Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
ROCKY MOUNT — The Hunt High varsity football team got beat on the scoreboard and got beat physically at, of all places, Death Valley on a football-perfect Friday night.
In the 3-A Big East Conference opener for both teams, host Northern Nash muscled its way to a 28-14 triumph against the Warriors of first-year head coach Ryan Sulkowski.
The conference triumph was the first for the Knights of head coach Andrew Farriss in his second season against the program for which he was an assistant coach for 13 seasons.
“I just wanted to get that first conference win,” Farriss said, “it didn’t matter against who.”
With both teams coming off an open week, Hunt dropped to 4-3, while the Knights climbed to 5-2 after winning just three games last season.
Northern Nash running back Amir Pittman-Williams, a 5-foot-10, 192-pound senior, thundered for a whopping 251 yards on 29 rushes and was splendidly complemented by senior quarterback Kameron Johnson.
The Knights constructed a 14-0 margin in controling possession and the clock.
“Taking nothing away from Northern, they were a physical football team,” expressed Sulkowski. “It was kind of an unraveling situation for us. It was basically a football nightmare. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong.”
Added Hunt senior quarterback Tiquez Taylor: “We have to come in with more focus and come together more. We beat ourselves up tonight. We should have come together more and it might have been a different outcome.”
However, Farriss contended his Knights lost three TDs because of being assessed 16 penalties for 122 yards.
Taylor was a bright spot for Hunt on a night when three quarterbacks were tested. Taylor scored both touchdowns, intercepted two passes and rushed for 82 yards on 12 carries.
Taylor found the end zone on a 6-yard carry in the second quarter and tallied from five yards out in the fourth quarter after completing a 56-yard pass to sophomore Davon Jones and 39-yard flip to sophomore back C.J. Joyner.
The Warriors were stopped on Northern Nash’s 22-yard line their first possession and couldn’t overcome a third-down penalty their second possession after reaching the Knights’ 36-yard line. A penalty negated a kickoff return inside the Knights’ 15-yard line in the second quarter. A 23-yard penalty stalled a threat late in the third quarter. The Warriors owned possession at the Knights’ 23-yard line when the game ended.
Northern Nash, with 338 rushing yards, struck on Johnson’s 22-yard toss to junior Caleb Reams, dashes of 24 and 10 yards by Pittman-Williams and Johnson’s 46-yard interception return to start the second half.
“They are good at what they do,” Sulkowski commended the Knights. “They came out with a different look that was a lot more shotgun-related with No.1 (Johnson).”
Hunt faces another rugged Big East assignment at home against Rocky Mount at 7 p.m. Friday.