Kinston football season ends in Elizabeth City
Kinston head football coach Ryan ‘Diesel’ Gieselman addresses his team following his team’s third-round loss to Elizabeth City Northeastern on Friday. Junious Smith III / Neuse News
ELIZABETH CITY — Unfortunately for Kinston, the magic ran out.
The Vikings fell 40-0 to Elizabeth City Northeastern in the third round of the NCHSAA 2A playoffs Friday. In a battle of undefeated teams, the Eagles (13-0) set the tone early and never looked back, getting revenge in the process.
In 2015, Kinston (12-1) picked up a thrilling 14-13 victory in the third round on the way to its second championship game appearance. Northeastern's Traveon Freshwater was a freshman then and relished the moment for payback, rushing for a game-high 123 yards on Friday.
"It all started with practice on Monday," Freshwater said. "We had our doubters and this game held a lot of weight for us. We were all about business tonight and it felt good to get this one."
The Eagles outgained the Vikings 380-35 and had little issue moving the ball, scoring on their first two drives to start the game. Defensively, Northeastern stymied Kinston, allowing only four first downs and forcing four turnovers, including three interceptions.
Northeastern went up 26-0 at halftime and allowed only one play from Kinston to go more than 10 yards after the break.
Although the season ended in disheartening fashion, Kinston coach Ryan Gieselman said there were many positives to take from the season. The Vikings finished with its second-best record in school history and won six straight contests by eight points or fewer coming into Friday's match.
"No matter what the doubters had to say, they kept responding all year long," Gieselman said. "For us to go on a 12-game winning streak is huge and it goes to the kids and assistant coaches. It's the effort and hard work they put in the weight room and the field.