Kinston escapes with 27-24 win over Washington to stay undefeated
Kinston’s Justin Holloway takes a handoff from Kieren Hooker during the Vikings’ 27-24 victory over Washington. Photo by William “Bud” Hardy / Neuse News
When you are an undefeated team with the playoffs looming, sometimes you need a tough game to bring you back to Earth and help remind you that you are human after all.
The Washington Pam Pack ran for 312 yards and seemingly pushed Kinston around on both sides of the ball all game. However, the Vikings persevered and hung on to a grueling 27-24 come from behind win to climb to 8-0 on the season.
“That’s another tough one that we keep losing,” Washington coach John Blank said. “We played good for four quarters but we made some mistakes against a well coached team. We had some adversities that we could not overcome and we lost 10 points because of it.”
The Vikings got off to a quick start as Mechaelin Davis fielded the opening kickoff and stormed down the field on a 63-yard touchdown.
“That felt really good,” Davis said. “All I saw was that my teammates were up ahead blocking for me. I was very excited and the crowd was cheering me own. I found the holes and took them.”
The Pam Pack wasted no time fighting back. It took eight running plays, but they quickly stormed through the Kinston defense. Ka’ci Foreman scored on a three yard run to tie it up. A field goal by Hunter Hall, after Kinston went three and out, gave Washington a 10-7 lead, but the Vikings would retake the lead in the closing seconds of the first quarter when Demetri Holmes took a handoff for a five-yard run.
In the second quarter, Kinston forced the Pam Pack to go three and out. On the ensuing drive, Hooker engineered a pass heavy drive that brought the Vikings into the 10 yard line. Two plays later, Hooker capped off the drive with a five yard scrambled up the middle into the end zone, Washington would respond with a long drive that ended with quarterback Antwone Godley taking a keeper on a four yard run.
Before halftime, Hooker was sacked on the seven yard line by the Pam Pack. Jacel Jacobs would carry the ball up to the 30 but it would not be enough. A fake punt did not fool Washington and the held the ball at the Kinston 35 with 35 seconds to go. The Vikings would sack Godley for an eight yard loss. Ridge Zerniak would line up for a 45 yard field goal and fell short. Washington would trail Kinston 21-17 at halftime.
Despite the momentum, Washington could not carry it over into the second half. Three penalties cost the team 25 yards. They were forced to punt, but their defense held Kinston to a three and out. On their next possession, the Pam Pack drove down the field and scored on a five yard run by Michael Clark. Washington took a 24-21 lead with three minutes to go in the third quarter.
“At halftime, we made some adjustments,” Ryan Gieselman said. “The running game got better, although we probably should have down that more. We did our best to try to contain them and I think we did a better job of that. Our defense bent a lot, but did not break tonight. They carried us.”
The Pam Pack started the third quarter with another slow, methodical drive punching through the Kinston defense. The Kinston defense would hold strong and take over on their 48 with 7:45 to play. Washington had actually scored on what would have been a 30 yard pass to Ka’Ci Foreman, but the play was called back on a holding penalty.
“We really needed to score on that drive there,” Blank said. “That would have put us up for good. The penalties there were very unfortunate.”
The momentum had swung the other way. Hooker began to drive the team down the field. Kinston struck with a 25 yard pass from Hooker to Jacobs to give Kinston a 27-24 lead on a diving catch. Jacobs would end the night with four catches for 76 yards. Hooker would have 143 yards passing in the game.
“We knew that this was going to be a tough game. We just had to go out there and do it,” Jacobs said. “I knew my qb was going to look for me and I did my best to get open for him to put it on me. He hit me and we went up.”
“Hooker has been big all season,“ Gieselman said. “He’s a team leader. The kids see him being calm and respond to him. He kept his cool and led the team down the field on that last drive to clinch it for us. Now, we just have to respond the next few weeks, work on some things, and have good practices to prepare us for our two remaining games.”
1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH Final
Washington 10 7 7 0 24
Kinston 14 7 0 6 27
First Quarter Scoring
K: Mechaelin Davis 63 yard kickoff return (Diego Patino kick good)
W: Ka'ci Foreman 3 yard run( Hall kick good)
W: Hall 37 yard field goal
K: Demetri Holmes 5 yard run (Patino kick good)
Second Quarter Scoring
K: Kieren Hooker 5 yard run (Patino kick good)
W: Antwone Godley 4 yard run (Hall kick good)
Third Quarter Scoring
W: Michael Clark 5 yard run (Hall kick good)
Fourth Quarter Scoring
K: Jacel Jacobs 25 yard reception (Patino kick blocked)
First Downs 21 11
Rushes-Yards 64-312 27-97
Passing-Attempts 2-7 9-18
Passing Yards 40 143
Total Yards 352 240
Fumbles-Lost 0-1 0-2
Penalties 8-55 8-60
Punt-Avg 2-78 4-103
RUSHING: Washington: Godley 9-106, Foreman 21-96, Warren 9-46, Clark 11-43, Selby 3-15, Parker 2-6
Kinston: Holloway 15-54, Hooker 6-16, Holmes 2-15 , Jacobs 3-12
PASSING: Washington: Godley 2-6 40, Selby 0-1
Kinston: Hooker 9-18 143
RECEIVING: Washington: Lawrence 2-40
Kinston: Jacobs 4-76, Holloway 3-27, Holmes 1-27, Pitts 1-13