Havelock coach Jim Bob Bryant didn’t like what he saw. He shouted at his running back. “You’ve got to cut that up inside!”
Bryant wasn’t about to let a 63-0 lead get in the way of an opportunity for a coaching moment with a young player.
Julian Cuthbertson returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, and Havelock never looked back, beating the outmanned Jones Senior Trojans 63-0 Friday at Havelock High.
“We wanted to get some young kids some looks against varsity competition,” Bryant said. “Our future’s bright. We had a bunch of young guys out there playing the whole second half, and the majority of them are freshmen and sophomores. We brought up a bunch of guys from the junior varsity, and I thought they came in and did a good job.”
Two of those players, Tony Sharp and Cory Cooper, had touchdown runs in a second half that included a continuous running clock as the defending state 3A champs hosted the 1A Trojans in their home opener.
Cuthbertson’s 58-yard runback of the opening kick set the stage for a Rams team that scored on seven of eight first-half possessions, with halftime interrupting the final drive. By then, Havelock led 49-0.
“Jones Senior’s a good football team, but they’re 1A and they just don’t have any depth,” Bryant said. “When you’ve got 22 players and you have to play everybody both ways, but those kids never quit fighting the whole night. Coach (Greg) Hampton and Coach (John) Davis are two of my really good friends, and they do what they can. They don’t have a whole lot of players, but they will keep fighting and they should be commended for that.”
Havelock quarterback Travis Sabdo threw for two touchdowns, 59 yards to Matthew Boykin and 41 yards to Kyran Bowman, sandwiched around a Boykin had a 6-yard rushing touchdown to lead 28-0 in the first quarter. Sabdo was 4 of 6 passing for 117 yards and for the third straight game as a starter, did not have an interception.
Jones Senior got a 32-yard pass play from Glen White to Nihkee Jones, and converted on a fourth-and-1 play to move into Havelock territory midway through the first quarter, but a penalty pushed the Trojans (0-3) back and they weren’t able to recover.
“We showed some flashes of brilliance, but they the wheels would come off,” Davis said. “That’s going to happen when you’re playing a bunch of freshmen and sophomores. For a 1A school, we probably play the toughest schedule in the state. We’ve got our work cut out for us, but this is great experience and we hope it pays off in October.”
Taylor Woods had a 30-yard touchdown run for the Rams in the second, and Derrell Scott added TD runs of 18 and 5 yards as the Rams led 49-0. Scott totaled 176 yards on just 10 carries.
“It was great, but I have to give the credit to my offensive line,” said Scott, who had a pair of 58-yard runs that did not go for touchdowns. “If they didn’t block for me, I wouldn’t be able to do anything. They really opened up some holes for me.”
Scott said he was pleased with how the Rams played but said they are always looking to get better.
“There’s always ways you can improve,” he said. “Jones Senior came out here and played a great game. I give credit to them. But, there’s always things for us to improve on. Tonight, there are some things we learned, some things we know we need to work on. Every game, no matter what the score is, there’s always things we can learn.”
As for the defense, Havelock didn’t allow a point and got an interception from Jordan Cuthbertson and a fumble recovery from Shondel Granison. The Rams have given up just two offensive touchdowns in three games.
“Our defense, we wanted to get a goose egg on the board,” Bryant said. “And our defense played great.”
The Rams are next scheduled to play at Kinston at 7:30 p.m. Friday.