12/07/07 — Rebels' Schilling handles role like seasoned player

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Rebels' Schilling handles role like seasoned player

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on December 7, 2007 1:48 PM

CALYPSO -- Then next era of North Duplin's offense started sooner than its fans expected.

Senior Doug Lloyd suffered a career-ending injury on the game's first play against Lakewood and hobbled to the sideline. Backup quarterback Alan Schilling snapped his chinstrap into place, strolled onto the field and operated the split-back veer offense like a seasoned veteran.

No one could anticipate what happened next.

Schilling turned in the performance of his life, rushing for two touchdowns as the Rebels rolled to a 33-0 victory in the Class 1-A western regional final. With that memorable game locked away, Schilling and his teammates look to turn their year-long dream into reality Saturday.

North Duplin (14-0 overall) faces Plymouth (15-0) for the N.C. High School Athletic Association state championship. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh.

Lloyd sustained a clean break of his fibula and will need at least six to eight weeks to heal. The four-year starter had accounted for nearly half of team's offensive output before the freak injury. He returned to the sidelines on crutches in the fourth quarter.

"Doug should be fine and shouldn't have any long-term effects from it," said second-year Rebels head coach Hugh Martin.

While Schilling (5-foot-7, 150 pounds) doesn't have the flash or field savvy like Lloyd, the sophomore has proven that those long afternoons of practice and summer league passing games didn't go to waste. He calmed a stunned crowd and turned concerns into excitement as the Rebels earned their first state-title shot since 1975.

"Alan stepped up and did a great job for us," said Martin. "I know he was nervous. He turned the wrong way a couple of times on some things, but he really rose up (to the challenge).

"He obviously doesn't get as many reps in practice as Doug does, but knows what is expected out of him in the offense. He's a tough football player and I expect him to continue to do what he did."

Schilling got considerable help from his offensive line and junior running back Akeem Cox. Cox supplied 166 yards rushing and three touchdowns as the Rebels claimed their first regional title -- and just their third overall -- in three-plus decades.

"Coach (Martin) always told us that you never know when your time is going to come when you have to step up," said Schilling after the Lakewood win. "I guess my time came. When Doug went down, I knew I had to step up and do what I needed to do."