BY JOHN H. WALKER
LEGGETT — North Edgecombe's Warriors had some big plays here Friday night during Homecoming 2013, just not enough of them in a game of big plays.
North had two long kickoff returns for touchdowns, and a goal line stand, but it wasn’t enough as the Warriors (4-4, 1-2) fell 42-14 to Northampton (8-1, 3-0) in Two Rivers Conference play.
The problem, as Coach Keith Parisher told his team in its post-game meeting, was the inability of the team to stay focused.
“We saw this in practice Wednesday,” he said. “We do well for a while, then we lose focus. That’s what happened tonight.”
The Warriors entered the game at less than full strength, losing running back Antwoin Pittman to a shoulder injury during Wednesday’s practice.
“He said he was good to go,” Parisher said. “But I didn’t want to take a chance. He’s a sophomore and has a good future.”
It didn’t take long for the Warriors to find themselves in a hole, courtesy of a season-long nemesis — arm-tackling.
Starting on their own 33, Northampton’s Jaguars needed mere seconds to take the
lead when quarterback Keion Crossen ran the option keeper right, turning the corner untouched for 67 yards and the score. Fisher McInville’s kick made the score 7-0 with 11:43 left in the first quarter.
Crossen’s run was a sign of things to come, as he gained 202 yards and scored three touchdowns on 13 carries. On the night, Crossen had six runs of 10 yards or more, including scores of 67, 29 and 34 yards.
Fullback Christian Boone, a 5-8, 190-pound bowling ball of a player, teamed with
Crossen, adding 147 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries. While Boone’s scores were from nine, seven and four-yards out, he had seven carries of 10 yards or more, including runs of 29, 26, 28 and 22 yards.
North gave up another score on a 10-play, 67-yard drive that was capped by a nine-yard run off right tackle by Boone, who ran over two Warriors on the way to the end zone. North blocked McInville’s PAT to leave the score at 13-0 with 3:35 left in the first quarter.
It was at that point that the game took a tit-for-tat appearance when Jarius Collins took the ensuing kickoff and outraced the defense down the right sideline for an 83-yard touchdown. A failed conversion left the score at 13-6 with 3:24 left in the quarter.
Northampton answered quickly, taking advantage of a 34-yard kickoff return to set up a five play scoring drive, capped by a seven-yard run by Boone with 1:25 left in the first quarter.
Boone would add a second-quarter touchdown to send the Jaguars to the locker room with a 29-6 lead.
The night’s big play theme continued in the second half as Jacoby Bullock took the
opening kickoff on the 11 and shot straight upfield, breaking an arm tackle about
midfield for an 89-yard touchdown. A conversion run made the score 29-14 with only 14 seconds gone in the half.
Northampton added two more scores to grab the win.
North Edgecombe plays at South Creek (1-7, 0-3) on Friday. South Creek lost Friday 38-16 to Rocky Mount Prep. Northampton is at Tarboro in a showdown for the conference lead and likely championship.