The Southern Nash Firebirds dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball Friday night. That ruined SouthWest Edgecombe first-year coach, Jonathan Cobb's varsity debut. The Firebirds used the same play continuously to move down the field. They pounded out 347 yards of offense, compared to the Cougars 265.
Southern Nash defeated SouthWest 27-14.
"They beat us upfront all night and wore us down as the game went on," Cobb said. "We have to work our way into football shape and I think we will be fine."
SouthWest (0-1) was held to just 31 total yards of offense in the first half. The second half was a different story and they finally scored in the third quarter after trailing 14-0.
The bright spot for the Cougars was fullback Devontrell Hyman and quarterback Quay Wooten. Hyman rushed for 139 yards on 14 carries and scored on a 43-yard TD run. Wooten was 7 for 14, passing for 101 yards. He was also intercepted.
Southern Nash took advantage of opportunities in the second quarter and scored twice in the final eight minutes of the half. Quarterback Deon Lavender threw a TD pass and Clinton Whitaker scored from seven yards out on the ground.
The Cougars scored their first TD on the Wooten punt return with 6:23 left in the third quarter.
After the score, SouthWest forced the Firebirds to fumble and Quatavious Harris recovered it. The Cougars put a drive together that was stalled at the Firebirds 36-yard line. The Cougars had chances during that drive to make something happen and tie the game up, but Wooten failed to find the open receiver twice during that series.
"We have good, young skilled players who I think will help us a lot this season if we can get the ball to them," Cobb said. "We have to find the open guys."
Southern Nash answered on the ensuing possession and took the 20-7 lead after Whitaker punched it in from 2-yards out.
After SouthWest turned the ball over for the second time, Lanveder connected for another TD pass.
After the score, Cobb told his entire team to come to the sideline. He told them they weren't going to give up and quit fighting and to stay focused.
"I am proud of our effort because we never gave up," Cobb said. "We fought the whole time but obviously we didn't do as well offensively as we wanted too. We didn't finish drives where I thought we could have scored."
Cobb was concerned about his offensive and defensive lines, because they were blown off the line of scrimmage most of the night. Numerous players had to step in for starters, because of cramps.
"We are young and thin on the offensive line," Cobb said. "I am proud of the guys who went in there and stepped up. I think this team has a high potential and we will see good things to come."
Cobb was pleased with his team's overall defensive performance.
"You can't expect to hold Southern Nash to a goose egg," Cobb said. "They have a great front line and my hat is off to coach Brian Foster."
SouthWest will now gear up for county rival North Edgecombe. The two will meet Friday in Pinetops.