Kinston retains Freedom Cup with win over N. Lenoir
Published in Sports on September 2, 2007 2:01 AM
By BRYAN C. HANKS
Kinston Free Press Sports Editor
There's just something about seeing "Lenoir" on the front of a jersey that fires Michael Thompson and Kinston up. As a result, the Vikings won their second consecutive Freedom Cup.
Kinston completed a sweep of its county rivals with a 21-7 win against North Lenoir on Friday. The victory hands the Freedom Cup -- awarded every year by The Free Press to the county's best public school football team -- to Kinston for a second straight year.
"Another year with this beautiful trophy in our trophy case makes me tickled pink," KHS coach Tony Edwards said. "We're going to try to keep it for the next 20 years."
For the second straight week, Thompson lit up a county rival as he finished with a pair of touchdowns and 169 yards on 23 carries for the Vikings (2-1). He also added three extra point kicks for good measure.
In last week's 14-0 win against South Lenoir, the senior running back earned Free Press player of the week honors when he rushed 18 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
The tailback said he relishes lining up against his county rivals.
"Some of my best friends play at North Lenoir, so I can go back home and not hear the talk," Thompson said while clutching the Freedom Cup. "I get to be the one to brag. It's my trophy."
Kinston only led the feisty Hawks, 7-0, at halftime on a 42-yard first-quarter touchdown pass from Bo Ingram to Ricardo Davis.
North Lenoir (0-3) opened the second half with a nine-play, 59-yard drive that culminated in a 7-yard scoring run from Joe Newborn with 7:37 remaining in the third quarter. Newborn's score tied the game at 7-7.
"I applaud (NL coach) Wayne Jackson and his game plan, because they kept us on our toes," Edwards said.
Kinston's defense helped the Vikings take a 14-7 lead. The Vikings forced a Newborn fumble at their own 18-yard line that was recovered by George Gooding. Five plays later, Thompson put the Vikings ahead for good with a 2-yard run at the 2:35 mark of the third quarter.
After forcing a North Lenoir punt, it only took six plays and less than three minutes for the Vikings to put the game away. Like he did last week, Thompson sealed the victory with a long run, this time a 59-yard score that provided the final score.
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