Lawrence claims state play-off berth

Published 1:39 am Saturday, October 23, 2010

MERRY HILL – On Senior Night it was a sophomore that stole the show.

Lawrence Academy sophomore quarterback Jesse White threw for 326 yards and seven touchdowns here Friday night to lead the Warriors to a 52-34 win over Hobgood Academy.

With the win in their regular season finale, the Warriors (2-7) nailed down the eighth and final berth in the NCISAA 8-man football state play-offs. Lawrence will travel to Raleigh next Friday (Oct. 29) to face top-ranked and unbeaten Word of God School.

While a tough task looms on the horizon, the Warriors can celebrate the present and they can thank a career night from their sophomore signal-caller, who finished 14-of-22 through the airwaves and, more importantly, did not throw an interception.

Nursing a slim 24-20 halftime lead, White and the Warriors were able to score twice over a span of 99 seconds to open the third quarter and gain some breathing room on the scoreboard.

After a failed onsides kick by the visiting Raiders, Lawrence set-up shop at the Hobgood 48 yardline. From there, White connected with Cade Larabee for 19 yards and  then an eight-yarder to Scott Dunlow. A 12-yard run by Travis Whitehead put the ball at the nine, setting up a beautifully executed run fake that resulted in White hitting a wide-open Clint Thompson in the endzone. The conversion run failed, but Lawrence had extended their lead to 30-20 at the 10:36 mark of the third quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff (a hard line drive to Hobgood’s front wall of blockers), the ball popped free and Hunter Askew recovered for the Warriors.

Highlighted by a 35-yard run from Whitehead, Lawrence drove 47 yards in four plays capped by White’s eight-yard TD pass to Larabee as the Warriors padded their lead to 38-20 with 8:47 left in the third period.

After a key defensive stand by the Warriors (halting Hobgood’s ensuing possession on loss of downs at the home team’s 34 yardline), Lawrence turned to their ground game to wear down the Raiders.

Runs from Whitehead, Dunlow and Larabee (the latter a 37-yard blast on a 4th-and-1 play), quickly moved the Warriors downfield. It also set-up another play-action pass where White tossed a nine-yard TD pass to Dunlow. White ran in the conversion for a commanding 46-20 lead with 11:53 left in the fourth quarter.

White polished off his seven-touchdown night with a 53-yard scoring bomb to Luke Leary with 2:48 left in the game.

Both teams were quick out of the starting gate.

Hobgood scored on the game’s third snap where John Harrell tossed a 65-yard TD pass to John Peele. Peele added the conversion run for an 8-0 Hobgood lead with the game less than two minutes old.

On the ensuing kickoff, Colby Davenport fielded the ball at his own 20 and was off to the races – zipping 80 yards to paydirt. The conversion failed.

Peele, the game’s leading rusher with 107 yards on 14 carries, scored again on a five-yard run early in the second quarter that staked Hobgood to a 14-6 lead.

Lawrence rallied behind White’s strong arm…first with a 12-yard TD pass to Larabee (on a drive highlighted by an outstanding diving catch by Leary of a 38-yard pass); a 15-yard scoring strike to Thompson; and a 28-yard paydirt pass to Larabee as the Warriors led 24-14 late in the second quarter.

Hobgood closed to 24-20 thanks to an 85-yard kickoff return by Peele.

Lawrence finished with 498 total yards. Whitehead (6 carries, 59 yards), Dunlow (7-43) and Larabee (4-43) led the Warriors ground game.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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