 2 yards and the Hawks were forced to punt.

"That was a real momentum killer," Jackson said. "If we could have punched it in there, it might have been a different ball game."

Two possessions later, Hardison delivered his back-breaker.

The Hawks return to action next week when they visit rival Kinston at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. East Duplin will look to remain perfect when its hosts Pender. The Panthers will be without senior defensive end Shaquan Pickett, who suffered a broken collarbone against the Hawks.