McKoy is for real as Knights blank Bulldogs 34-0

North Davidson's Kennedy McKoy breaks a tackle against Thomasville's Malik Johnson to score a touchdown Friday night at North. (Photo by Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch)

WELCOME | If North Davidson’s football team wasn’t exactly razor sharp in its 34-0 victory over Thomasville in both teams’ season opener Friday night at Palmer Field, at least Black Knight sophomore running back Kennedy McKoy was on the cutting edge.

McKoy, making his first varsity start, shredded the Bulldogs for a whopping 248 yards on 25 attempts while scoring three touchdowns.

In fact, he had 109 of those total yards just in touchdown runs.

Who knew?

“He’s going to be a good football player for us,” said North coach Mark Holcomb, trying his best to deflect too much early attention away from his talented young runner. “He knows how to run with the ball.

“But, you know, our line did a pretty good job for him tonight.”

McKoy, for his part, dutifully played down his performance, which saw TD runs of 20, 31 and 58 yards.

His first score came on North’s first play of the game. The Knights were handed excellent field position when Thomasville, forced to punt deep in its own territory, got a nearly vertical miskick from Brett Hokenson, good for one yard.

That gave North the ball at the Thomasville 20.

And North promptly gave the ball to McKoy, who broke outside to go the distance.

“The hole really wasn’t there,” said McKoy. “So I went outside and I got a great block from my wide receiver, and that got me in the end zone.”

Both teams settled into something of a defensive battle for the next 10 minutes or so. In fact, at one point, Thomasville threatened, getting inside the North 5. But the Bulldogs fumbled the ball away, killing any chance to possibly tie the game.

Then, late in the second period, McKoy broke off a 31-yard scoring run, putting the Knights up 14-0 with 2:06 left in the half.

The Knights’ defense stepped up again, forcing the Bulldogs to punt, and this time, North’s Jordan Santana responded with a nice return, bringing the ball back to the Bulldog 35. Moments later, North quarterback Khylil Miller broke one open for 20 yards and another TD with just 29 seconds left in the half.

For good measure, McKoy added a 58-yard scoring run the third period, and then reserve running back Isaiah Koontz scored on an 11-yard run with just over four minutes left to play.

In all, North rushed for 343 yards in the game.

Thomasville offensive coordinator Dickie Cline knew the Bulldogs had a battle in front of them.

“We knew going in that it was a big uphill battle for us,” said Cline. “I think we had six guys up front on the line who never started a varsity game for us, or even played in a varsity game.

“But we had our opportunities. We were in the red zone a couple of times, especially in the first half. If we could have finished we might have scored twice in the first half, but we didn’t. But if we did, it might have been a better ballgame.”

North, meanwhile, wants to brush off its shaky play, which saw the Knights penalized  10 times for 95 yards.

“We’re a better team than that,” said Holcomb. “We’re going to have to tighten up a few things if we want to be the team we think we can be. Tonight was not acceptable.”

Notes: North’s Mason Hicks and Josh Thomas each came up with interceptions for the Knights … Malik Johnson had a pair of picks for the Bulldogs … North had 21 first downs for the game while the Bulldogs had just nine … North visits Ledford on Friday while Thomasville welcomes Mount Airy.