10/11/05 — Panthers pull away from Rebels

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Panthers pull away from Rebels

Published in Sports on October 11, 2005 2:12 PM

CALYPSO -- North Duplin battled evenly for a half with undefeated and highly regarded North Johnston Monday night, before surrendering three, second half touchdowns and dropping its Class 1-A Carolina Conference opener 33-13 at H.E. Grubbs Field.

Rebels coach John Avent, facing off against Panthers coach and brother Ken Avent Jr., admitted before the game it had been a difficult week.

"We have always been so close and talk so much, this week we haven't been able to talk a lot," John Avent said.

The upset-minded Rebels and the Panthers (7-0) played to a scoreless deadlock in the first quarter, then North Johnston running back Dutch Olliver scored on the first play of the second quarter -- running 10 yards up the middle capping an 8-play, 54-yard drive.

After the kickoff, North Duplin started from its own 29-yard line as quarterback Doug Lloyd passed 20 yards to receiver Demetrius Vann and the Rebels were first and ten at midfield. A 15-yard illegal block penalty stalled the drive.

Doug Lloyd punted 44 yards and the ball rolled dead on the Panther 13. Two plays later, the Rebels (1-5) recovered a fumble at the Panthers 11. North Johnston's defense stiffened -- forcing a fourth down at the 9-yard line. Then, Rebel quarterback Doug Lloyd found receiver Ryan Killette in the left corner of the end zone as Juan Vaca kicked the extra point and North Duplin tied the game 7-7 with just under six minutes left in the first half.

North Johnston quarterback John Wentz found a wide open J.P. Wise down the right sideline and the Panthers increased their lead by six at the 1:18 mark of the second quarter.

Lloyd, operating out of the shotgun, marched his team 65 yards in less than a minute and hooked up with Killete again to tie the game just before halftime.

"My team showed a lot of character with that drive. I am proud they played hard the whole game," John Avent said.

North Johnston relied on running back Tonnie Cooper in the third quarter. The junior running back carried the ball 25 times for 127 yards and two touchdowns on the game.

"We decided to establish our running game, we are a little bigger than they are and we thought we could run the ball," Ken Avent Jr. said. "They did a good job of stopping us the first half."

Cooper scored on an 11-yard run with just over seven minutes left in the third quarter and ran for the two- point conversion as North Johnston led 21-13. Cooper added another touchdown as the fourth quarter started.

Olliver posted his second touchdown with nine minutes remaining to complete the Panthers' scoring.

The Panthers rushed for 249 yards while holding North Duplin to 24 yards. North Duplin quarterback Doug Lloyd passed for 144 yards and two touchdowns.

The Rebels host Princeton in conference play Friday night.