East tops West for ‘Kings’ title

Published 2:31 pm Saturday, September 26, 2009

CREEKSVILLE – Until further notice, the “Kings of the County” attend Northampton-East High School.

However, had it not been for two costly fumbles inside the red zone, including one within the shadow of the East endzone, the “Kings” could have been those who walk the school hallways in Gaston.

LaQuan Jacobs scored on a 57-yard run with 9:08 left in Friday’s game, breaking a 13-13 stalemate and lifting Northampton-East to a 21-13 win over rival Northampton-West during the annual “Kings of the County” game.

“We’re heading to Murfreesboro right now for some free burgers and fries at Andy’s,” said a happy East coach Greg Watford, making reference to the offer from the restaurant to feed the winning team after the contest.

Returning his focus to the game, Watford said he was proud of his young men.

“We bent at times, but didn’t break,” Watford noted. “Ours is a young football team, just like coach (Diego) Hasty has over at West. We were able to hit a couple of big plays at just the right time to win this thing.”

None proved to be bigger than Jacob’s game-winning touchdown.

Taking over at their own 19 yardline after East defender Tony Sledge recovered a West fumble, the Rams quickly got things going with a 23-yard run by Jacobs, who finished the night with 101 rushing yards. Three plays later, Jacobs took a toss sweep to the right, cut back to the middle of the field and was off to the races, rambling 57 yards for what later proved as the game-winner.

On the PAT kick attempt, the snap was high, causing the holder (Rams quarterback Phillip Dickens) to scramble. He turned, squaring his shoulders towards the endzone and dove in for the two points.

The Hurricanes had two possessions down the stretch, but could never penetrate deeper than the East 45 yardline.

West did get off to a fast start. The Hurricanes took the opening kick-off and, using the strong running of Marvin Rawles and Matthew Peebles, set sail on an eight-play, 53-yard drive capped by a one-yard TD blast by Peebles. James Johnson booted the PAT, staking the visitors to a 7-0 lead at the 8:31 mark of the first quarter.

East tied the contest at 7-7 with 92 seconds left in the opening period. That score was set-up by Hyshawn Hewett’s blocked punt that gave the Rams the ball at the West 21 yardline. After a five-yard penalty, Dickens tossed a 26-yard TD pass to Je’wan Boone. Chris Vergas booted the game-tying PAT.

West broke that tie just prior to the midway point of the second quarter. There, two runs each by Rawles and Peebles accounted for all 63 yards of a four-play drive that ended with Rawles scoring from 25 yards out. The PAT kick failed, leaving the ‘Canes with a 13-7 halftime lead.

The Peebles (21 carries, 134 yards) and Rawles (17-104) combo combined for 238 of the 249 rushing yards collected by West.

East tied the game on its first possession of the second half, driving 64 yards in five plays. The big play of that march came on a 50-yard TD run by Boone, but the PAT kick sailed under the crossbar, leaving the two rivals deadlocked at 13-13 with 9:05 left in the third quarter.

West answered with a long drive of their own, marching 67 yards in 10 plays. However, the ‘Canes coughed-up the pigskin at the Rams six yardline, a fumble recovered by East.

Northampton-East (2-4 overall; 1-0 in league action) will visit Tar-Roanoke Conference foe Gates County next Friday (Oct. 2).

West (2-3;0-1) will host North Edgecombe in a league game on Oct. 2.