11/02/08 — Rebels rock Rosewood

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Rebels rock Rosewood

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on November 2, 2008 12:48 AM

Quentin Graham realized in a passing league game in August there wasn't a man on the Rosewood roster that could cover him.

The North Duplin wide receiver went out and backed it up with eight catches for a career-high 189 yards and three touchdowns as the Rebels rolled past the Eagles 49-22 in Class 1-A Carolina Conference play Friday evening at Branch Pope Field.

Graham's 29-yard reception on North Duplin's first drive set up Akeem Cox's 2-yard touchdown run. From there, Graham knew he was in for a big night as six of his eight catches were for 20 yards or more.

"When we played them in the passing league they couldn't cover our passes, so I had a feeling it was going to be a big night," said Graham. "I just happened to get open and I made some catches."

Cox found the end zone from 12 yards out midway through the second quarter. Graham's 27-yard punt return led to his 23-yard touchdown reception with less than five minutes remaining in the first half.

Cox, who finished with 120 yards on 14 carries, left with a knee injury early in the second half. North Duplin head coach Hugh Martin admitted Cox was asking to get back in the game late in the fourth quarter.

"This week we tried to get back to our basic fundamental offense," said Martin. "Tonight, and all week, we've tried to get back to the basic things we did which is getting the ball in Akeem's hands and letting him see where the creases are.

"He made several great cuts at the line of scrimmage that a lot of backs can't make."

Rosewood (2-8 overall, 1-3 Carolina) got on the board on James Harris' 9-yard score just before halftime and trailed 21-8 at intermission.

The Rebels' spread offense continued to keep the Eagles on their toes defensively with a steady running attack and Kornegay's ability to find Graham streaking through the secondary at will. Field position was also on North Duplin's side as it started six of its 14 possessions in Rosewood territory and finished with 508 yards of total offense.

Graham hauled in a 45-yard pass for a score less than four minutes into the third quarter.

"It's really tough when North Duplin has two quality backs," said Rosewood head coach Robert Britt. "Cox is the best back in the area. At times we played well, but we can't miss tackles and give up big plays.

"When you allow them to play on your side of the football field most of the night, those big plays are going to go for touchdowns."

Joshua Holmes answered with a 67-yard touchdown run that pulled the Eagles to within 28-14.

Devin Oliver's 2-yard score late in the third quarter extended the Rebels' advantage to 35-14. Graham and Kornegay connected for a 20-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter. Kornegay, a sophomore, has stepped in for the injured Alan Schilling and thrown for over 700 yards and five touchdowns this season. His four interceptions are the third-fewest among the area's leading passers.

"Marcus did super in August and he was really battling Alan hard, and then Alan had that injury," said Martin. "Marcus has stepped in and he's learned a lot and he's still learning. He's learning to take control offensively, that's a part of his maturation process. He made some great throws tonight."

Harris added a 59-yard score for Rosewood and Toderick Gadberry tacked on a 68-yard touchdown run for North Duplin, which improved to 4-7 overall and 2-2 in conference play. Holmes ended the evening with 139 yards on 10 carries.