Published: 12:59 AM, Sat Oct 29, 2011
Douglas Byrd caps perfect regular season with win over Union Pines
Douglas Byrd High coach Russell Stone said his team faced a no-win situation entering Friday night's game against Union Pines.
"If we score 50, people say we're beating up on a down team. If we don't, they're saying, 'What's wrong with you?' " he said.
"We knew we had team coming in that was on a down note, and we want to respect all and fear none. We respect all by playing hard and doing our best and executing at a high level."
The Eagles, ranked sixth among the state's 3-A schools, did just that in finishing the regular season 11-0. They manhandled the Vikings 52-0 to put the crowning touch on their Cape Fear Valley Conference championship. Byrd went 6-for-6 against league opponents, while Union Pines finished 2-9, 0-6.
Byrd's starting offense performed with near-flawless precision, putting 28 points on the scoreboard with its first eight snaps. The Eagles scored on eight of their 11 possessions, and the final could have been even more lopsided had not a pair of touchdowns been nullified by holding penalties.
The blowout made for a big, though brief, night for running back Lorenzo Pooler. He carried the ball only three times, but he gained 112 yards on those carries and had touchdown runs of 43 and 60 yards. He also scored a 15-yard touchdown on a screen pass from Breon Davis that made it 35-0 midway through the second quarter.
"We just wanted to stick to the basics. We didn't want to try to do too much and we don't underestimate anyone," he said. "We take no team lightly."
Defensive lineman Chris Jones echoed that outlook.
"We play hard and we don't let up," he said. "We worked as hard this week as if (Union Pines) was Gray's Creek or South View or somebody.
"It was good for everybody getting everything together, even if we did mess up a good five or six plays."
Davis threw a second TD pass to Garry Lewis, Jordan Hill ran a punt back 52 yards for a score, and Devante MacKall closed out the scoring with about a minute remaining. Sair Zaragoza kicked five extra points and his 31-yard field goal on the final play of the first half put Byrd ahead 38-0.
Stone's team finished the regular season unbeaten for the second time in his 33-year career. His 1995 West Forsyth squad couldn't run the table, though, as it was ousted by Anson County in the third round of the playoffs on a missed extra point in overtime.
"That team had two guys that went to Penn State and all 22 starters went to college, but this is a much more talented team," he said.
"Since I moved back down here and have had a chance to compare talent, it's not even close on a week-to-week basis. It's much more physical and tougher," he added. "I told those guys at West Forsyth I didn't know of one team I ever had that could make it 11 games here. We're in a 3-A conference now and it's not quite as demanding, but when we were playing in the Mid-South 4-A, we were doing pretty good, too."
Sports editor Thomas Pope can be reached at email@example.com or 486-3520.