Complete team effort leads South Lenoir past Spring Creek
South Lenoir sophomore Joseph Cobb leaves a Spring Creek defender in the dirt during Friday’s 49-14 win in Deep Run. Photo by Linda Whittington / Neuse News
DEEP RUN — It all came together quite nicely for South Lenoir Friday night.
The Blue Devils football team was successful in literally every facet of its performance in a 49-14 victory against Spring Creek at Salter Stadium. South Lenoir led 35-0 at the half, forced a running clock with 2:25 remaining in the third quarter and dominated the Gators to improve to 2-2.
“We played very well tonight,” SL coach Jeremy Joyner said. “It was a pretty good night of football for South Lenoir.”
It didn’t take long for the Blue Devils to take control of the game. After forcing a Spring Creek fumble that was recovered by SL sophomore linebacker Kodjo Missebukpo, the Blue Devils embarked on a 10-play, 61-yard drive that consumed nearly six minutes of the clock and ended with a 20-yard touchdown run by Missebukpo with 4:30 left in the first quarter.
After forcing a Gators punt, the Blue Devils scored again with 1:59 left in the period on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by sophomore Jon Howard. South Lenoir closed the scoring in the quarter when sophomore free safety Joseph Cobb returned a fumble 20 yards for a touchdown and a 19-0 lead.
Cobb wasn’t done. He returned a punt 35 yards for a touchdown with 6:20 remaining in the first half and a 27-0 lead and caught a 14-yard pass from Howard for South Lenoir’s final touchdown that forced the running clock in the third quarter.
South Lenoir completely had its way on offense against Spring Creek, rolling to 408 yards of offense. The one-two rushing punch of Missebukpo and junior running back Xavier Mitchell were particularly effective as the former finished with 157 yards rushing on 14 carries and the latter added 145 yards on seven hauls.
“(Mitchell) is coming along fine in this offense and plays well defensively,” Joyner said. “Some nights he has it more nights than others but he’s been a very good football player for us.”
Howard completed 8-of-14 passes for 96 yards, including touchdown passes to Jonathan Haddock and Cobb.
Spring Creek, which fell to 1-4 with the loss and 2-13 all-time against South Lenoir, was mostly ineffective on offense until late in the game. The Gators, which fumbled away the ball three times in the first half, finished with 231 yards of offense and were led by Kaden Jones. The junior was responsible for both Gators’ touchdowns and led Spring Creek in rushing (44 yards on nine carries and a TD), completed 3-of-5 passes for 79 yards and a touchdown and even caught a pass for 8 yards.
The Blue Devils now turn their attention to league play as they’ll open the Eastern Carolina 2A portion of their schedule when they travel to Vanceboro next week to face West Craven.
“I’m very, very proud of where we’re at,” Joyner said. “We took some major steps forward tonight and it was more than just the scoreboard to me. As a team, we cheered for each other and we worked hard and played hard.”
South Lenoir 49, Spring Creek 14
SC 0 0 6 8 — 14
SL 19 16 14 0 — 49
SL—Kodjo Missebukpo 20 run (Missebukpo kick), 4:30
SL—Jon Howard 1 run (kick failed), 1:59
SL—Joseph Cobb 20 fumble return (kick failed), 0:25
SL—Cobb 35 punt return (Cannon Davis run), 6:20
SL—Jonathan Haddock 27 pass from Howard (Missebukpo run), 0:02
SL—Xavier Mitchell 10 run (kick failed), 6:38
SC—Josiah Salo-Harris 19 pass from Kaden Jones (pass failed), 4:12
SL—Cobb 14 pass from Howard (Missebukpo run), 2:25
SC—Jones 17 run (Israel Graham run), 10:47
First downs 11 17
Rushes 29-66 33-312
Passing 7-14-1 8-14-0
Passing yards 165 96
Total yards 231 408
Punts 3-23.0 0-0
Fumbles/Lost 5-3 2-1
Penalties 2-16 3-45
Rushing — Spring Creek: Kaden Jones 9-44, Israel Graham 7-15, Logan Pollock 2-12, Maxx Williams 2-6, T.J. Johnson 2-1, Lucas Barfield 7-(minus-22). South Lenoir: Kodjo Missebukpo 14-157, Xavier Mitchell 7-145, Joseph Cobb 3-29, Nate Sein 1-0, Jordan Sutton 1-(minus-4), Jon Howard 7-(minus-15).
Passing — SC: Barfield 4-9-1, 86; Jones 3-5-0, 79. SL: Howard 8-14-0, 96.
Receiving — SC: Johnson 2-80, Tyrese Artis 3-58, Josiah Salo-Harris 1-19, Jones 1-8. SL: Cobb 5-48, Jonathan Haddock 2-38, Cannon Davis 1-10.