Kinston loses starting quarterback before halftime, drops league road loss to West Craven
Kinston High head football coach Ryan Gieselman (left) and quarterback Demetri Holmes (right) talk during the first quarter of their game against West Craven on Friday evening.
VANCEBORO — Kinston High, for one half, appeared poised to knock West Craven from the unbeaten ranks of the Eastern Carolina 2A Conference football scene Friday evening.
A key absence changed everything.
Quarterback Demetri Holmes sat out the second half with a left foot injury and the Vikings watched a one-touchdown lead turn into a 28-13 loss at Jordan Stadium.
The preseason favorite to win the EC A crown, Kinston exited with a 4-4 worksheet, including a 1-2 mark against league opposition.
Holmes directed the Vikings to a pair of first-half touchdowns that silenced the Eagles' fans. He connected with Caleb Gooding from 18 yards out and Calvin Holloway provided a 10-yard scoring burst. Holmes hobbled off the field after Holloway's TD.
Kinston's trainer placed an ice bag under Holmes' foot and wrapped it tightly. The junior signal caller removed the ice, put his cleat back on and walked with the team as it gathered for the halftime huddle.
"It's day to day," KHS head coach Ryan Gieselman said of Holmes' status. "It's a matter of how much pain he can tolerate."
The Vikings' defense handled West Craven's speed on the edges and in open space, stopped the ball at the point of attack and logged three quarterback sacks in the opening half. The Eagles (5-2, 3-0) punted four times and had two fake punts snuffed.
The second half?
A different story.
West Craven ramped up its defense and frustrated Kinston, which had minus-17 yards on its first five offensive plays. The Eagles forged ahead 21-13.
Gieselman admitted Holmes' loss altered the playbook, but he offered no excuses.
"They came out and challenged our manhood," Gieselman said. "They came out and smacked us in the mouth. We've got to do a better job of responding to that. Injuries are going to happen in a game. It's a contact sport.
"Those guys that are backups, they've got to prepare like they're starters, too. You can't be envious or jealous of whoever the starter is. You've got to prepare like a starter and you've got to be ready to go. You never know who is going to go down."
Kinston finally halted West Craven's run game in the fourth.
Down eight with eight minutes to go, Caleb Gooding guided the Vikings on an eight-play possession that ended on downs at the Eagles' 32-yard line. After another stop, the Vikings lost their second fumble, which led to a WC touchdown.
The Eagles soared to 11-4 all-time in the series.
"[You] look to the sideline, when things get tough, we've got to come together even tighter," Gieselman said. "Nothing is going to be easy from here on out. We're backed into a corner. We're fighting for a spot in the playoffs.
"We've got to come ready to work on Monday."
Kinston entertains Greene Central on Friday.
Kinston 7 6 0 0 — 13
West Craven 0 7 14 7 — 28
K — Gooding 18 pass from Holmes (Patino kick), 2:28
WC — Shelton 23 run (Decker kick), 4:46
K — C. Holloway 10 run (kick failed), 2:21
WC — Abrams 14 pass from Casey (Decker kick), 6:25
WC — Wallace 6 run (Decker kick), 1:06
WC — Wallace 6 run (Decker kick), 2:27
First downs 8 18
Rushing 24-(-9) 47-210
Passing 13-28-0 8-18-0
Passing yards 181 120
Total yards 172 330
Fumbles-lost 3-3 1-0
Punts-yds 5-43.6 6-36.7
Penalties-yds 7-75 6-43
RUSHING — Kinston: Demetri Holmes 3-(minus-10), Iverson Ward 8-13, Ja'Lique Rouse 1-(minus-9), Calvin Holloway 4-2, Khari Pitts 1-(minus-3), Caleb Gooding 7-(minus-2). West Craven: Trent Casey 4-(minus-5), DayQuan Shelton 18-68, Silas Wallace 21-128, Niante Lockett 3-5, Arthur Abrams 1-14.
PASSING —Kinston: Holmes 7-18-0, 142; Rouse 1-2-0, 4; Gooding 5-11-0, 35. West Craven: Casey 8-18-0, 120.
RECEIVING — Kinston: Ward 2-0, Josh Holloway 3-13, Gooding 1-13, Will London 2-22, Khari Pitts 2-91, Rouse 1-17, Shilyk Poole 1-15, C. Holloway 1-10. West Craven: Wallace 2-2, Lockett 1-15, Shelton 1-0, Devin Gillyard 1-43, Abrams 3-60.