Panthers blanked by Red Springs in Barnett’s debut

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KENLY — Opening the season against Red Springs, the first win of the Michael Barnett era did not come Friday night for the North Johnston High varsity football team.

The Red Devils of the 1-A/2-A Three Rivers Conference scored 34 points before halftime and added one more touchdown after the break to shut out the Panthers 42-0 at Ben E. Strifert Stadium.

“Red Springs is a good team,” Barnett said. “They’re strong, they’re fast, they’ll make it to the third round of the state playoffs, at least.”

In its first game working with the triple option, Barnett estimated his offense to have moved the ball less than 50 yards, managing just two first downs.
Barnett attributed struggles on the offensive end to simple mistakes, like one player not doing their job, or a blown block busting up the play.

North Johnston stopped Red Springs a couple times and forced one fumble out of the high-powered offense, but struggled overall to contain the Red Devils, particularly on the ground. While two touchdowns came through the air, the bulk of the scoring came in the running game with four TDs.

“We had them schemed up, they just executed, they downblocked well,” Barnett said. “They did exactly what we thought they’d do, and they just beat us at the line of scrimmage.”

The Panthers will travel to Goldsboro next week to take on Rosewood of the 1-A Carolina Conference.