Hunt uses Rams turnovers to advance
Posted November 14, 2012
Updated November 17, 2012
Wilson, N.C. — The Hunt Warriors used an opportunistic defense to force five Cleveland turnovers, and the legs of Josh Joyner to advance to the Class 3-AA NCHSAA state football semifinals by defeating Cleveland 33-28 Friday night in Wilson.
Cleveland needed just two plays and 20 seconds to get the scoring started after Alex Raines returned the opening kickoff to the Hunt 34-yard line. Quarterback Aaron Farmer found Donqua Williams for a 22-yard touchdown and an early 7-0 Rams advantage.
The Warriors answered with a 12-play drive that was capped by a Josh Joyner 4-yard touchdown run, which was his first of three in the first half. Joyner, who finished the game with 131 yards rushing, punched in the Warriors second score of the evening with 2:11 to go in the first quarter from 1-yard out to give the Warriors a 14-7 lead.
On the ensuing drive, the Hunt defense began to earn its keep. A high snap went off the hands of Aaron Farmer, and was recovered by the Warriors' Javis Neal Hill at the Cleveland 21-yard line. Hunt used the good field position to give Joyner his third score of the game, and a 21-7 lead early in the second quarter.
After a fake punt attempt by Hunt failed, Cleveland used the short field to trim the Hunt lead to 21-14 with a 1-yard touchdown run by Issac Martin with 3:45 to go before halftime.
Cleveland then drove the ball deep into Hunt territory, but Justin Jefferson picked off an Aaron Farmer pass, and rumbled all the way down to the Cleveland 16-yard line. The interception return set up a 33-yard Bryan Orellana field goal as time expired on the first half to give Hunt the 24-14 halftime advantage.
The third quarter was quiet offensively after some halftime defensive adjustments by both clubs.
However, Cleveland used the big play that has been so good to them all season to trim the lead to 24-21. Donqua Williams caught an Aaron Farmer pass, and rolled 45 yards down the sideline to pay dirt. The Rams used another big play as time expired in the third after another Bryan Orellana field goal. Issac Martin, who finished the night with 169 rushing yards, left would-be tacklers in the dust en route to a 56-yard touchdown run, and a 28-27 Cleveland lead.
The fourth quarter belonged to the home standing Hunt Warriors and their defense.
With 9:47 to go in the game Hunt quarterback Daniel Westbrook found Kentrell Brown from 18 yards out for the 33-28 lead. Cleveland was its own worst enemy down the stretch as two option plays saw the pigskin on the turf, and a Hunt Warrior recovering it.
Despite all the turnovers Cleveland still had an opportunity to win the ball game after taking over with 1:55 remaining at their own 20-yard line. Aaron Farmer converted two fourth downs to Andrew Daughtry on the final drive, and completed a 20-yard pass to Donqua Williams to give the Rams the ball first and 10 at the Hunt 17 with 9 seconds remaining. After a Farmer pass fell incomplete, the Rams had time for one more play. Farmer would throw the ball to Donqua Williams who then attempted a pass into the end zone for the win, but Malik Williams batted it down as the clock struck zeros.
The win advances Hunt to the 3-AA semifinals against Northern Guilford. Both teams will enter the game 13-0 next week. The loss ends Cleveland’s season at 11-2.