09/09/18 — PREP FOOTBALL: Saints topple Hawks, end long skid on gridiron

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PREP FOOTBALL: Saints topple Hawks, end long skid on gridiron

By NeuseNews
Published in Sports on September 9, 2018 3:05 AM

(Editor's note: Story provided to News-Argus by Bryan Hanks of the NeuseNews)

La GRANGE--The streak is over.

Southern Wayne ended an 18-game skid that dated back to a forfeit win against Charles B. Aycock on Sept. 30, 2016, with a 32-28 victory at North Lenoir on Friday night.

Two touchdowns in the final 1:48 pushed the Saints to the victory.

North Lenoir led 28-20 with 2:23 remaining in regulation before a two-play drive that consisted of a 22-yard run by Demetric Wright and a 30-yard touchdown run by DeAndre Wright brought the Saints to within 28-26 with 1:48 remaining.

With no timeouts remaining in their arsenal, the Saints were forced to attempt an onside kick -- and it was successful.

"We knew we had to have it," Saints coach Ronnie McClary Jr. said. "I told them at halftime if they wanted to win, they had to go out and get it, and they went and got it."

DeAndre Wright ran for 11 yards and a first down before a penalty -- Southern Wayne's 24th of the game -- backed the football up 5 yards. After a Demetric Wright completed pass to Tashawn Philips, Wright scampered 37 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 31 seconds showing on the clock.

North Lenoir (0-3 overall) had four plays to go 57 yards after the ensuing kickoff, but was unable to score.

NL coach Jim Collins didn't allow his team to shake hands with the Saints after the game due to a Southern Wayne assistant coach touching one of the Hawks' players during a heated moment in the second half.

"A grown man shouldn't grab one of my kids," Collins said. "I sent a message over to their sideline to let them know we wouldn't be shaking their hands after the game. That set a bad tone in the second half."

McClary Jr. was proud of his team's effort following the game.

"We got the hump off our back," McClary Jr. said. "The kids played the game and this is all because of them. ... We've been trying to change the culture of the program and this is a step in the right direction. We're not surprised that we won, because we know we have the athletes who can do it. We've just needed to get to the point of believing in ourselves and each other.

"This might be that pivotal point where we've finally changed the culture of our program."

Southern Wayne finished with 261 yards of offense, but also lost 188 yards due to 24 penalties. Demetric Wright and DeAndre Wright each scored twice on rushes; the pair also combined to rush 22 times for 137 yards while Demetric Wright threw for 66 more.

Three Hawks -- Onassis Gardner, Terrance Copper and Christian Young -- scored rushing touchdowns while Young threw a TD pass to Ny'Jai Koonce. Gardner finished with a game-high 144 yards on 18 carries while Young threw for 76 yards on seven completions.

Despite the loss, Collins said there were positives for his team.

"Our effort was there; we just need to clean up some things," Collins said. "We've got to score when we're given the chance to score.

"But my hat's off to [Southern Wayne]; their kids played hard and they did what they had to do to win."