Blue Devils battle past Jones Senior, 20-12
South Lenoir running back Cannon Davis takes a handoff from quarterback Brett Huffman during Friday's win against Jones Senior. Photo by William 'Bud' Hardy / Neuse News
DEEP RUN -- It may not have been South Lenoir’s best start, but the finish made up for it.
The Blue Devils made plays late, which proved key in a 20-12 victory over Jones Senior in the Blue Devils’ season-opener. The game was originally set to be played in Trenton, but was moved to Deep Run after electrical issues.
Despite being the “road” team, being whistled for 14 penalties and falling behind by double digits in the second half, South Lenoir (1-0) was able to fight back for the victory and pick up an 8-7 lead in the 15-game history of the teams.
“It was very frustrating on the offensive end (in the first half),” Blue Devils coach Jeremy Joyner said. “I told them at halftime ‘we are the best player on Jones Senior’s team with turnovers and penalties.’ We told them clean up the mistakes, find a way to move the football and midway through the third quarter we started to figure it out."
Neither team could garner offensive momentum in the first quarter with a combined three first downs between them. Jones Senior (0-2) nearly had the first touchdown on a 13-yard connection from Detorian Brown to Dejour Brown, but a holding penalty wiped it out, followed by a second to push the Trojans out of range.
Jones Senior did cash in on a lost fumble early in the second deep in South Lenoir territory, scoring on a Detorian Brown 1-yard run three plays later. The Trojans were primed to score again in the waning moments, but Jacob Kinsey was stopped at the 1-yard line as time expired, allowing the Blue Devils to go into the locker room down just 6-0.
The teams traded three-and-outs to start the third, but on the Blue Devils’ second possession, a bobbled snap on a punt put the ball at the South Lenoir 21. Three plays later, Kinsey was able to score on the 1 to extend the Trojans lead to 12, but the Blue Devils responded with C.J. Kennion’s 29-yard touchdown run, one play after Cannon Davis’ 21-yard burst to get within four.
Jones Senior fumbled on its next drive and one play later, Kennion struck again — this time from 64 yards — to put South Lenoir up 14-12. Kennion only carried the ball five times but racked up 117 yards in the process.
“I was just looking for the touchdowns in the second half and trying to score,” Kennion said.
Defense set the tone from there for the Blue Devils, as the Trojans were sacked seven times, including five in the second half. T.J. Miller led the charge with four sacks, contributing to Jones Senior running for minus-18 yards as a team.
“I had to do it for the team,” Miller said. “We were losing, so I had to step up.”
Finally, with 5:08 left South Lenoir extended the advantage with Jonathan Haddock jumping in front of a Brown pass and scoring on a 20-yard interception return to put the Blue Devils ahead 20-12.
“I was surprised (to get the interception), but I knew when I caught the ball I wasn’t going down,” Haddock said with a laugh.
The Trojans got to the South Lenoir 34 on the next drive, but two incomplete passes and a 15-yard sack forced a punt. Jones Senior had one final chance, but Detorian Brown overthrew Dejour Brown on fourth down to end it.
Trojans coach Greg Hampton said the team put in a strong effort, but just came up short.
“We’ve just got to make corrections,” Hampton said. “We’re not changing anything — we’ve just got to catch the ball and block a little better. Defense played a hell of a game, all my kids put 110 percent effort and I’m totally proud of them. They’re doing the very best with their 19 bodies and they’re fighting. Anyone else can say what they want, but we’re going to keep on playing.”
South Lenoir will host North Duplin Thursday while Jones Senior heads to Beaufort to face East Carteret Friday.
SOUTH LENOIR 20, JONES SENIOR 12
SL 0 0 8 12 — 20
JS 0 6 6 0 — 12
JS — Detorian Brown 1 run (run failed), 7:30
JS — Jacob Kinsey 1 run (run failed), 4:08
SL — C.J. Kennion 29 run (Cannon Davis run), 1:39
SL — Kennion 64 run (run failed), 11:05
SL — Jonathan Haddock 20 yard interception return (run failed), 5:08
First Downs 8 10
Rushes 32-166 25-minus 18
Passing 1-5-0 16-32-1
Passing Yards 6 198
Total Yards 172 180
Punts 4-27.0 5-30.2
Fumbles 4-2 2-2
Penalties 14-78 8-80
RUSHING — South Lenoir: C.J. Kennion 5-117, Cannon Davis 14-36, R.J. Pickett 2-27, Kojoe Missebukpo 7-13, Brett Huffman 4-minus 27. Jones Senior: Jacob Kinsey 7-26, Bryan Jones 8-8, Detorian Brown 10-minus 52.
PASSING — South Lenoir: Huffman 1-5-0, 6. Jones Senior: Detorian Brown 16-32-1, 198.
RECEIVING — South Lenoir: Kennion 1-6. Jones Senior: Kinsey 7-72, Syheen Sauls 4-60, Dejour Brown 2-42, Brendyn Schaefer 1-23, Jones 1-8, D. Brown 1-minus 7.