The Dudley Panthers proved their prowess on the road once again on Friday evening when they traveled to Nash Central down near Rocky Mount and came back to Lincoln Street in Greensboro with another key playoff victory.
This is the Saturday morning rewind, the high school football playoff edition. Dudley fell behind early in the game on Friday as the Bulldogs from Nash Central ran it up the gut on the Panthers and took the ball all the way down field on the opening drive and Nash had the pigskin on the ten but they had to settle for a Brad Scott field goal when Dudley’s “tougher than life” defense kicked in and Nash Central walked away with only a 3-0 lead.
In the second quarter Scott was stading back at his own 7 yard line in punt formation and the snap went high to his left side and Scott was left with nothing else to do but kick the ball back out of the end zone for a Dudley safety. It took the officials nearly 10 minutes to decide on the ruling which should have been a clear-cut decision.
The 3-2 lead was the last lead Nash Central would see as from that point on it was all Dudley Panthers. It seemed as if something kicked in and Dudley could smell blood, because from that point on it was all Greensboro and Dudley ruled the night. The Panthers got a 6 yard TD run from Kyree Ward and Joseph Jackson caught a pass from QB Ricky Lewis Jr. for the two-point conversion. The Panthers took a 10-3 lead not into the locker room but over on to the grass in the East end zone at halftime.
So, Dudley had the touchdown lead at the half and then they came out and controled the second half with steady running from Joseph Jackson and Ricky Lewis Jr. mixed in some real nice passes to tight end Douglas Sigmon. Tory Warren was also the recipiant of one of four of the Lewis completions. Warren did a super job on punt and kickoff returns taking one KO back deep into Bulldog territory after the key safety in the second quarter.
With the running of Joseph Jackson and Kyree Ward(Panthers had 254 yards on the ground) and the pass receptions of Douglas Sigmon(QB Lewis a junior threw for 71 yards), all seniors, the Dudley Panthers are moving on to round four of the State 3-AA playoffs next Friday at Oxford Webb. Dudley’s 25-11 win over Nash Central is now secure and the Panthers(11-3) can begin to focus on Webb(11-3). Webb defeated defending 3-AA champ Eastern Randolph 20-10 on Friday night.
Next Friday will be the Eastern final with Dudley the #7 seed facing top-seeded Oxford Webb. The West #1 seed Hickory, and #2 seed Belmont South Point, saw their seasons come crashing to the ground on Friday night. Hickory fell hard to Charlotte Catholic 48-28 and South Point went down at the hands of Asheville’s TC Roberson 37-13.
Chris Neal, Josh Jones, Major Bryant, Julian Alford, Kenny Okoro, Kelton Shepherd, Jermaine Moore and the rest of the Dudley defense will have to have their “tougher than life” defensive mind-set in overdrive next Friday night at Oxford Webb. With the top seeds falling in the West, the door has been opened for Dudley to win their first-ever 3-AA State Championship.