11/11/17 — FOOTBALL --Goldsboro falls to SW Onslow

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FOOTBALL --Goldsboro falls to SW Onslow

By John Joyce
Published in Sports on November 11, 2017 8:21 PM

JACKSONVILLE -- Up 6-0 on third-seeded Southwest Onslow at halftime -- the Stallions first deficit at intermission since the fourth week of the season, Goldsboro coach Elvin James was feeling good.

"We felt good going in," said James, who was using a crutch to support him as he recovers from knee replacement surgery. "We thought we found some weak spots, but we came back and seems like we lost focus."

Southwest wasted little time.

Senior Jakoby Johnson took the first handoff of the second half 70 yards on a counter to spark a scoring surge that carried Southwest to a 35-6 victory Friday night.

"We got caught off guard," James said. "I don't know if we were too busy celebrating or what, but out position and next thing you know you can see ... the wind kind of start going out of our sail.

"They just basically up front, they pounded us. They just beat us."

While Goldsboro finishes 6-6, Southwest (9-3) will play host to No. 6 Southwest Edgecombe (10-2) next Friday night at The Corral.

 "Goldsboro is a great team. They're not a typical 14 seed," SWO coach Charlie Dempsey said. "But we had some turnovers and penalties that hurt us. We can't continue to do that if we're going to continue to win.

"Proud of the way we came back. You always get worried when you've had so much success during the season, okay, what's going to happen when we're in a dogfight or when we're behind. Those kids never didn't believe; halftime they were pumped up, ready to go."

On a field left soggy from recent rains, both teams had issues with footing, making it difficult for running backs to cut sharply without slipping. And in one case the Goldsboro punter had his plant foot slip from under him.

The field conditions, along with a strong defensive effort, allowed the Stallions to be only the second team this year to hold junior Xzavior Bowden to under 100 yards. Bowden, who had 2,026 yards coming in, rushed for 73 yards on 23 carries.

In a 49-6 win Oct. 6, East Duplin held Bowden to 87 yards.

"We knew that was their guy," Dempsey said. "He's about two-thirds of their offense. So we were like, man, if we can contain him."

As a result of the field, both run-dominated teams went to the air more than expected, especially Goldsboro, which scored its only touchdown on a 25-yard pass from Brody Morton to Dorian Rodgers with 3:45 remaining in the first half.

That, however, was the first and last hurrah for the Cougars, who put up a valiant fight. But the second half belonged to Southwest behind an offensive line and backfield that wore the visitors down -- and a defense that came up with two key interceptions and a big stop by a big man.

After Johnson's touchdown run -- he finished with a game-high 169 yards -- 6-foot-5, 305-pound junior Derek Green turned in a play that again showed why any number of big-time colleges are looking at him when he stopped the 6-2, 225-pound Bowden for no gain on third-and-1, forcing a punt after Southwest had taken the lead.

But the Stallions fumbled the ball away only to have Taighee Edwards get it back when he picked off a pass on third-and-13 at the SWO 36 with the Stallions still clinging to a 7-6 lead.

Sparked by Dharyus Thomas' 32-yard pass to DaQuan Roberts, the Stallions made it 14-6 on running back Josh Soliz's 3-yard run with 5:03 left.

Soliz score again on a 5-yard run 28 seconds into the fourth quarter after a 33-yard run by Johnson.

Soliz set up the next touchdown with a 27-yard interception return and a horse collar penalty, giving SWO the ball at the 13. Three plays later Caleb Mahone scored on a 2-yard run to push the lead to 28-6 with 9:35 left.

While he hated to see the season end, James knows his Cougars have come a long way since last year's winless season.

"We were 0-11. I got the job basically in July," he said. "But we don't complain. Guys did well. We've just got some growing up to do."