Goldsboro boosts playoff hopes
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 30, 2005 2:14 AM
Halloween, that bewitching holiday associated with tomfoolery arrives Monday, but Goldsboro High's football team turned an early trick and provided its sparse Senior Night crowd with a thrilling treat on Friday evening at Cougar Stadium.
Treme Boone's halfback option pass to quarterback Adrian Lewis on the Cougars' initial possession resulted in a 68-yard touchdown. The momentum-building ruse lifted Goldsboro's spirits and sparked a 26-6 victory in Class 2-A Eastern Plains Conference play.
"They weren't expecting anything like that and it really helped our team, too," said Lewis. "It picked our spirits up a little bit."
The first-quarter shenanigans put a slight damper on North Lenoir's conference title hopes. The Hawks (4-6) slipped to 3-1 in conference play -- one game behind archrival Greene Central, which is currently 4-0.
Meanwhile, Goldsboro (3-7) evened its EPC worksheet at 2-2 and bolstered its postseason chances. A victory at North Pitt next Friday assures the Cougars of their second playoff appearance with third-year head coach Maurice Jackson.
"Intensity and leadership ... we've been trying to get it all season and we got it tonight," said Lewis, one of 13 seniors recognized before kickoff. "We came out ready to play. We believe we can go to the playoffs and that we could win this game.
"This was a must win."
North Lenoir fumbled away its first possession and Goldsboro answered with a quick score. Lewis handed off to Boone, who followed his blockers to the right, but encountered a flock of white-shirted Hawks.
Boone squared his body and threw back across the field to a wide-open Lewis, who hauled in the pass and frolicked 68 yards untouched to the end zone. The Cougars missed the two-point conversion, but had seized considerable momentum less than two minutes into the contest.
"We tried that in practice a couple of times and it worked, so we decided to try it the first play," chuckled Lewis. "He was under a heavy rush. I just looked for the ball and it was there, but I just about dropped it.
"It was an easy play."
It was Boone's second touchdown pass of the season and Lewis' first touchdown reception. Overall, Lewis and Boone have combined to throw seven touchdown passes to five different receivers.
"We wanted to come out and do something that was going to get some attention and spark some things," said Goldsboro coach Maurice Jackson. "We knew that everybody comes in keying on Treme, who used to be a quarterback. We decided to put it in his hands to see what would happen."
North Lenior found some offensive rhythm on its third possession of the opening half. Using Tyrone Spencer (three carries, 31 yards) as the workhorse, quarterback Andrew Manning directed the Hawks into the Cougars' red zone.
On first-and-10 at the Goldsboro 22, Cougar lineman Jeremy Sessions bullied his way through and hit Manning for an eight-yard loss. The Hawks eventually lost possession on their third fumble.
The teams traded possessions until the Cougars scored twice within a five-minute span. Boone broke loose for a 24-yard touchdown run and Lewis completed a 22-yard scoring pass to Division I recruit Jacob Sykes with less than a minute remaining in the quarter.
Goldsboro led 20-0 at halftime.
"(At halftime) we talked about not playing their football game, keeping our composure and not making the mental mistakes we made in the first half," said North Lenoir coach Wayne Jackson, who is 0-3 against Goldsboro and 4-6 all-time against Wayne County teams.
A little more relaxed, but aware of the task at hand, the Hawks advanced to Goldsboro's 23-yard line on its initial possession of the second half. Eric Whitfield ripped off back-to-back 13-yard runs for a first down at the 28. His 5-yard scamper gave North Lenoir a second-and-5 at the 23.
Then the Cougars turned another big defensive play. Manning got racked for a five-yard loss and the drive stalled two plays later.
"We make the read and if it's there, throw it; if not, then throw it away," said the Hawks' Jackson, whose team managed 170 yards of total offense -- all rushing. "We were slow reacting there. They made the plays and we didn't."
Spencer capped North Lenoir's next possession with a 13-yard run to avoid the shutout. Coriante Thompson concluded Goldsboro's scoring with an 8-yard run late in the fourth quarter.
Notes: Goldsboro leads the all-time series 5-0. ... Boone rushed for 116 yards, giving him 900 for the season. ... Lewis is one of six area QBs with six or more touchdown passes. ... The Cougars finished 2 of 7 on third-down conversions compared to 5 of 12 for North Lenoir. ... Goldsboro concluded its home schedule 2-4.
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