11/14/09 — Websters early INT jumpstarts James Kenan

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Websters early INT jumpstarts James Kenan

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 14, 2009 11:05 PM

WARSAW -- The defense got it started.

Special teams and offense followed suit.

Johnathan Webster's interception return ignited a three-touchdown, first-quarter outburst as James Kenan throttled East Montgomery 34-6 in their opening-round, N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-AA football playoff contest Friday evening.

The eighth-seeded Tigers won a first-round postseason game for the seventh consecutive year, including four straight with current head coach Ken Avent Jr. James Kenan (7-5 overall) continues its playoff journey Friday at top-seeded and unbeaten Southwest Onslow.

Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

Webster's pick set up a 3-yard scoring dive by Victor Parker, who churned out a game-high 141 yards and two touchdowns on 18 totes. Four plays later, sophomore defensive back Antonio Frederick blocked an Eagles punt and returned it 21 yards to the end zone.

The Tigers led 14-0.

"The interception and blocked punt set the tone for us," said Avent Jr. "We've done that the last two weeks ... take advantage of our defense putting us in good spots, so it feels good to getting back to doing that a little bit."

Parker added a 2-yard plunge to cap the first-quarter explosion.

James Kenan ran just 10 offensive plays on its first four possessions. Two series ended in interceptions, which prevented its defense from catching its breath against East Montgomery's ball-control scheme.

The Tigers forced two turnovers and held the ninth-seeded Eagles to minus-12 yards rushing in the opening half. East Montgomery (5-5-1) finished with minus-1 yard rushing for the game and 126 yards of total offense.

"We did a good job and had to make some adjustments they were doing in the shotgun, throwing different looks at us," said Kenan defensive coordinator John Avent.

The Eagles, members of the Yadkin Valley Conference, couldn't convert two possessions inside the Tigers' red zone. Webster's second pick ended a first-half drive, while Kenan held on downs at the 1-yard line on three consecutive plays in the fourth quarter.

"That was big, makes you feel good that we got a great stop," said Avent. "Pretty much since conference (play) has started, we really haven't been giving up a lot points-wise. The last few weeks we've been able to get it (the ball) back and give our offense a chance to score.

"Hopefully we can do that next few rounds."

Kenan's defense has allowed just five touchdowns in the last 12 quarters. Kendric Faison and Webster led the Tigers with nine and eight tackles, respectively, against East Montgomery. Senior linebacker Kyle Bostic, the team's top tackler, provided six stops.

The Eagles avoided the shutout on Chris Everett's 75-yard kickoff return.