Firebirds’ fast start buries Bulldogs

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ROCKY MOUNT — Behind a blitzkrieg of big plays, visiting Southern Nash buried Nash Central with 28 points in the first quarter on the way to a 55-20 varsity football romp Friday night.

The Firebirds bombarded their former 3-A Big East Conference rivals, starting with junior Quinton Cooley’s 84-yard scoring run. The first of Cooley’s three touchdowns came with 6:39 left in the opening quarter and give Southern Nash (2-0) a 6-0 lead, although the ensuing extra-point kick attempt failed.

On Southern Nash’s next possession, junior quarterback Matt Foster darted 54 yards on a keeper and senior Zonovan Knight’s two-point conversion run made it 14-0 with 3:54 to play.

Knight then got into the big-play act with a 53-yard run to the end zone, followed by senior Carlos Garcia’s PAT kick with 2:02 to go.

Just when the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference Bulldogs (1-1) thought the Firebirds couldn’t add any more points in the quarter, senior Darius Edmundson struck with a 20-yard interception return for a score.

The onslaught continued early in the second half when Cooley hauled in a 35-yard TD toss from Foster for the Firebirds’ only completion in two passing attempts.

Nash Central finally got on the scoreboard when senior Byron Hawkins returned the ensuing kickoff 82 yards for a TD.

Cooley added an 8-yard TD run to put the Firebirds up 42-6 at the half. Knight ripped off a 51-yard scoring run on the opening possession of the second and Zach Jones lunged in from 2 yards in the fourth.

Knight finished with 168 yard on 11 carries while Cooley ran for 109 yards on just four carries.

Southern Nash will visit Bunn on Thursday.