Article and photo from Laieke Abebe
Despite a great start against North Lenoir, Southern Wayne was unable to keep pace.
The Saints couldn’t stop a potent rushing attack from the Hawks and fell 44-24 on Friday evening in Wheat Swamp. Coming off their first win in two years at Goldsboro last week, Ronnie McClary’s squad falls back under .500.
“We stayed positive throughout that game and we moved the ball well,” McClary said. “Defensively, we had a good game plan, but we didn’t execute and [North Lenoir running back Jaden Kilpatrick] had a big game. When we did our job the right way, we were successful especially in the first half.”
Despite giving up an early score, the Saints responded with a Josh Kearney 40-yard touchdown pass to Dalton Kornegay to tie it at six. Then, North Lenoir’s Kilpatrick came back with a 57-yard score to begin a stretch of three touchdowns in 30 seconds.
Jeffrey Idoris hit on a 60-yard kickoff return score to bring the Saints back within two. After forcing a punt, Southern Wayne’s Markowan Smith added a 35-yard score to give the Saints the lead.
The Saints would force a turnover on downs and then Wadshon Pierre-Louis ran for a 60-yard score to make it 24-14. From there, the Hawks would close the half with a flourish.
After another Kilpatrick house call, the Saints punted and gave North Lenoir a chance to score before the half. Treshad Lynch found Kane Moore for a seven-yard touchdown with less than a minute to go in the second quarter giving the Hawks a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
North Lenoir (3-0) would outscore Southern Wayne (1-2), 16-0 in the second half keeping the Hawks undefeated. Kilpatrick ran for 319 yards for the home team, and the Saints seemed to have no answers for him.
After three non-conference games to begin the season, Southern Wayne heads into a brand new conference slate. The Saints will face East Wake in their 3A Quad County opener next week in Dudley.
“We scheduled these three games to see where we’re at,” McClary said. “The three teams we’ve played so far are playoff-caliber teams and we’ll be seeing a lot of teams like that in this conference. That means we’ve got to execute better defensively going forward.”