Pender drops Goldsboro
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 27, 2010 11:45 PM
Goldsboro could neither solve Pender's triple-option attack nor develop a consistent running game of its own Friday evening.
The Patriots scored touchdowns on their first possession of each half and cruised to a 28-8 victory in their N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-AA eastern semifinal football contest at Cougar Stadium.
Pender (11-2 overall) travels to top-seeded Southwest Onslow for the eastern championship on Friday. Goldsboro concluded the year 10-4 and posted its third consecutive 10-win season since alum Eric Reid took over the program four years ago.
"My hat's off to Pender," said Reid.
The Cougars' offensive troubles surfaced in the opening quarter. A swarming Patriot defense forced three straight three-and-out series, and held Reid's team to minus-6 yards rushing.
Goldsboro switched to its T formation and took its first possession of the second quarter down to the Pender 7-yard line. But the 3 1/2-minute drive stalled and the Cougars turned the ball over on downs.
After forcing a punt that gave Reid's team possession at the Patriot 26, the Cougars couldn't cash in on the short field. Two running plays netted minus-8 yards. Pender outside linebacker Richard Gregory batted down Corteiz Sprangle's fourth-down pass to halt the drive.
"That was crucial and I think that was the turning point of the game," said reid. "That really drained our momentum and fueled their momentum. With a team of that caliber, you really have to score when the opportunity presents itself and not shoot yourself in the foot.
"We shot both feet off."
Goldsboro crossed midfield just once the remainder of the night.
The Cougars ran just five offensive plays in the third quarter. They avoided the shutout on Sprangle's 54-yard, fourth-period scoring strike to Andre Montgomery when the outcome had all but been decided.
Montgomery and backfield mate Freddie Jones combined for a hard-earned 65 yards on 15 totes. Goldsboro finished with 170 yards of total offense on just 33 plays.
"Their defensive line did a wonderful job and we couldn't get anything established on the line of scrimmage," said Reid. "When we did, it was in spurts. Overall, they (the Patriots) did a very good job and were just as strong as we were up front, but might have been a little more battle-tested.
"We couldn't find the right combination to get it going."
Pender had the right formula all night.
Shaquille Hooper's 1-yard dive put the Patriots ahead 7-0 in the opening quarter. His 3-yard plunge capped a second-half, opening drive that almost stalled at midfield after Pender drew back-to-back holding penalties.
On 3rd-and-24, senior fullback Josh Johnson broke loose for a 43-yard run. Five plays later, Hooper's second touchdown put the visitors ahead 14-0.
"We didn't get containment on the sweep," said Reid. "One play that killed us all night was the quick sweep on the receiving side. We couldn't stop them and they were blowing our defensive back out of the water. That really deflated us at that point.
"We had a hard time getting personnel to spread out the play to the sideline so we could get support over there to slow them down."
The Patriots accumulated 400 yards rushing on 71 attempts. Hooper led all rushers with 142 yards and two touchdowns on 31 attempts. Johnson added 146 yards on 22 carries, while Derek Holmes ripped off 86 yards and a touchdown on 15 attempts.
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