12/06/17 — North Duplin: A Season Review, Part II

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North Duplin: A Season Review, Part II

By Justin Hayes
Published in Sports on December 6, 2017 5:53 AM

CALYPSO --  Unblemished and averaging over 43 points per game through its first four Friday nights, No. 4-ranked Southside -- an east regional finalist in 2016 -- had every reason in the world to feel confident ahead of its Sept. 15 matchup with tiny North Duplin.  

But as boxing great Mike Tyson once noted, everybody's got a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth.


North Duplin scored twice in the opening 12 minutes -- a solid body blow, if you will -- then piled on two more scores in a manic second stanza that, if anything, served as the uppercut that sent Southside wobbling back to its corner.

Cut me, Mick -- Rebels 35, Seahawks 6.

Defensively, North Duplin was lights-out from the opening whistle, allowing just 144 total yards on the evening.

In total, 18 Rebels recorded at least one tackle, led by Arthur Pigford, who tallied nine.  

Offensively, it was the usual suspects -- Archer and Sheppard -- who did the heavy lifting, rushing for a combined 336 yards and three touchdowns.

Next up, Granville Central.

North Duplin 28,

Granville Central 0

Eleven tackles for loss.

Two blocked punts.

One fumble recovery.

And oh, yeah -- a Gage Smith interception.

Paired with 400 total yards of Rebel offense and the result was a yawning, wake-me-when-its-over road victory that perhaps couldn't have arrived on a more convenient hour.

For the next week, an old friend was scheduled for a trip to Calypso -- Lakewood.

North Duplin 21,

Lakewood 14

If North Duplin's stunner over Southside was akin to Tyson-Spinks in '88, then its tangle with Lakewood certainly smacked of Ali-Frazier in 1975, when the Thrilla in Manila -- a 15-round, gladiator-inspired clash in the Philippines -- pushed both to the extreme before producing a champion.

Tied at 14 and facing fourth down and everything from its 20-yard line, ND quarterback William Archer took a three-step drop and launched an orb that Armone Anders somehow ran under, hauled in and secured -- elbows up -- to keep hope alive.

And No. 9, ever the opportunistic runner, struck paydirt in short order, ending the mayhem and keeping the Rebels in perfect working form.

But nothing about it was easy.

Between the two teams, a total of 150 tackles were made on the evening. Hit or be hit, as the old saying goes.

Or in this case, survive and advance.

North Duplin 27,

Union 26

Trap game, anyone?

This one looked the part, acted the part and if not for a Luke Britt touchdown reception with just 18 seconds left, would have lived the part in Rose Hill.

Were the Rebels basking in the glory of their triumph versus Lakewood? Or were they merely developing the edge of a team with the ability to conjure what it needed, when it needed it?

Who knows, really, but the affair likely told the players all they needed to know about how many times a get-out-of-jail-free card would work.

And Princeton isn't the place to push one's luck.