Vikings battle past Farmville Central

Vikings battle past Farmville Central

Kinston senior quarterback Kieren Hooker prepares to throw one of his three passing touchdowns in Friday's 28-23 victory against Farmville Central Friday night. Photo by William 'Bud' Hardy / Neuse News

Kinston used a three-minute stretch that started near the end of the second quarter and into the opening minutes of the third to overcome a 10-point deficit and defeat Farmville Central, 28-23, in the season-opener for both squads.

The Vikings (1-0) trailed 17-7 following a 25-yard field goal from Zander Gardner with 1:18 remaining before halftime. However, Kieren Hooker connected on a 35-yard pass to Jacel Jacobs with 47 seconds left in the second quarter to close the lead to 17-14 at halftime.

Kinston opened the second half with a five-play, 57-yard drive that culminated with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Hooker to B.J. Luter to take a 21-17 lead. Hooker – who ran for Kinston’s first score in the opening quarter – connected with Khari Pitts in the fourth quarter to push the Vikings lead to 28-17.

Kinston coach Ryan Gieselman said the stretch was key to the win.

“We told our guys at halftime that score right there gave us momentum,” Gieselman said. “We knew if we came out of halftime and scored, we’d be OK.”

The Jaguars (0-1) rallied in the fourth quarter to get within 28-23, but a failed two-point conversion and failed onside kick doomed their comeback.

“It was a war of attrition; we only played with about 26 guys,” FC coach Scott Gardner said. “Our whole defensive line was basically out. … When they came out and started moving the ball on us, the momentum kind of switched.”

Hooker led the way for Kinston, throwing for three scores and running for another. He finished with 116 yards passing and 43 yards rushing for the Vikings, who travel to North Pitt next week.

FC sophomore quarterback Tay Suggs ran for one score and passed for another to lead the Jaguars, who travel to North Lenoir next week.

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