Kinston defeats South Lenoir to remain undefeated
Kinston’s B.J. Luter breaks out into the open field against South Lenoir in Tuesday’s contest. Photo by William “Bud” Hardy / Neuse News
A bit of normalcy took place at Viking Field Tuesday — in more ways than one.
Kinston continued its strong start, defeating South Lenoir 45-0 in its first game since Sept. 6 due to Hurricane Florence. This was the second-largest margin of victory between the two Lenoir County schools, equaling the Vikings' 51-6 victory in 2009 and behind a 67-0 win in 2015.
Although the Vikings (5-0, 1-0 Eastern Carolina Conference) had 13 penalties, the team executed on both sides of the ball in their ECC opener to defeat the Blue Devils for the 13th consecutive year.
“It’s definitely big to get your first conference win,” said Ryan Gieselman, who earned his 50th victory as Kinston’s head coach. “It’s great to be back out here and it means a lot to our guys. Football is one of those steady points in their lives, so it’s big for us. Our defense stepped up, offense got it going a little better and when we eliminate more of our mistakes, we’ll be OK.”
Kinston scored on all four of its first-half drives, going up 14-0 before South Lenoir (1-3, 0-1) was able to register a first down as the Blue Devils played their first game since Sept. 7. The Vikings' defense set the tone, allowing just one play above 10 yards in the game and preventing the Blue Devils from reaching the red zone until late in the third quarter.
“Everybody played their assignments and that’s really all it came down to,” Jacel Jacobs said after the defense allowed just 79 yards overall.
Kinston took a 28-0 lead into halftime, but South Lenoir was able to force a three-and-out on the Vikings' opening possession in the third. One play later, Jacobs intercepted a pass, setting up a 26-yard field goal from Diego Patino.
South Lenoir chewed up the clock on the ensuing drive, going 15 plays and lasting about nine minutes. The Blue Devils made it deep into Kinston territory, but on fourth-and-goal at the Vikings 2, Brett Huffman was stopped a yard short on the quarterback sneak.
Nine plays later, Jaedan Whitfield capped off a 99-yard drive with a 23-yard touchdown run, adding a second after the defense forced a South Lenoir fumble to close the scoring.
“It felt good to get our feet under us and play,” Kinston's B.J. Luter said. “We just executed the plays — we know them, so it was all about running our routes as hard as we could.”
South Lenoir coach Jeremy Joyner said the team worked on tweaking a few plans on both sides of the ball, which could be beneficial for the remainder of the season — along with a more consistent schedule.
“We got back to a sense of normalcy on the field,” Joyner said. “Playing on a Tuesday night isn’t normal, but being able to be with my guys and coaching them up is something I enjoy doing. We changed some things schematically and I saw a lot of good things. We’ve been our own worst enemy in some spots, but I was pleased with some of our drives.”
South Lenoir will travel to Vanceboro to face West Craven Friday. Kinston's next game will be Oct. 12 when Ayden-Grifton travels to Viking Field.
KINSTON 45, SOUTH LENOIR 0
SL 0 0 0 0—0
K 14 14 3 14—45
K — B.J. Luter 34 pass from Kieren Hooker (Diego Patino kick), 8:52
K — Khari Pitts 36 pass from Hooker (Patino kick), 7:17
K — Demetri Holmes 13 pass from Hooker (Patino kick), 11:03
K — Hooker 1 run (Patino kick), 1:27
K — FG Patino 26, 7:56
K — Jaedan Whitfield 23 run (Patino kick), 5:03
K — Whitfield 19 run (Patino kick), 1:45
First Downs 7 20
Rushes 41-79 25-191
Passing 0-1-1 9-15-0
Passing Yards 0 154
Total Yards 79 345
Punts 1-23.0 1-35.0
Fumbles 6-3 1-0
Penalties 2-10 13-112
RUSHING — South Lenoir: Jayden Carr 14-56, Xavier Mitchell 9-22, C.J. Kennion 9-10, Gavin Harrell 2-8, Cannon Davis 1-5, Brett Huffman 5-minus 6, TEAM 1-minus 16. Kinston: Justin Holloway 12-74, Jaedan Whitfield 3-43, Khari Pitts 2-36, Kymonte Roberts 1-24, James Graham 1-12, Kieren Hooker 6-7.
PASSING — South Lenoir: Huffman 0-1-1, 0. Kinston: Hooker 8-14-0, 138; B.J. Luter 1-1-0, 16.
RECEIVING — South Lenoir: None. Kinston: Luter 3-63, Pitts 2-44, Jacel Jacobs 2-18, Graham 1-16, Demetri Holmes 1-13.