Firebirds double up Warriors in scorefest, 71-35 | The Enterprise
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Firebirds double up Warriors in scorefest, 71-35

Posted on March 27, 2021

SportsSchool Sports
Hunt's John Barnes (80) tries to bring down Southern Nash ball carrier Zyon Nicholson (24) during the second half of Friday's home game. The Firebirds won 71-35.

Amberleigh Dornseif | Special to The Enterprise

Hunt's John Barnes (80) tries to bring down Southern Nash ball carrier Zyon Nicholson (24) during the second half of Friday's home game. The Firebirds won 71-35.

Southern Nash freshman Jordan Vick carries the ball in between blockers Sammy Gandy (3) and Jackson Vick during the first half of Friday's home game against Hunt. The Firebirds won 71-35.

Amberleigh Dornseif | Special to The Enterprise

Southern Nash freshman Jordan Vick carries the ball in between blockers Sammy Gandy (3) and Jackson Vick during the first half of Friday's home game against Hunt. The Firebirds won 71-35.

Hunt's John Barnes (80) tries to bring down Southern Nash ball carrier Zyon Nicholson (24) during the second half of Friday's home game. The Firebirds won 71-35.

Amberleigh Dornseif | Special to The Enterprise

Hunt's John Barnes (80) tries to bring down Southern Nash ball carrier Zyon Nicholson (24) during the second half of Friday's home game. The Firebirds won 71-35.

Southern Nash freshman Jordan Vick carries the ball in between blockers Sammy Gandy (3) and Jackson Vick during the first half of Friday's home game against Hunt. The Firebirds won 71-35.

Amberleigh Dornseif | Special to The Enterprise

Southern Nash freshman Jordan Vick carries the ball in between blockers Sammy Gandy (3) and Jackson Vick during the first half of Friday's home game against Hunt. The Firebirds won 71-35.

Southern Nash High head coach Brian Foster could empathize with Hunt head coach Juan Jackson after Foster’s Firebirds scored two defensive touchdowns and returned two kickoffs for TDs in their 71-35 romp Friday at Firebird Stadium.

After all, Southern Nash, which improved to 2-3 overall and 2-1 in the 3-A Big East Conference, was coming off a loss at Northern Nash last week in which the Firebirds turned the ball over four straight times.

“What happened to us last week happened to them tonight,” Foster said. “They’re not that kind of team usually. They take care of the ball and play good defense. ... When it starts happening, it’s hard to stop.”

It was 14-14 with more than half the second quarter remaining when the Warriors (3-2, 1-2 Big East) had the ball near midfield. But a loose ball was plucked up by Firebirds defensive back Zyshonne Pearce and returned 60 yards to the end zone.

Then, right after Sammy Gandy’s 10-yard TD run put the Firebirds up 28-21 with 58 seconds to play in the half, more disaster struck for Hunt. Senior Isaiah Bland intercepted Warriors senior quarterback A.J. Kovach for a pick-six to push the Southern lead to 36-14 at halftime.

“Even though their record doesn’t reflect it, Southern Nash has gotten better each and every week,” Jackson said. “You can’t afford to make mistakes that cost you points and turnovers costing you points. With the offense that they run, you can’t afford to get down. If you’re up, you possibly force them out of their game plan.

“We (gave up) a pick-six and fumble recovery for a touchdown that swung the momentum drastically. Along with mishaps on special teams, especially with two kicks returned for long TDs.”

The giveaways, four total, and breakdowns negated what was a pretty good night for the Hunt offense against the Firebirds defense. The Warriors totaled 429 offensive yards to Southern Nash’s 314, all on the ground.

“I was not happy with defense tonight,” Foster admitted.

Junior C.J. Joyner ran for 198 yards and a trio of TDs for the Warriors while Kovach hooked up with Davon McKayhan for scoring passes in each half — 63 in the first quarter and 16 in the third.

Truthfully, the Firebirds needed all four of those special teams and defensive TDs, as it turned out.

After Joyner capped Hunt’s first drive with a five-yard scoring run, Daryl Taybron returned the kickoff 70 yards to the end zone. Junior Jackson Vick, who finished with 114 yards and two rushing TDs on 15 carries, had an 80-yard kickoff return TD in the second half. Vick was complemented in the backfield by junior Sammy Gandy, who ran for 115 yards on nine carries, including a 48-yard TD run to start the third-quarter scoring.

Freshman Jordan Vick, Jackson’s younger brother, got into the scoring action with a 13-yard TD run in the second quarter and finished with 33 yards on six carries.

“If you had told me last week we’d score that many points, I’d laugh at you,” Foster said.

Zyon Nicholson, who finished with 46 yards on the ground, ended the scoring, notching the game’s 15th TD with 5:18 remaining.

The loss crippled Hunt’s hopes of a Big East title with losses to Rocky Mount and Southern Nash, the two teams ahead of the Warriors in the standings.

“The Big East has a lot of parity this year, you have to be on your A game each and every week,” Jackson said. “No room for mistakes, miscues, and certainly not turnovers for scores.”

The Firebirds will host Rocky Mount next week while Hunt visits Franklinton.

Southern Nash 71

Hunt 35

H SN

First Downs 17 10

Yards rushing 304 314

Yards passing 125 0

Passes-Comp.-Int. 10-7-1 1-0-0

Punts-Average 3-30 0-0

Fumbles-Lost 5-2 1-1

Penalties-Yards 5-26 8-55

Score by quarters:

Hunt 14 7 14 0 35

Southern Nash 6 30 20 15 71

Scoring Summary:

H — Joyner 5 run (Aranda kick), 7:06, 1st.

SN — Taybron 70 kickoff return (kick failed), 6:54, 1st.

H — McKayhan 63 pass from Kovach (Aranda kick), 5:44, 1st.

SN — Jor. Vick 13 run (Raspberry run), 10:00, 2nd.

SN — Pearce 60 fumble return (Jac. Vick run), 7:49, 2nd.

H — Joyner 14 run (Aranda kick), 4:03, 2nd.

SN — Gandy 10 run (run failed), 0:58, 2nd.

SN — Bland 45 interception return (Raspberry run), 0:48, 2nd.

SN — Gandy 48 run (run failed), 10:12, 3rd.

H — McKayhan 16 pass from Kovach (kick failed), 8:26, 3rd.

SN — Jac. Vick 80 kickoff return (pass failed), 8:13, 3rd.

H — Joyner 9 run (Joyner run), 5:09, 3rd.

SN — Jac. Vick 20 run (Jac. Vick run), 2:50, 3rd.

SN — Jac. Vick 7 run (Jor. Vick run), 10:43, 4th.

SN — Nicholson 15 run (Wachowicz kick), 5:18, 4th.

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUNNING — Hunt: Malik Frails 4-23; C.J. Joyner 35-198, 3 TDs, 2-point run; A.J. Kovach 9-14; Lucas Robinson 2-22; Timire King 6-53; Team 1-minus 14. Southern Nash: Sammy Gandy 9-115, 2 TDs; Jackson Vick 15-114, 2 TDs, 2 2-point runs; Justin Braswell 2-9; Jordan Vick 6-33, TD, 2-point run; Chason Royal 1-minus 6; Zion Nicholson 6-46, TD; Jaquan Debro 1-3.

PASSING — Hunt: A.J. Kovach 10-7-1, 125 yards, 2 TDs. Southern Nash: Chason Royal 1-0-0.

RECEIVING — Hunt: Davon McKayhan 4-83, 2 TDs; Danny Phillips 3-42.

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