Lakewood turns back North Duplin
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 26, 2011 1:47 PM
CALYPSO -- North Duplin started great.
Devin Oliver's game-opening, kickoff return for a touchdown and Julio Mora's run-scoring jaunt gave the Rebels a 14-point advantage after one quarter.
The sleeping Leopards awoke after that.
Lakewood posted three second-quarter TDs, played a physical second half and captured a come-from-behind 35-28 victory at H.E. Grubbs Field on a muggy Thursday evening.
"It was just an absolutely outstanding effort," said North Duplin head coach Hugh Martin. "A lot of teams would have quit."
Nikin Henry's 7-yard TD scamper and Kevin Murphy's 47-yard scoring gallop knotted the contest at 14-14 midway through the second quarter. The Rebels (1-1 overall) answered with Mora's 5-yard run that capped a seven-play, three-minute drive.
Mora led all rushers with 145 yards on 21 totes.
JJ Tanner's 8-yard scoring strike to Tony Smith on third-and-goal forged a 21-21 deadlock just before halftime.
"They got a little momentum," said Martin. "We had a hard time seeing some of their plays develop and getting to them like we should have. A lot of stuff we just didn't recognize it quite as well in the game as we needed to."
Lakewood increased its physical play in the second half.
The young North Duplin line lost some of its moxy in the trenches, and missed the presence of Mora and Oliver in the backfield. Mora dealt with a stomach ailment most of the game, while Oliver battled cramps in the humid conditions.
Lofton Kerr's 3-yard plunge gave the Leopards the lead for good early in the third quarter. A holding penalty negated Issac Sellers' 60-yard TD romp to start the second half, but Tanner orchestrated a seven-play, 60-yard drive that took nearly 3 1/2 minutes off the clock.
North Duplin took the kickoff and moved quickly inside the Leopards' red zone. Oliver broke loose for runs of 27 and 11 yards, which gave the Rebels a first-and-goal at the 9.
Lakewood's defense held on downs, stopping quarterback Tyler Royal just inside the 1-yard line.
"If we could have punched that one in ... struggling on what to do because we were missing a few people at that point," said Martin. "I probably made a bad play call just trying to drive it in."
Tanner's 11-yard pass to Issiah Sellers ended the visitors' scoring early in the fourth quarter. The Rebels responded with a 10-play possession that resulted in Mitchell Thigpen's 10-yard scoring run with 7 minutes, 21 seconds left in regulation.
Lakewood took over and ran out the clock.
The Leopards claimed their third consecutive victory in the series since 2007 when they lost to the Rebels in the western 1-A championship game. North Duplin suffered its 10th straight defeat against a Tri-County opponent and 15th overall in 20 meetings since 2004.
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