North pounds Parkland


WINSTON-SALEM | Somewhere down the line when Oak Grove High School – or whatever it’s going to be called – North Davidson may not be as much of a powerhouse.

Maybe.

But that’s a hypothetical.

Existing in the present and completely dominating fashion, the Knights easily rolled past winless Parkland 56-0 in a Central Piedmont Conference mismatch on Friday at Deaton-Thompson Stadium.

The North coaching staff, fired up by comments made by Parkland coaches about what they think the future high school was going to take away from North, kept the throttle down.

“Those words did get us fired up a little bit,” Holcomb said. “We talked about that. Right now, we’re North Davidson. We’re going to be North Davidson whenever Oak Grove opens, too.”

North (7-1 overall, 2-1 CPC) made it a rout in every way. The Knights rolled up 510 yards and 29 first downs. Kennedy McCoy ran for three touchdowns while Xavier Baker carried the ball 16 times for 118 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Brandon McCray ran for a touchdown and threw for another and Khylil Miller threw a touchdown pass.

Mason Hicks blocked a punt and intercepted a pass to help spearhead a defense that limited Parkland (0-7 overall, 0-2 CPC) to 84 yards.

It was 35-0 by halftime.

“We want to be good,” Holcomb said. “We want to stay that way. We did some things very effectively, I thought, in the first half. We were able to run the ball and throw the ball a little bit.”

The Knights wasted little time in putting this one out of reach.

After forcing a three-and-out on Parkland’s opening possession, North found the end zone on its fourth play as McCray scored on a 34-yard keeper.

Then Hicks blocked a punt, the Knights took over at the Parkland 19 and Miller fired a 15-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Santana moments later for a 14-0 lead midway through the third quarter.

Baker’s 3-yard touchdown run capped a seven-play, 69-yard drive to give North a 21-0 lead with 3:15 still remaining in the first quarter.

At that point, already the only thing in suspense was the final margin.

Kennedy McKoy scored the first of his two second quarter touchdowns, a 5-yard run, to finish off a nine-play, 80-yard drive.

Hicks halted Parkland’s only threat with an interception midway through the period.

The Knights were able to practice their two-minute drill later on and McCray took them 55 yards in just four plays, the big one being a 33-yard pass to Santana. McKoy took it in from the 2 and North led 35-0 with 1:28 left in the half.

And the second half was more of the same.

Miller’s 78-yard kickoff  return to start the half was partially negated by a block in the back. But the Knights only had 31 yards to go and they quickly covered that, with McKoy scoring on an 8-yard run.

But then Holcomb applied the breaks and the Knights quit throwing the ball.

“I haven’t got the heart to run it up on anybody,” he said. “In the second half we were going to run the ball, run the clock. They’re struggling right now. They’re going to be back and they’ve got a memory like everybody else does.”

Defensive tackle Shy Tuttle’s fumble recovery at the Parkland 37 set up Baker’s 12-yard touchdown later in the third quarter as North’s lead grew to 49-0.

And then the Knights saved the best for last.

After the Knights drove to the Parkland 7 late in the game, Holcomb sent in the jumbo package to the roaring approval of North fans. That means the 6-3, 310-pound Tuttle was in the backfield. But also coming on the field was senior tailback Ross Koonts, who suffered a gunshot wound to head while he was in middle school and was paralyzed at one time.

Koonts took a handoff from McCray and picked up four yards. Following a Parkland timeout, Koonts took a handoff again from McCray and, running behind Tuttle, easily reached the end zone for a touchdown.

“It really meant a lot to me,” Koonts said. “I’ve come a long way from being paralyzed. And I’m back playing football.”

It nearly brought Holcomb to tears.

“He wasn’t able to play as a freshman,” Holcomb said. “He was a manager. The doctors finally cleared him to play. For the kids to want to get him in the end zone means a lot ....”

North is idle next Friday and returns to action Oct. 25 at home against R.J. Reynolds.

Notes: The Knights were penalized 13 times for 125 yards. ... Quinn White recovered a fumble.