Holmes makes himself at home in Vikings victory at Farmville

Holmes makes himself at home in Vikings victory at Farmville

Kinston’s Will London (23) winds his way through the Farmville Central defense on his way to a 68-yard touchdown during Friday’s 40-14 season-opening victory. London scored twice during Friday’s game, including on this pass from quarterback Demetri Holmes. Photo by Linda Whittington / Neuse News

FARMVILLE — One of the top quarterbacks in the past couple of decades in Lenoir County graduated last year when Kieren Hooker walked the stage in June at Kinston High School.

Turns out his replacement ain’t too shabby.

Kinston’s Demetri Holmes — a 6-foot, 1-inch, 180-pound junior — made his 2019 debut at quarterback a successful one as he threw for 294 yards and two touchdowns while running for another score as the Vikings rolled to a 40-14 victory at Farmville Central in the season-opener for both squads Friday night.

Holmes completed 17 of his 28 attempts to six different Vikings, including a 68-yard touchdown pass to senior Will London that opened the scoring in the first quarter and a 52-yard touchdown pass to junior Josh Holloway that gave Kinston a 26-0 halftime lead. Holmes added a rushing touchdown in between those passing strikes.

The Kinston Vikings, led by senior defensive lineman Walt Simmons (53) and senior receiver/defensive back Will London (23), run onto the field before Friday’s season-opener at Farmville Central. Photo by Linda Whittington / Neuse News

The Kinston Vikings, led by senior defensive lineman Walt Simmons (53) and senior receiver/defensive back Will London (23), run onto the field before Friday’s season-opener at Farmville Central. Photo by Linda Whittington / Neuse News

Holmes, who graded himself as an A-minus for his Friday effort, credited his teammates and coaches for his success.

“I want to start out with my (offensive) line up front; they held it down for me,” Holmes said. “My receivers made plays on the ball, my running backs made good carries and we had good coaching.”

Following Holmes’ 1-run scoring run with 4:33 remaining in the first half that pushed the Vikings lead to 18-0, officials pulled both teams off the field due to lightning strikes in the area. The weather delay lasted 44 minutes, but it didn’t slow down the potent Kinston offense.

“It definitely made for a pleasant night to play football,” Kinston coach Ryan “Diesel” Gieselman said. “We’d been practicing in the hot sun and humidity and whatnot, but it was a good night for football and was a great way to kick off the first week.”

A 65-yard interception return by senior cornerback Khari Pitts and a 2-yard touchdown run by London on his only carry of the game pushed the Vikings lead to the brink of a running clock at 40-0 with 1:53 remaining in the third quarter.

But the Farmville Central defense stiffened on the two-point conversion following London’s touchdown and the Jaguars (0-1) finally scored on a pair of touchdown passes in the fourth quarter that made the score a bit more palatable for the home crowd.

“I don’t know if we got disinterested a little bit at the end of the game or not, but we’ve got to do a better job when our subs go in the game,” Gieselman said. “There can’t be a drop-off.”

Kinston finished with 396 total yards of offense, which included a team-high 62 rushing yards and a first-quarter rushing touchdown from junior running back Iverson Ward. Holloway caught six of Holmes’ offerings for 114 yards and a score while London finished with a rushing and receiving touchdown along with his 70 total yards.

The Kinston defense, led by senior defensive lineman Walt Simmons, Pitts and Nicky Walter Jr., was particularly stingy through the first three quarters as it held Jaguars quarterback Brandon Knight to only 105 yards through the air while picking off the freshman twice. Knight finally hit his stride in the fourth quarter, completing four passes for 73 yards and touchdowns to juniors Tavyon Suggs and Dantavious Short.

Short finished with six catches and was responsible for 157 of Knight’s 178 yards through the air; he even completed the only pass he attempted for 28 yards. In all, Short had 205 of Farmville’s 247 yards of offense, including 20 yards rushing on five attempts.

The Vikings (1-0) open their home portion of their 2019 schedule at home on Friday against North Pitt, whose game vs. Washington was postponed to Monday due to inclement weather.

“We need to keep practicing, keep conditioning and keep holding each other accountable,” Holmes said.

Extra points: Gieselman’s teams improved to 6-1 in season-openers in his Vikings head coaching tenure that started in 2013; his only loss to open a season came in a 30-13 loss to Farmville Central at home in 2016. … The 40 points scored were the most in a season-opener for Kinston since a 41-21 victory at Jones Senior in 2013 and the third-most in school history in a season-opener. Kinston defeated Jones Senior 54-0 to open the 2010 season. … Kinston improved to 8-1 all-time vs. Farmville Central; it was the third straight victory for the Vikings over the Jaguars. … The victory was the 13th consecutive regular season victory for Kinston, now the most in school history. The last time the Vikings lost a regular season game was on Oct. 20, 2017 in a 25-23 loss at home to West Craven. … Kinston has never lost to next week’s opponent, North Pitt. In a series that has ran from 2003-04, 2009-12 and from 2015 to now, the Vikings are 10-0 against the Panthers, including last year’s 26-6 win in Bethel.


Kinston 40, Farmville Central 14


K          6          20        14        0          —        40

FC        0          0          0          14        —        14

First Quarter

K—Will London 68 pass from Demetri Holmes (pass failed), 7:08

Second Quarter

K—Iverson Ward 9 run (run failed), 11:48

K—Holmes 1 run (pass failed), 4:33

K—Josh Holloway 52 pass from Holmes (London run), 0:53.9

Third Quarter

K—Khari Pitts 65 interception return (Ward run), 9:44

K—London 2 run (run failed), 1:53

Fourth Quarter

FC—Tavyon Suggs 13 pass from Brandon Knight (Dantavious Short run), 11:50

FC—Short 58 pass from Knight (kick failed), 7:50

                        K                      FC

First downs     15                    9

Rushes            35-102             24-41

Passing            17-28-0           11-29-3

Passing yards  294                  206

Total yards      396                  247

Punts               3-32.0              4-36.8

Fumbles/Lost  4-2                   2-0

Penalties         7-52                 10-50


Individual statistics

Rushing — Kinston: Iverson Ward 15-62, Demetri Holmes 12-19, Terrell Pugh Jr. 2-16, Josh Holloway 1-5, Will London 1-2, Caleb Gooding 2-1, Nicky Walters Jr. 2-(minus-3). Farmville Central: Rahshae Owens 7-26, Dantavious Short 5-20, Anthony Suggs 2-7, Richard Peterson 3-(minus-2), Tavyon Suggs 4-(minus-4), Brandon Knight 3-(minus-6).

Passing — K: Holmes 17-28-0, 294. FC: Knight 10-28-3, 178; Short 1-1-0, 28.

Receiving — K: Jo. Holloway 6-114, London 2-65, Gooding 3-47, Khari Pitts 4-32, Ja’lique Rouse 1-22, Calvin Holloway 1-14. FC: Short 6-157, Owens 1-28, T. Suggs 1-13, Wesley Day 1-6, Brandon Simmons 1-2, Peterson 1-0.

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