Edenton routs Lakewood; Tarboro next w/Video
John A. Holmes 49 Lakewood 7
By Malcolm Shields
Sunday, November 26, 2017
EDENTON — From the opening kickoff, the John A. Holmes football team set the tone against Lakewood on Friday night.
With a difficult to contain rushing attack combined with a swarming defense, the Aces punched their ticket to the 1AA East Regional Final with a 49-7 victory against Lakewood in the third round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 1AA state playoffs.
With the win, Edenton (12-1) the No. 2 seed in the 1AA East, will travel to the region’s top seed, Tarboro (13-0), for the East Regional Final this Friday.
Tarboro defeated No. 5 seed West Montgomery 48-3 on Friday night to advance to the final.
Friday’s game was the home finale for the Aces.
“I thought our kids played really hard,” John A. Holmes head coach Paul Hoggard said. “We were really physical. I think that really helped us get going and take control of the game. We were able to control the game throughout.”
Edenton took control of the game for good with a 35-point onslaught in the second quarter to take a 42-0 lead at halftime.
Spearheading the offensive attack for John A. Holmes were running backs Keimon Bailey and Dequantae Spruill.
The senior backfield combined for five rushing touchdowns to power the Aces back to a East Regional Final for the second consecutive season.
Spruill tallied three rushing scores, while Bailey had two touchdown runs.
Spruill gave Edenton a 7-0 lead after breaking a 73-yard run down the Holmes sideline and out-sprinting the Leopards to the end zone.
Spruill added scoring runs of 29 and 22 yards in the second quarter.
Spruill said that it felt good to score, but gave credit to his offensive line.
“I’m proud of my boys for blocking for me,” he said.
Spruill had six carries for 132 yards, while Bailey posted 15 carries for 166 yards.
The Edenton faithful saw a rare occurrence in the first half: the Aces punting the football.
Hoggard gave credit to Lakewood for showing different formations on defense.
“I thought our kids did a great job of adjusting to it,” Hoggard said.
Defensively, the Aces forced three turnovers in the contest, but the biggest one occurred in the first quarter after an Aces turnover.
Up 7-0, the Aces lost a fumble on a standout effort by Leopards’ Dylan Ivey, who, while engaged in a block, knocked the Edenton pitch attempt on a running play to the ground.
That allowed Lakewood’s Tristan Holmes to recover the fumble in Edenton territory.
Two plays later, Edenton’s Kel Boston recovered a Lakewood fumble.
Edenton’s Tim White recovered a fumble, while Kentreaz Coston reeled in an interception in the second quarter.
Both scores led to points, as Bailey cashed in Coston’s pick with a 34-yard touchdown run.
White’s fumble led to a Mitjonta Stanley 21-yard touchdown pass to Zion Boston with 41 seconds remaining in the second quarter to put Edenton up 42-0.
Along with the TD pass, Stanley, a sophomore, ran for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Along with forcing a running clock to start the second half, the Edenton defense pitched another shutout into the fourth quarter.
With reserves in the game, Lakewood, from Salemburg, sustained a drive and scored on a 5-yard run by junior running back Jahdon Smith.
After Smith tallied over 275 yards with three scores against East Carteret in the second round last week, the Aces defense held Smith and the Lakewood offense to 81 total yards.
Sixty-five of those yards came on the last drive of game when Edenton had its reserves in the contest.
“Defensively, we were lights out,” Hoggard said.
Hoggard noted the accomplishment of returning to a second consecutive East Regional Final was awesome.
The coach added that he told his team leading up to the Lakewood game it’s a mark of a great program to be playing on the week of Thanksgiving along with being one of the few teams left in the playoffs.
“We are very thankful to be part of that group,” Hoggard said.