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STANHOPE — Junior Zonovan Knight set the tone early for his Southern Nash varsity football team in Friday’s regular-season finale against Franklinton.
Knight dashed 64 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage, jump-starting the Firebirds’ 60-7 victory to sew up their second straight 3-A Big East Conference championship. Knight added scoring runs of 90, 66 and 29 yards — all in the first half — to finish with 252 yards on just seven carries as Southern Nash won for the 10th time in 11 games and extended their Big East regular-season winning streak to 11 with another 5-0 league run.
Franklinton, in its first season in the Big East, concluded 4-7 overall and 1-4 in conference games.
After Knight’s second long scoring run, teammate Dae’One Wilkins intercepted a Red Rams pass and returned it 20 yards for the first of six Firebirds TDs in the second quarter.
Senior Kendrick Bell got into the scoring act with TD runs of 36 and 2 yards, the latter making the score 42-0 with 5:06 left before halftime.
Senior Kevin Terrell notched Southern Nash’s second defensive touchdown when he darted 28 yards with an interception — one of three by the Firebirds — before Knight traveled 29 yards into the end zone to cap Southern Nash’s 54-point half.
The Red Rams averted a shutout when senior quarterback Scott Schriver found senior tight end E’Kwon White for a 46-yard touchdown completion with 8:24 to play in the fourth quarter.
With the running clock in place for the entire second half, Firebirds sophomore Isaiah Walker-Warren ran in a 5-yard TD on the game’s final play.
The Firebirds ran for 380 yards while limiting Franklinton to just 66 on the ground and 70 in the air. Southern Nash forced four Franklinton turnovers while not committing one of its own.
Southern Nash will be at home in the first round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A playoffs next Friday against an opponent to be named when the brackets are unveiled Saturday, Nov. 4.