08/20/06 — Avent era at Kenan begins with a bang

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Avent era at Kenan begins with a bang

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on August 20, 2006 2:24 AM

WARSAW -- The Ken Avent Jr. era as football coach at James Kenan began successfully Friday night as the Tigers scored 22 points in the second quarter and defeated long-time nemesis and county rival East Duplin 22-7 at Bill Taylor Field.

James Kenan took the opening kickoff and ran for one first down on a 17-yard gallop by Akeem Faison before the Panthers defense stiffened and the Tigers were forced to punt. East Duplin then moved to the James Kenan 12-yard line before losing two yards on a fourth-down play and giving the ball up on downs. The Tigers were unable to get a first down, and after a short punt, the Panthers started their next drive on the Kenan 22.

It took East Duplin just four plays to score on a 4-yard jaunt into the end zone by fullback Rudy Osik with less than two minutes left in the opening period.

The Tigers' James Mathis returned the ensuing kickoff 46 yards and James Kenan started their next drive at midfield.

The second quarter began under threatening skies with East Duplin holding a 7-0 lead. The Panthers defense held the Tigers to only two first downs in the first quarter. Behind a huge offensive line, the James Kenan running backs picked up two quick first downs on runs of 10 and 8 yards by Stedman Mathis. An 11-yard scamper by senior Jason Kennion to the 4 gave the Tigers first-and-goal.

On the next play, quarterback Alex Monk pushed his way up the middle on a quarterback sneak and fell across the goal line to pull the Tigers to within one. Jorge Vazquez kicked the extra point and James Kenan pulled even with just under 11 minutes to play in the second quarter.

Less than a minute later, James Kenan linebacker Alex Flores scooped up a Panthers fumble and ran 28 yards to give the Tigers their first lead of the game 13-7. On their next possession, East Duplin drove to the Tigers' 36 before James Kenan picked up their second turnover as Kennion intercepted a pass and returned the ball 35 yards to the East Duplin 49-yard line.

Jayvon Devane broke loose around right end on the night's longest run of 42 yards to give the Tigers another first and goal. After a motion penalty set James Kenan back five yards, Brandon Satchell scored on an 11-yard run to give the Tigers a 19-7 lead with a little less than four minutes left before halftime.

James Kenan stopped another Panther drive and took over on its own 43 with less than a minute left in the second quarter.

Monk took off on a 40-yard run and a first down on the Panther 18 with 20 seconds left. A pass interference call pushed the ball to the 9, then Vazquez came on and kicked a field goal on the final play of the first half for the Tigers to increase their lead to 22-7.

Flashes of lightning as the teams came out to begin the third quarter caused a 20-minute weather delay.

East Duplin took the second half kickoff and after one first down was forced to punt. The referee then spotted another lightning flash to the west and the teams returned to the dressing room for another delay.

Neither team was able to mount much offense in the scoreless second half.

"We did not turn the ball over and I think the defense did a great job," said Avent. "We did some things on special teams that we needed to do. We did not have to do a lot offensively, and with a 22-7 lead we just let our defense do their job in the second half."

The Tigers rushed for more than 200 yards and averaged almost six yards per carry. Seven different running backs carried the ball for James Kenan.

Rudy Osik rushed for 62 yards for East Duplin but had to leave the game early in the third period due to an ankle sprain.

Kennion finished with 11 tackles, four assists and caused one fumble caused to go along with his interception. Flores added seven tackles and seven assists.

East Duplin head coach Bryan Aldridge was pleased with his team's defense and overall performance.

"You have to give them credit. They are aggressive defensively and they've got a good football team," he said. "Getting beat by 15 by a good football team with the mistakes we made is encouraging. It was a good opener for us."

The Tigers will host Jacksonville-Northside next week, while East Duplin will entertain North Lenoir.