KINSTON — The No. 1 seed Vikings of Kinston jumped out to a 19-0 lead in the first quarter of Friday’s Class 2-A playoff against visiting West Bladen and went on to post a 59-28 win to end the Knights’ season.
No. 16-seed West Bladen finishes 5-7, while Kinston moves on with a 12-0 record.
While the high-powered Vikings’59 points is hardly anything new for a team that had put up 448 points over 11 games coming in, the 28 points scored by the Knights is more of a story since Kinston had only allowed 120 previously.
The Vikings scored on their first three possessions to build 19-0 advantage, but West Bladen didn’t fold.
The Knights marched 55 yards on nine plays early in the second quarter, with De’quan Lennon finishing the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. Ray Jones booted the extra point to pull West Bladen to within 19-7.
After a Kinston fumble that Idris Njeeullah fell on for the Knights, West Bladen couldn’t take advantage and the ensuing punt was returned for a touchdown. The Vikings then scored on their next two possessions to open a 40-7 lead with 3 minutes to play in the first half.
West Bladen managed to put together another 55-yard march, this time using 10 plays and finding pay dirt with just 33 seconds left before intermission when quarterback Stefan McDonald hit Lennon with an 18-yard touchdown pass. Jones booted the PAT to make the score 40-14 at halftime.
The Knights received the second half’s opening kickoff and put together a 73-yard drive on 17 plays that ate up 7:46 — highlighted by a fourth-down conversion and a 2-yard touchdown run by Malique McDowell. Jones kicked the point after to bring the Knights to within 40-21 with 4:14 left in the third quarter.
Kinston responded with a quick-strike touchdown to widen the lead to 47-21, but the Knights answered with a 10-yard touchdown run by Lennon. Jones’ kick inched West Bladen to within 47-28.
The Vikings tacked on a touchdown late in the third quarter, then added another score in the fourth quarter to seal the 31-point win.
McDowell led the Knights’ ground game with 133 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries, while Lennon added 84 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. Through the air, McDonald was 1-for-5 with an interception, but his one completion was the 18-yard touchdown to Lennon.