Holmes throws four touchdowns, Vikings knock off North Pitt in home opener

Holmes throws four touchdowns, Vikings knock off North Pitt in home opener

Kinston’s Will London scored two receiving touchdowns in the Vikings’ victory over North Pitt Friday. Photo by William ‘Bud’ Hardy / Neuse News

Kinston continued its strong start to the season on Friday.

Behind four passing touchdowns from junior quarterback Demetri Holmes, the Vikings defeated North Pitt 35-16 and moved to 2-0 on the year. Despite a slow start to the game, Kinston used a strong second half to power themselves to victory in their home opener.

“We made a few adjustments at halftime,” Vikings head coach Ryan Gieselman said. “We were better on both sides of the ball in the second half. The offensive line did a great job protecting Demetri for most of the game and he was able to make a lot of good throws. There are a few things we need to clean up, but in the end we’re happy to be 2-0.”

Kinston forced a turnover on the first possession of the game when senior Will London recovered a fumble in Panthers territory. On the ensuing drive, Holmes found London for a 36-yard touchdown on fourth down. 

The Panthers (0-2) answered with a 36-yard touchdown of their own from junior quarterback Alex Espinosa-Johnson. A two-point conversion gave the Panthers an 8-7 lead midway through the first quarter, but that would be the only offensive touchdown for North Pitt on the night.

Once again, Holmes found London for a 14-yard touchdown pass with less than two minutes left in the opening period. The Vikings wouldn’t trail for the rest of the game, but the Panthers had a chance to take the lead at the end of the half.

“I feel like we grind every day,” London said about his team. “We’ve taken some game situations from practice and executed them during the game. We’re not shocked about anything because we expect to perform well every time we hit the field. I’m definitely happy we’re 2-0 and we’re on to Week Three.”

Kinston’s defense kept North Pitt out of the end zone and despite the Panthers getting inside the five, the Vikings led 14-8 at halftime. They would use the third quarter to pad their lead when Holmes found senior wideout Khari Pitts and junior Caleb Gooding on a pair of touchdown strikes.

A Justin Holloway one-yard rushing touchdown capped off the scoring with 6:41 left in the game. North Pitt would score late on a blocked field goal return, but the Vikings did enough damage to take the victory.

The Vikings offensive line, led by senior tackle Kaceion Williams, played a big role in the success of the passing game against North Pitt. After Holmes passed for 294 yards and two touchdowns in week one, he went 11-17 for 193 yards and four touchdowns on Friday.

“I’ve just been trying to encourage my teammates,” Williams said about the Vikings start to the season. “It’s a brotherhood at Kinston and we’re having fun playing this game. We want to take things one game at a time and hopefully bring some more hardware back here this year.”

Kinston will travel to face 0-2 Wilson Fike next Friday. 

KINSTON 35, NORTH PITT 16

NP          8              0              0              8 — 16

K             14           0              15           6 — 35 

First Quarter

K — Will London 36 pass from Demetri Holmes (Diego Patino kick), 9:13

NP — Alex Espinosa-Johnson 38 run (Travis Carmon run), 5:52

K — London 14 pass from Holmes (Patino kick), 2:00

Third Quarter

K — Khari Pitts 37 pass from Holmes (London run), 10:48

K — Caleb Gooding 25 passing Holmes (Patino kick), 3:39

Fourth Quarter

K — Justin Holloway 1 run (kick failed), 6:41

NP — Juqual Hyman 70 blocked field goal return (On’teds Harris run), :44

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