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STANHOPE — The Southern Nash High varsity football team struck just 12 seconds into its 2018 season Friday night, and a newly minted offensive line had no trouble establishing room for the ground game en route to a convincing 49-28 victory over Cary Green Hope in the season opener for both teams inside Firebirds Stadium.
Speedster Darius Edmundson brought back the opening kickoff 79 yards to set the tone for the 3-A Big East Conference Firebirds, who piled up 410 yards rushing.
Green Hope, a member of the 4-A Triangle 6 Conference who won 10 games a season ago, replied with a 5-yard scoring plunge from Michael Odette. However, the extra point missed, and Southern proceeded to score two more touchdowns before the end of the quarter.
Quinton Cooley scored on an 11-yard burst, and senior Zonovan Knight added a 29-yard dash to make it 21-6 after one period. The combination of Cooley and Knight accounted for 329 yards rushing for the Firebirds. Knight, who has verbally committed to N.C. State, finished with 164 yards on 17 carries. Cooley had 165 yards on 14 totes and added a 72-yard sprint with 7:23 to go.
Green Hope scored three TDs in the fourth quarter against Southern Nash reserves to make the score closer.
Both teams were penalized seven times, but the Firebirds did not punt in the contest.
Leading 21-6, Edmundson dove in from 1-yard away for the only TD of the second quarter. Matt Foster, the son of head coach Brian Foster making his first varsity start, accounted for two total TDs in the third quarter.
He hit Daylon Whitley on a 14-yard pass just 10 seconds into the second half, and tacked on an 8-yard scoring dash to send the Firebirds to a 42-6 lead entering the fourth quarter. Edmundson caught one pass for 33 yards.
Southern Nash lost three fumbles, while generating an interception and recovering one fumble.
The Firebirds visit Nash Central next Friday.