09/24/06 — Goal-line stand key for Hobbton

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Goal-line stand key for Hobbton

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on September 24, 2006 2:13 AM

CALYPSO -- One of the longest-running series among eastern North Carolina Class 1-A football rivalries ended in thrilling fashion again Friday evening.

Hobbton's defense posted a goal-line stand in the closing minute and preserved its come-from-behind 25-21, non-conference victory over North Duplin at H.E. Grubbs Field.

C.J. Oates returned a kickoff 92 yards for the game-winning touchdown to help the Wildcats, of the Super Six Conference, claim their fifth win in six tries. North Duplin suffered its first loss in four outings.

"This is my 27th or 28th game against North Duplin and it's like this every time," said veteran Hobbton coach Al Britt. "Anybody who missed this missed a great one."

Hobbton has won five consecutive games in the series, a streak that began with a first-round playoff victory in 2001. The Rebels won the regular-season meeting 21-6 at Newton Grove that year.

The teams combined for 600-plus yards of total offense and kept a standing-room-only crowd standing on its feet for most of the night. North Duplin owned a 342-272 edge in total offense.

Rebel quarterback Doug Lloyd completed 14 of 20 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown. Lloyd added two rushing touchdowns, and Michael Schilling accumulated 110 yards rushing on 16 carries.

Hobbton controlled the opening quarter and ran 18 offensive plays compared to six for North Duplin. The Wildcats missed a 39-yard field goal, but got the ball back courtesy of the Rebels.

Oates eventually converted the fumble into a 3-yard touchdown seconds before the first quarter ended.

North Duplin answered with an eight-play, 71-yard drive. Schilling provided the big play -- a 41-yard run. Lloyd capped the long march with a 1-yard plunge. Junior Guzman successfully booted the first of three PATs and the Rebels led 7-6.

Hobbton converted two third-down plays on its next possession and forged ahead 12-7 on A.J. Currie's 6-yard run. Lloyd and the Rebels responded again, and seized a 14-12 halftime lead when Ryan Killette hauled in a 15-yard scoring pass from Lloyd. Killette finished with a season-high 100 yards receiving.

"We saw some things in their coverage and tried take advantage of what we saw," said first-year North Duplin head coach Hugh Martin.

Oates put the Wildcats back in front with a 27-yard run in the third quarter. North Duplin, again, answered with a touchdown-scoring drive. The seven-minute series lasted 12 plays and ended on Lloyd's 2-yard run.

That helped set up the thrilling finish.

North Duplin held Hobbton on downs and took over at its own 30-yard line with eight minutes left in regulation. The Rebels picked up a first down, but the drive stalled. Billy Mello boomed a 44-yard punt that backed Oates up inside Hobbton's 10-yard line.

Oates cleanly fielded the ball and got loose for his game-winning run down the right sideline.

The Rebels' last possession ended when Hobbton lineman Wayne Strickland intercepted Lloyd on a third-and-2 play at the Wildcat 4-yard line.

"Their player is a good athlete and made a great play for them," said a disappointed Martin. "I am proud of the effort the players put forth and the coaches' preparation for the game. I am also thankful for the support of the community we had tonight."

North Duplin wraps up its non-conference schedule next Friday at Union.