11/21/12 — James Kenan doesn't want another shootout

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James Kenan doesn't want another shootout

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on November 21, 2012 9:53 PM

Ken Avent Jr. did not want his team to get into a shootout with Red Springs last Friday night. But the Tigers did just that and won 68-41 -- their best offensive performance of the season.

Heading into the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-AA (large school) east regional championship game, Avent Jr. is hoping against another run-and-gun affair.

He is not betting against it, though.

"When you look at Southwest Onlsow, they have a big physical team and they consistently move the football," Avent Jr. said. "They are a lot like us in that they want to run the ball first, but they have the ability to make things happen in the passing game as well."

Southwest Onslow (12-1 overall) boasts one of the top offenses in the East. The Stallions are coming off a 50-6 win over Northampton County and have averaged 42 points per game so far in the playoffs. That number is slightly better than the 39.7 points per game the team averaged during regular-season play.

Tailback DeMonta Winbush has emerged as Southwest's most productive running back. Winbush ran for 118 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Northampton County.

Quarterback Shak Pershey is a dual-threat option in the Stallions' offense. Pershey ran for 45 yards on nine carries and scored one touchdown on the ground. He added four completions for 77 yards and two touchdowns through the air.

Most of the Stallions' success comes directly on the heels of a strong offensive line.

"They are all big and they are all talented," Avent Jr. said. "When I look at their line the first thing I see is the size -- 260, 265, 280 pounds."

The Stallions also have a special-teams weapon in kicker Nick Matics. Against Northampton, Matics hit a pair of field goals from 21 and 43 yards, respectively.

Matics was named the MVP in Southwest's run to the NCHSAA 1-A boys' soccer state title last Saturday.

"Special teams has been big for us in the playoffs," Avent Jr. said. "We have had some long returns and scored a couple touchdowns. This week their kicker is going to be able to kick the ball into the end zone so we have to block our assignments in the return game and try to create field position."

When the Tigers have the ball the philosophy will remain the same -- block at the point of attack and create running lanes for the trio of talented runners in the backfield. Marcelias Sutton led James Kenan against Red Springs with 223 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. Sutton has amassed 1,720 yards on the season, second-best among the area's rushers.

Not to be outdone, tailback Ja'Quan Williams rushed for 211 yards against the Red Devils and added three scores of his own. Williams has tallied 1,036 yards on the season and 13 touchdowns. T.K. Owens has provided the lead blocking from his fullback spot and is a capable short-yardage runner.

"We are going to have to block at the point of attack and move some guys out of the way," Avent Jr. said. "As big as Southwest Onslow is on the offensive line, they are just as big on the defensive line."

Avent Jr. eluded to the possibility of seeing a few more pass attempts than normal from quarterback Dominique Barnes.

"If the opportunity presents itself we may look to throw it a few more times," Avent Jr. said. "It all depends on the game situation, but at this point I think we have to be ready for any scenario."

Even another shootout.