Triton had a touchdown pass nullified by a penalty and an interception cancelled on another flag in a 22-7 home loss to Southern Lee on Friday night.
The Hawks were beset by five turnovers in falling to 1-5 overall and 1-2 in the Tri-County Six 3-A Conference.
“Penalties and turnovers have defined our season so far,” said Triton coach Ben Penny. “We came out enthusiastic tonight. We had a shot of making some noise in the conference and getting a playoff spot. Coming off a big win last week (15-7 at Union Pines), set ourselves up for that.
“We knew they were good. We knew they were very athletic. We knew No. 3 (Tanosh Lockley) was a heckuva player. We shot ourselves in the foot a lot tonight. We did it to ourselves. We tell these guys don’t let these mistakes compound and make a bad situation worse.
“I thought we fought to the end but we hurt ourselves, the turnovers early, the penalties. … Things like that, we just can’t pull through and be a good football team. We’re young. The seniors have three games guaranteed left. We’ve just got to stay together and go out on a high note.”
Triton visits Lee (8-0, 3-0) on Friday night.
The Cavaliers (5-2, 2-0) scored on their first two possessions for a 14-0 lead, the second touchdown coming after a lost fumble for the Hawks.
On its first series, Southern Lee faced a 3rd-and-9 at the Hawks’ 10-yard line. Thomas Hamilton threw incomplete but the visitors got a first down on pass interference. Nick Locklear went in from five yards out on the next play.
Hamilton found Lockley on a 28-yard pass for the Cavs’ second TD.
The margin was 17-0 after a 35-yard field goal by Daniel Pisano on the first series of the second half. The Cavs had a 54-yard gain on a pass from Hamilton to Elijah Foxx but the second personal foul on Southern Lee on the series moved the visitors back to the Triton 19 before they settled for three points.
Triton answered on a 4th-and-five as Malihk Giles escaped for a 27-yard touchdown run to get within 17-7 on a conversion kick by Paul Wells.
Pisano kicked a 31-yard field goal and the Hawks incurred a safety on intentional grounding from the end zone to finish the scoring.
The Cavaliers led 252-221 in total yards as sophomore Rodney Ingram, listed at 5 feet, 7 inches and 192 pounds, had 21 carries for 105 yards.
Austin Riewestahl carried 21 times for 86 yards for the Hawks. Giles had nine rushes for 58 yards. Travion Sanders gained 43 yards on 12 totes. Giles had one catch for 23 yards.
Triton’s junior varsity improved to 3-0 in league games with a 22-15 win at Southern Lee on Thursday night.