Week 1 Friday's Finest

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JALIL HUTCHERSON, Beddingfield — The junior running back impressively began stating his case to repeat as offensive player of the year in the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference with his performance in the Bruins’ season-opening 43-6 triumph against visiting Oxford Webb last Friday night. Hutcherson piled up 175 yards on just 12 rushes. He  scampered 80 yards for a TD the first time he touched the football and added a 25-yard TD trot early in the second half. From his position in the defensive secondary, Hutcherson intercepted one pass and knocked down or batted away two others.

RAEKWON BATTS, Beddingfield — Complemented Hutcherson by smashing for 94 yards on a mere 10 carries and also dented the Oxford Webb defense for a pair of TDs. The 5-foot-9, 230-pound Batts blasted his way to touchdowns on carries of 39 and 4 yards in the first half. Batts also asserted his defensive presence and accounted for the Bruins’ only pass reception.

TIQUEZ TAYLOR, Hunt — Junior running back made quite the statement to open the 2018 season, rumbling for an area-best 230 yards on 20 carries in the Warriors’ 34-31 victory over Eastern Wayne. Taylor scored on runs of 64, 41 and 63 yards, the latter putting Hunt ahead to stay in the closing minutes.

ZYQUEZ GROOMS, Hunt — Junior running back was a capable complement to Taylor in the Hunt win, motoring for 104 yards on just 12 carries.

CHRISTIAN PHABY, Hunt — Senior defensive lineman camped out behind the line of scrimmage with regularity, recording 11 tackles in Hunt’s win over Eastern Wayne. Tallied a sack and five total stops behind the line of scrimmage with three quarterback hurries.

OCTAVIUS CARPENTER, Fike — Tallied an interception in the Golden Demons’ 27-20 loss to Northern Durham. Had four tackles.

JAQUAN APPLEWHITE, Fike — Much was expected from the senior linebacker entering the 2018 campaign, and Applewhite took a small step forward with four tackles and interception in the Golden Demons’ loss to Northern Durham.

ZONOVAN KNIGHT, Southern Nash — Verbally committed to N.C. State, Knight backed up the attention of NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Schools by rushing for 164 yards on 17 carries in the Firebirds’ 49-28 season-opening win over Cary Green Hope. Knight added a TD, scoring on a 29-yard run.

QUINTON COOLEY, Southern Nash — Making the move from outside linebacker to running back with the departure of Kendrick Bell, Cooley aptly formed into another backfield weapon in the Firebirds’ double-wing offense. Cooley led Southern with 165 yards on 14 carries with a pair of TDs. Also a threat on punt returns, Cooley, a junior, had an 11-yard run in the first quater and sprinted away with a 72-yard burst in the fourth.

DARIUS EDMUNDSON,  Southern Nash — Senior running back needed just one touch in 2018 to record a touchdown, taking the game’s opening kickoff 79 yards for a score in the Firebirds’ 49-28 win over Cary Green Hope. Also forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and returned it 46 yards.

CAMERON THOMPSON, Southern Nash — Junior inside linebacker registered two sacks and five total tackles. The sacks resulted in 26 lost yards for Green Hope.

CLAY MATTHEWS, C.B. Aycock — Sophomore quarterback did his best to separate from a preseason three-player glut at the position, going 17 for 23 with 170 yards and two TDs in a 12-0 season-opening win oer Rosewood. Threw two touchdown passes without an interception.

JAYLAN ROBINSON, C.B. Aycock — Senior wide receiver turned in several key receptions in the Golden Falcons’ 12-0 victory versus Wayne County rival Rosewood. Finished with seven recpetions for 90 yards to lead The Wilson Times readership area after week one and pulled in a scoring toss from quarterback Clay Matthews.

CAMRON PRIVETTE, North Johnston — Sophomore running back bulled his way to 95 yards on 14 carries in North Johnston’s come-from-behind 27-26 victory at Southeast Halifax. Tallied one rushing touchdown.

GRAHAM WALSTON, North Johnston — If it isn’t trendy to say that Walston, a junior kicker, did not have his fingerprints all over the Panthers’ furious fourth-quarter rally over Southeast Halifax, then his foot certainly was. Walston connected on all three of his extra-point attempts and converted field goals of 22 and 32 yards. His onside kick late in the game allowed the Panthers to recover and march for the winning TD in the final minute.

TERRY WILLIAMS, GREENE CENTRAL — Senior defensive tackle made life arduous for 4-A Winterville South Central, logging 11 tackles and two stops behind the line in the Rams’ 18-14 loss. Nine of Williams’ tackles were of the solo variety.

JORDAN CLAYTON, SW EDGECOMBE— Spearheaded the Cougars’ rushing attack with 80 yards on just three carries in SouthWest’s 54-0 shutout of Pasquotank County.

DEFENSE, SW EDGECOMBE —The Cougars’ defense picked off four passes and turned three of those into TDs in the team’s 54-0 shellacking of Pasquotank County. Jelan Smith, Keishon Porter, Kedar Darden and Ty Gunter all tallied interceptions.