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Warriors fall to Rocky Mount Academy

MERRY HILL – It was “Kid’s Night” — and the kids’ all right.

The Lawrence Academy Warriors — in one of their more impressive offensive performances of the season — fell to Rocky Mount Academy, 62-28, as the Eagles utilized a ball-control ground game throughout the contest but also scored twice on kick returns for touchdowns.

Senior Keith Thompson rushed for 172 yards on 19 carries and had 54 yards receiving, including a touchdown. Junior quarterback Blake Hill passed for 153 yards, throwing a pair of touchdowns and running for two more. Junior Shane Leggett had 62 yards receiving and a touchdown catch.

“Leggett, Thompson, and Stevens played great for us tonight,” said coach Mike Dail after the game. “Blake had another night of running for his life but he showed a lot of character and a lot of heart, and I can’t say enough about the play of our offensive line.”

“Unfortunately,” he said with a shrug, “if we could play defense, we could play with the best of ’em.”

The Warriors surrendered over 630 yards to the Eagles.

Senior Creighton Hayworth opened the game by taking the opening kickoff 63 yards for a touchdown, and the extra point made it 8-0 Rocky Mount before eight seconds had run off the clock and the Lawrence fans had hardly made themselves warm in their seats on the chilly night. Hayworth had a big night against Lawrence as in addition to a kickoff return and a punt return for a pair of scores, he passed for two more touchdowns and ran for two more as well.

The Eagles took advantage of their experience and their speed and scored three times in the first quarter to take a 22-0 lead after the first twelve minutes of play.

It was 30-0 in the second quarter when Lawrence finally got on the board, going 67 yards in six plays. The drive was highlighted by a spectacular 61-yard run by Thompson who took a pitch at his own 34 yard line, squirmed thru the grasp of three Eagle defenders and then almost outraced the Rocky Mount defensive backs before he was brought down just short of the goal line at the 5. Three plays later, Hill made a play-fake and wove his way up the middle into the end-zone for Lawrence’s first score of the night and with the conversion it was 30-8.

Rocky Mount came back to score again and push the lead to 38-8, but on their next series Lawrence found the end zone again.

On the second play from scrimmage at his own 43-yard line Hill reversed his field on a run and gestured downfield where he had seen that Thompson had beaten the defense. Hill then launched a rifle shot that Thompson cradled softly in his hands and sprinted the rest of the way to the end-zone sending the crowd of over 200 into a wild frenzy of celebration. The point-after attempt failed but made the score, 38-14.

Rocky Mount scored again and Lawrence was driving once more with time running down in the quarter before failing to score and the teams went into the locker-room with Rocky Mount leading 46-14.

The Eagles scored once in the third quarter to lead it 54-14 going into the fourth. Lawrence scored then scored twice more, but it was sandwiched between Hayworth’s second kick return for a score as he returned a punt 77 yards for a score.

Lawrence scored first in the quarter when Hill went in from five yards out to cap a long drive, and they got their final score of the night as time expired when Leggett hauled in a Hill pass as time ran out.

“”They’ve got some players who’re gonna be good,” complimented veteran Rocky Mount coach Mac Allen. “I can see them turning it around in about another year or so.”

“But we had a lot more speed,” he added with a grin, “and while we won’t always run 60 yards for a score like we did a couple of time tonight, we’ll take it.”

“They’re fast, have good fundamentals, and are well-coached,” said Dail as he nodded toward the Rocky Mount locker room. “Their quarterback and tailback are seniors and real good leaders.”

Rocky Mount raised their record to 5-2, having lost to only Trinity and Northeast. Lawrence falls to 2-5 after their latest setback and will entertain Halifax Academy next Friday night in Merry Hill with a 7:30 PM start.

“It’ll be homecoming,” said Dail with a wink, “and we want to put on a good show.”