Midway’s varsity football team rebounded from its first loss of the season last week by taking a 40-20 Homecoming win over visiting East Central 2-A Conference opponent James Kenan on Friday night.
“We talked all week about bouncing back,” said Midway coach Cory Barnes. “James Kenan is a good program. Coach (Ken) Avent and his whole staff, he’s got a championship staff over there. They do a great job. It was nice to bounce back against a good program like that.
“The kids played a full 48 minutes tonight, I thought, defensively and offensively, we had it going on both sides of the ball. I thought the kids did a really good job of bouncing back to get a win on Homecoming tonight.”
Junior Wyatt Holland completed 11 of 18 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns. Holland ran for 60 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Senior Isaiah McClendon ran for 110 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Senior Thornton Baggett had three receptions for 103 yards and two touchdowns for the Raiders (4-1, 2-1 ECC).
“We knew that people were going to start emptying the box (on defense) on us and they did early,” Barnes said. “The numbers for us told us to run the football. Isaiah and Trey (Gregory) both did a good job. Wyatt did a great job making reads. The line blocked fantastic.
“We had some guys step up, some really young guys, on the offensive line, because we had some guys go down. We had some freshmen and some sophomores playing in that spot. I’m really proud of how they played tonight.”
Sophomore Trey Gregory was a factor in all aspects of the game. He ran for 36 yards and two touchdowns on six carries and had a 45-yard reception on offense. He had an interception on defense that led to one touchdown and had a 49-yard kick return that led to another touchdown.
Nate Smith had three receptions for 53 yards. Tyler Godwin had three receptions for 31 yards. Lane Baggett had an 8-yard gain on a catch.
Junior Andrew Pender completed 7 of 11 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown, with one interception, and ran for 56 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, sophomore Hayden McGee had three receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown and sophomore Emmanuel Bostic ran for 69 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries to lead the Tigers (3-2, 1-1).
James Kenan scored on its opening drive on a 4-yard Pender run. The extra point try was missed.
Midway responded with three unanswered scores. Holland scored on a five-yard run on the ensuing drive. McClendon scored on a 25-yard run late in the first quarter and Gregory scored on a 14-yard run late in the second quarter. Junior Acosta made two of the three extra points and Midway led 20-6.
James Kenan scored when Pender connected with McGee for a 62-yard touchdown and Andrew Kornegay ran for the two-point conversion to cut the lead to six.
A long return from Gregory on the ensuing kickoff led to Holland connecting with Thornton Baggett for a 19-yard touchdown, followed by a blocked extra point, to give Midway a 26-14 lead at halftime.
Late in the third quarter, Midway was stopped on fourth down at the James Kenan one-yard-line. But Gregory got the ball back for the Raiders with an interception one play later. That led to Gregory scoring on a two-yard run, with Acosta making the extra point.
Halfway through the fourth, Holland completed an 82-yard touchdown to Thornton Baggett, with Acosta adding the extra point.
The Tigers got one last score late in the fourth on an 11-yard run from Bostic. The extra point was no good.
Midway and James Kenan both qualified for the East Central 2-A Conference playoffs. The Raiders are at Wallace-Rose Hill and the Tigers are at Clinton on Friday. The winners of those two games get spots in the NCHSAA 2-A playoffs and advance to the conference title game on April 9.