08/24/13 — Tigers score early, often against Saints

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Tigers score early, often against Saints

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on August 24, 2013 11:26 PM


WARSAW -- James Kenan did nothing to dispel its preseason hype in the first football game of the season on Friday night.

The Tigers looked up to speed on both sides of the football and stormed out of the gate with a 41-13 win over Southern Wayne at Bill Taylor Field.

"I was really pleased to see our offense move the ball the way we did," James Kenan head coach Ken Avent Jr. said. "And more importantly we held on to the ball and didn't turn it over. Defensively we were solid throughout."

The Tigers immediately sent a message on the opening kickoff.

Quarterback Dominique Barnes engineered a 10-play drive that covered 70 yards and ended with a 13-yard scoring run by Ja'Quan Williams. Following a Southern Wayne fumble, Williams scored from nine yards out to put the Tigers ahead 14-0.

Southern Wayne rallied thanks to a good special teams play and a timely personal foul penalty that set up the Saints on Kenan's 35-yard line. Four plays later, A.J. Williams rumbled across the goal line and got the Saints on the board.

"Obviously the first time out there are good things and bad things that you see," Southern Wayne head coach David Lee said. "I thought we moved the ball at times, but we need to gain consistency offensively."

On James Kenan's next possession, Marcelias Sutton broke free for a 49-yard run. That set up Ja'Quan Williams' third touchdown of the half -- a 10-yard run.

The Saints went three-and-out on their next series. Barnes called his own number on a 6-yard run that put the Tigers comfortably ahead 27-7 at halftime.

James Kenan (1-0 overall) put the game out of reach on the first drive of the third quarter on Sutton's 5-yard touchdown run.

Southern Wayne nearly ran the ensuing kick back for a touchdown and quickly answered with a five-play drive that covered 16 yards and ended with a two-yard scoring blast by Dallas Graham.

Al Owens ended the tally for James Kenan with a two-yard touchdown run of his own to end the third quarter. With the game no longer in doubt at 41-13, both coaches found time to rotate in some reserve players.

"I think one of the biggest things we need to develop after this game is some defensive line depth," Lee said. "We only have four guys that have ever played any (defensive line) and it showed when those guys started to get a little gassed in the second half. James Kenan is a really good rushing team and they were getting five, six, seven yards every play."

James Kenan finished the night with 337 yards rushing and 393 yards of total offense. Sutton carried 12 times for 112 yards and one score. Ja'Quan Williams added nine totes for 67 yards and three touchdowns. Owens finished with 15 carries for 84 yards and a score.

"I thought all three of our backs ran well and we blocked pretty well for them," Avent Jr. said. "We definitely need to fix some things on special teams before next week, but overall I was pleased with tonight's effort."

Southern Wayne finished with 62 yards rushing as a team and 25 yards passing. Graham led the Saints with nine carries for 31 yards and one score.

Southern Wayne (0-1 overall) entertains Smithfield-Selma next Friday, while James Kenan faces county archrival Wallace-Rose Hill.