By VAN HOLLAND
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
ROBERSONVILLE – North Edgecombe controlled their own destiny Friday night heading into the game against the South Creek Cougars. Playing without starting quarterback Jacoby Bullock, who is suspended for two games and losing sophomore running back Antwoin Pittman in the first quarter after his fourth carry, the Warriors maintained control and got the job done with other players who stepped up and gave positive production. The Warriors defeated South Creek 24-6 in wet, soggy and slippery conditions.
With the Warriors (5-4, 2-2) looking elsewhere for offensive production, it didn't take Coach Keith Parisher long to find it. When Parisher gave sophomore Jarius Collins the ball on his first carry, he hit the left sideline and went untouched for a 65-yard touchdown and gave the Warriors a 6-0 lead. On Collins' second carry, he busted up the middle on a power play and rambled 49 yards for his second score and gave the Warriors a 12-0 lead.
"Jarius has always been able to run the ball hard," Parisher said. "He was our other starting halfback at the beginning of the season, but started missing a couple of practices and someone took his position so he's had to earn his way back into the lineup."
Collins definitely earned his spot back after his performance, because he rushed for 229 yards on just 13 carries and scored three times.
The Warriors were able to muster 346 yards on the ground. Their defense made a statement as well when they held South Creek to just 160 yards of offense and had an impressive goal line stand in the fourth quarter.
After Brandon Battle connected with Rondrell Andrews on a 21-yard TD pass with 12 seconds left in the third quarter, the Warriors made their only costly mistake of the game. They fumbled the ensuing kickoff at the Cougars 48-yard line, which gave the Cougars good field position and the momentum.
The Warriors defense stood their ground on a four straight plays on a goal-line stand and forced the Cougars to turn the ball over on downs at the four-yard line.
"The past couple of games we've been waiting around for others to make the plays," Parisher said. "Tonight was different, because we had 11 players going to the football. We moved some people around and it made a difference."
Warriors quarterback Rodney Conyers gained a first down on the ensuing possession and then Collins hit the seam on an 85-yard TD run that put the game away for good.
Conyers was at quarterback, because of Bullock's two-game suspension, which was handed down after he was ejected at the end of the Northampton game. He will also have to miss the Tarboro game Friday.
Conyers stepped in and did his job and guided the offense like he hadn't missed a beat. Conyers rushed for 40 yards and scored a TD in the third quarter.
"Rodney did a good job overall running the offense for us," Parisher said. "We have known all along he could play the position. I was just surprised at how well our timing was by switching quarterbacks, because Jacoby is quicker with the ball and Rodney is a little more patient."
North Edgecombe will host Tarboro Friday night in Leggett in the season finale.