Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing to The Wilson Times.
STANHOPE — Evan Barnes is the loneliest teenager in southern Nash County.
So far in 2018, the services of the Southern Nash High junior punter have not been required as the Firebirds have rolled over a trio of opponents en route to a 3-0 start.
That certainly didn’t change Friday night against West Johnston in Firebirds Stadium.
Senior running back Zonovan Knight, an N.C. State commit, added to his legend by scoring four total touchdowns — two rushing, one kick return and one punt return — as the Firebirds disdained punting for the fourth straight game in a convincing 67-14 rout of West Johnston.
Southern Nash of the 3-A Big East Conference, which travels to defending North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-AA champion Wake Forest next week, ran for 291 yards and put the game out of reach by the conclusion of the first quarter.
Junior quarterback Matt Foster threw a pair of TD passes, one to junior Quinton Cooley and another to junior fullback Daylon Whitley to put the Firebirds up 14-0. Knight returned a punt 43 yards and senior Darius Edmundson ran an interception back 53 yards to put Southern up 28-0 after one quarter.
After West Johnston (1-3) of the 3-A Greater Neuse River Conference struck back with a 50-yard interception return from Kaleb Jordan, Southern Nash went on a 26-0 spree to induce the running clock by halftime.
Knight scored on two of his three touches rushing, racking up TDs on runs of 24 and 67 yards in the second quarter. He finished with 154 yards on those touches alone. Cooley continued his efficiency on minimum touches, finishing with three rushing TDs and the receiving score from Foster.
His three straight TDs of 67, 16 and 26 yards put Southern Nash up 61-7 entering the fourth quarter. Cooley had 130 yards on just five carries.
Knight capped Southern Nash’s scoring with a 77-yard kickoff return with 6:10 remaining.
The teams combined for 29 penalties, with Southern guility of 14 flags for 100 yards.