Cougars prevail, finish EPC runners-up
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on November 9, 2008 9:28 AM
Like a well-oiled machine, Goldsboro's offense fired on all cylinders in front of a homecoming crowd and steamrolled past North Pitt 40-14 on Friday evening.
The victory locked up a first-round home playoff game and the runner-up spot behind Tarboro in Class 2-A Eastern Plains Conference play.
Goldsboro (8-2-1 overall, 4-1 EPC) amassed 466 yards of total offense, pounded the Panthers on the ground for 357 of those yards and displayed big-play ability in the passing game. Senior quarterback Tyrell Jackson returned to the lineup, and tossed touchdown passes of 65 and 25 yards to finish with 109 yards through the air.
"Our offense did a wonderful job," said second-year Goldsboro head coach Eric Reid. "It was senior night and we wanted Jackson to come out and have a good showing and he did. He's been practicing wonderfully this week and I'm so proud of him.
"Our offensive line did a wonderful job executing our game plan. Our backs stepped it up tonight as always. That's our calling card and they didn't falter."
Andre Montgomery's 6-yard score midway through the first quarter capped a seven-play drive on the Cougars' first possession that spanned 65 yards in just over three minutes. Following a North Pitt punt, Jackson connected with Lamar Hicks for a 25-yard score late in the first quarter.
Jackson displayed his arm strength moments into the second quarter when he hit Enrique Moses streaking down the right sideline for a 65-yard touchdown. D'Rahjae White's extra point was good and Goldsboro led 20-0.
Tyrone Perkins got the Panthers (6-5, 3-2) on the board with a 1-yard score midway through the second. The Cougars responded with a commanding 11-play drive that ended with Freddie Jones' 2-yard touchdown.
Goldsboro linebacker A.J. Parker intercepted North Pitt's Matthew Rankin with less than a minute remaining in the half. Four plays later, Montgomery scored from five yards out and the Cougars led 34-6 at the half.
Donnie Carr's 25-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter accounted for the Panthers' lone second-half touchdown. North Pitt was held to 56 yards on the ground and complied 142 yards of total offense. Goldsboro picked off Panthers' quarterbacks three times and created seven plays of zero or negative yardage.
"I can't say enough about the defense," said Reid. "We stuck to our old adage ... we bent a little bit but we didn't break. I think that's a big reason why we're standing here tonight with a victory."
Jones added his second score of the evening from a yard out late in the fourth quarter and the sophomore finished with 95 yards on 17 carries. Montgomery contributed 100 yards and two scores on 13 carries, while Parker had 119 yards on 13 carries.
After being upset at home by East Duplin in the first round of the state playoffs last season, the Cougars have had an entire year to ponder the sting of that early postseason exit.
Reid doesn't anticipate another repeat performance.
"I think last year we took it for granted a little bit with having our first playoff game at home," said Reid. "I think we were kind of shaky, but I think now the guys realized what the importance of this week was and I think that's going to make next week very intense so we can prepare for that first round of the playoffs."
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