South Lenoir defeats North Lenoir, wins first Braggin' Bowl since 2009
South Lenoir’s Jayden Carr (4) goes in for a touchdown as his teammates celebrate during Monday’s win over North Lenoir. Photo by William “Bud” Hardy / Neuse News
DEEP RUN | The Braggin’ Bowl trophy is changing locations for the first time since 2009.
South Lenoir clicked on all cylinders Monday night, defeating North Lenoir 46-14 in a historic contest. The Blue Devils (2-6, 1-4 Eastern Carolina Conference) scored the most points in the history of their rivalry with North Lenoir (previously 36 in 1982 and 2002), posted the largest margin of victory for any South Lenoir team (defeated the Hawks by 27 in 1967) and gave Jeremy Joyner his seventh win coaching the team, tying Lee Atkins for seventh in school history.
Most importantly for the Blue Devils, this snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Hawks (0-7, 0-3) and gave the southern part of Lenoir County bragging rights on the gridiron for a year.
“I’m just really happy for my kids,” Joyner said. “We told them from last week ‘you’ve got a chance to make history.’ I’m pleased with the team’s effort — they wanted it, they played hard from start to finish and I can’t tell you how proud I am. It was just a beautiful night offensively and a beautiful night defensively.”
“To get this win for our community (and) for our school goes a long way in developing our program and getting it to where we want to be.”
South Lenoir took its time getting established on the first drive, going on a 16-play, 87-yard drive and chewing 10:23 off the clock. The Blue Devils faced only one fourth down on the drive, which was converted by Jayden Carr who would later score from 9 yards out. After North Lenoir turned it over on downs, South Lenoir went to work much quicker as on the third play of the drive John Howard faked a handoff and found Gavin Harrell for a 62-yard touchdown.
North Lenoir had an opportunity in the red zone on the ensuing drive, but lost a fumble inside the 10. South Lenoir couldn’t convert, but the Hawks would turn it over on downs deep in Blue Devils territory. North Lenoir would lose four fumbles in the contest, including one on its first possession of the third quarter where South Lenoir’s T.J. Miller would score on a 27-yard touchdown.
“We knew this was a big game for us,” Miller said. “We had to be aggressive and play hard, which led to this play.”
Terrance Copper would get North Lenoir on the board with a 62-yard kickoff return touchdown, but Carr would score on the next drive to put South Lenoir ahead 32-8. The senior ran for 192 yards against Greene Central on Oct. 19 and kept rolling with 237 Monday. His 1-yard run with 4:30 remaining broke the record for most points scored by South Lenoir against North Lenoir and after Christian Young found Jason Gagnon for a score on the ensuing drive, he responded with a 53-yard touchdown run up the middle.
“I had to believe in my O-line,” Carr said. “We’ve been through so much this season and we came out as a family. I love them for what we did — it took four years (while I was in high school) to beat them and it was worth the wait.”
For North Lenoir coach Jim Collins, it will be about correcting mistakes with another county rival approaching Friday.
“It was the little things — (what) we’ve been harping on the whole year reared its ugly head,” Collins said. “I’m going to give all the credit to South Lenoir. They took us behind the woodshed and whipped us pretty good. There was no if, ands and butts who the better football team was out there (Monday night.)”
The Hawks will host Kinston on Friday while the Blue Devils travel to Spring Creek on the same day.
SOUTH LENOIR 46, NORTH LENOIR 14
NL 0 0 8 6—14
SL 8 8 16 14—46
SL — Jayden Carr 9 run (Xavier Mitchell run), 1:37
SL — Gavin Harrell 62 pass from John Howard (Carr run), 9:16
SL — T.J. Miller 27 fumble return (Carr run), 10:59
NL — Terrance Copper 62 kickoff return (Onassis Gardner run), 10:42
SL — Carr 6 run (Carr pass from Howard), 6:00
SL — Carr 1 run (run failed), 4:30
NL — Jason Gagnon 17 pass from Christian Young (pass failed), 3:18
SL — Carr 53 run (Mitchell run), 2:10
First Downs 12 15
Rushes 24-89 46-319
Passing 13-22-0 1-1-0
Passing Yards 108 62
Total Yards 197 381
Punts 0-0.0 1-28.0
Fumbles 8-4 1-1
Penalties 4-50 6-40
RUSHING — North Lenoir: Terrance Copper 6-42, Ny’Jai Koonce 6-31, Onassis Gardner 11-20, Christian Young 1-minus 4. South Lenoir: Jayden Carr 29-237, Xavier Mitchell 14-63, Gavin Harrell 2-19, John Howard 1-0.
PASSING — North Lenoir: Young 13-22-0, 108. South Lenoir: Howard 1-1-0, 62.
RECEIVING — North Lenoir: Koonce 3-46, Copper 4-23, Jason Gagnon 4-16, Tre Hawkins 1-14, Logan Bigler 1-9. South Lenoir: Harrell 1-62.