08/21/11 — Wildcats scratch out Cougars

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Wildcats scratch out Cougars

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on August 21, 2011 1:51 AM

Goldsboro head football coach Eric Reid insisted his team needed the 61-12, season-opening thrashing it took from Wilmington New Hanover on Friday night.

Just how much of that pounding the Cougars are able to bounce back from remains to be seen. Wildcats' quarterback Bates Taylor threw for 235 yards and four touchdown passes, three of which came in the first half.

New Hanover took the opening possession and Rashaud Thompson capped the five-play drive with a 16-yard touchdown run fewer than two minutes into the game.

The Cougars' first drive stalled on the Wildcats' 25-yard line.

Taylor marched New Hanover down the field and Montrell Baldwin's 5-yard run put the Wildcats in front 14-0. Goldsboro's Devante Harris fumbled the ensuing kickoff and New Hanover recovered deep in Cougars' territory.

Taylor's 11-yard touchdown pass to Trevon Brown late in the first quarter stretched the lead to 21-0.

"Our defense did a pretty decent job in the second half," Reid said. "In the first half we had a lot of mental mistakes."

Daquan Barnes hauled in a 67-yard touchdown from Taylor early in the second quarter. After New Hanover blocked a Goldsboro punt, Taylor tossed a 33-yard touchdown pass to Raheem Hewitt extending the Wildcats' lead to 34-0.

The Cougars struggled to generate rhythm offensively and were outgained 265-90 in the first half. Known for its potent rushing attack, Goldsboro had just eight yards on the ground before intermission.

"Offensively, we're so young," Reid said. "We've got to work on getting our rhythm down. I saw some glimpses of things. We're going to come along with the running game."

Taylor's fourth touchdown pass of the game came from 18 yards out to Brown early in the third quarter. New Hanover scored once more in the third quarter and tacked on three additional touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

The Wildcats outgained the Cougars 434-203.

Junior quarter Julius Murphy's 8-yard touchdown pass to Rodney Cook midway through the third quarter was one of the lone bright spots for the Cougars. Murphy finished 8 for 21 through the air for 107 yards.

"Julius Murphy threw the ball great tonight," Reid said. "We knew that was going to be one of our mainstays coming into this season and he showed us what we've got to look forward to."

Goldsboro's only other touchdown came on Harris' 80-yard run in the fourth quarter. Leonard Neal recorded an interception and Karon Alston contributed a strip defensively.

The Cougars endured their third consecutive season-opening loss to New Hanover and have been outscored 130-24 in those three games. In each of the past two seasons, Goldsboro has responded with a conference championship and a deep playoff run. Reid is confident his team can do it again.

"We needed this," Reid said. "I knew what we were coming into so it wasn't a shock. My guys are going to look back on this in November or December, and know this was something that helped us out. Tonight was a test. In order for us to get better we knew we need to face good, quality competition."

The Cougars visit Eastern Wayne next Friday.