Rushing attack propels Lumberton past VardamanBy BUSTER WOLFE,
LUMBERTON – The Lumberton Panthers used a dominating ground game and a defense that kept Vardaman out of the end zone until the fourth quarter to capture a 38-10 Class 1A first-round playoff game Friday night.
The victory sends the Panthers (10-2) to next week’s game against Resurrection (6-6), which defeated French Camp 34-7 Friday.
Lumberton coach Zach Jones said the rushing of Robert Henry and Davion Edwards dominated the offense, while his defense limited Vardaman to 16 yards rushing and picked off three interceptions.
“I’m really proud of our backs,” he said. “And when I say backs, Robert did a great job and Davion Edwards did a great job. That two-headed monster is hard to stop. We also had some big runs out of the fullbacks and some big blocks out of the fullbacks. With (Krishaun) Fairley, you can’t say enough about that kid.”
Henry racked up 169 yards on 23 carries with three touchdowns, while Edwards added 74 yards on 12 totes. Meanwhile, Fairley – who had one carry all night – carried a would-be tackler 10 yards into the end zone to complete a 25-yard scoring dash in the fourth quarter.
Jones credited the Panthers’ offensive line for its performance.
“Our offensive line has really stepped it up and is playing some good football right now,” he said. “Defensively, I thought we played some good football. But we just keep coming out flat. We turned it on in the second quarter and I thought we really wore them down. Jared (Tribett) made a really good throw to Donnell (Buckner) and got us a touchdown.”
Vardaman coach Larry Gann said the Rams fell short because of missed chances.
“We had some opportunities early and had a couple of drops,” he said. “Against a team like Lumberton, it’s going to come back and get you because they’ve got a good football team.”
The Panthers’ defensive ends also played a key role in controlling the Vardaman offense, Gann said.
“The two guys off the edge (Jaylon Smith and Ahmad Dalton), we knew they were coming and they put some pressure on us,” he said. “And their depth caught up with us about the end of the third quarter. We’re just kind of limited, we just are.”
Jones agreed that Vardaman missed some opportunities.
“Vardaman is a good football team,” he said. “They are probably four or five plays from being a No. 2 seed in our district.”
Jones also praised the effort of quarterback Jared Tribett, who controlled the offense.
“Tribett threw some really good balls that we didn’t catch,” he said. “We’ll make those plays next time. I’m really proud of our kids. Jared does a really good job leading our team, keeping us calm and under control. I’m really proud of him, he’s come a long way and I wouldn’t trade him for anybody else.”
“I’m proud of our team. It was a whole team effort and that’s what we’ve got to have from our kids. I’m proud to advance at this time of year. A win is a win; it doesn’t matter what the score is.”
Jones admitted that the Panthers started flat and Vardaman was able to take a 33-yard short field and convert it into a 32-yard field goal by quarterback Trae Owens with 3:31 left on the clock in the first quarter. After getting the ball on downs in the second quarter, Lumberton used its ground game to go 79 yards in eight plays, capped by Henry’s first TD of the night from 24 yards out.
On the Panthers’ next possession after forcing the Rams to punt, Lumberton capped off an 82-yard scoring march in eight plays on Tribett’s 16-yard pass to Buckner and a 14-3 halftime lead.
Henry scored his second TD in the third quarter with a 13-yard run, then went the final five yards on a 10-play, 67-yard drive in the fourth quarter to put Lumberton ahead 30-3 with 9:45 to play. After Jayson Buckley picked off a Vardaman pass at the Panthers 45-yard line, Fairley scored his 25-yard TD and Lumberton led 38-3 with 7:34 to go in the game.
Vardaman’s lone trip to paydirt occurred when Patrick Pratt went around left end on a fourth-and-goal situation for the final four yards and the 38-10 final.
Score by Quarter
Vardaman 3 0 0 7—10
Lumberton 0 14 8 16—38
V—Owens 32 field goal, 3:31.
L—Henry 24 run (run failed), 5:57.
L—Buckner 16 pass from Tribett (run successful), 1:19.
L—Henry 13 run (run successful), 4:17.
L—Henry 5 run (pass successful), 9:45.
L—Fairley 25 run (run successful), 7:34.
V—Pratt 4 run (kick good), 5:08.
First Downs 12 16
Rushes-Yards 24-16 47-289
Att-Comp-Int. 35-13-3 10-2-1
Passing Yards 189 57
Total Plays-Yards 59-205 57-346
Punts-Avg. 4-36.2 5-29.6
Fumbles-Lost 9-1 0-0
Penalties 3-31 4-42
Vardaman: Pratt 14-37 TD, Townsend 1-16, Berry 1-1, Williams 2-(-2), Owens 6-(-36).
Lumberton: Henry 23-169 3TDs, Edwards 12-74, Fairley 1-25 TD, Townsend 2-15, Galloway 2-11, Pittman 1-0, Parker 2-(-5), Edwards 1-(-6), Tribett 3-(-16).
Vardaman: Owen 13-of -35, 192 yds., 3 INTs.
Lumberton: Tribett 2-of-10, 57 yds., INT.
Vardaman: Pratt 7-127, Casey 1-23, Williams 1-22, Edmondson 1-12, Long 1-8.
Lumberton: Buckner 2-57 TD.