Southern Durham’s 13-0 win over Northern wasn’t pretty. But, thanks to two opportune touchdowns and some stellar, swarming defense, the Spartans escaped their rival Friday night and moved to 4-1.
After the shutout win, Southern Durham players broke out into joyful dances and backflips on their side of the field. As their head coach, Darius Robinson, watched them, he couldn’t help but shake his head and smile.
“I’m happy for the school,” Robinson said. “I’m happy for the community. I’m definitely happy for these kids, because they did all the work.”
In the second quarter, Southern Durham got a massive run on a shotgun sweep by Sincere Lecraft on third and 6. Soon after, junior quarterback Omari Smith saw Jawalace Holmes streaking down the right side of the field and let it fly.
The sophomore receiver slowed down for a brief second, caught the pass and dragged his toes in the corner of the end-zone for the go-ahead score with 1:13 left in the first half.
After a scoreless third quarter, Smith led a dagger of a drive, at one spinning to his left and avoiding three Northern defenders to pick up a first down. On another sweep run, Lecraft found room outside before patiently cutting back in for Southern’s second touchdown of the night at Durham County Memorial Stadium.
“He’s just a kid that can do whatever you ask him to do,” Robinson said of Lecraft. “He can score touchdowns, make first downs, go over there and play defense … I pray that somebody realizes he can play on the next level and gives him a chance.”
Northern’s defense put up a valiant effort, almost logging a first-quarter safety, but the Knights’ run-heavy offense did nothing. The best stretch came in the first quarter, when Javion Hart had a rushing touchdown that was called back on a holding penalty.
Records: Southern Durham 4-1, Northern 3-2.
Three who mattered
Sincere Lecraft, Southern Durham: The senior running back came up exactly when the Spartans needed him. Lecraft set up his team’s first touchdown of the game and scored its second.
Omari Smith, Southern Durham: The quarterback played with poise on a sloppy night for both teams. Although his stats didn’t pop, he was key on both touchdown drives.
Anthony Freeman, Northern Durham: The junior running back, who also plays linebacker, was a lone bright spot for the Knights. He was productive on his touches and broke plenty of tackles up the middle.
▪ Lecraft, also a defensive back, delivered a few big hits on defense. His Southern Durham teammates took notice and made some hard tackles themselves. It contributed to an overall excellent performance in their shutout win.
▪ Northern junior cornerback Darius Channer picked off Smith in the fourth quarter. The interception gave Northern a garbage-time scoring drive, which ended with a turnover.
▪ Northern Durham struggled on offense all night, so the return abilities of Hart and Jamarrco Burnette helped a lot. Both seniors fielded punts well and put the Knights in decent field position.
SD — Omari Smith pass to Jawalace Holmes (two-point conversion failed)
SD — Sincere Lecraft rush (John Paulino extra point good)