Published: 12:00 AM, Sat Nov 05, 2011
Douglas Byrd starts slow, finishes strong in playoff win
Orange High School was driving for a go-ahead score in the opening quarter of Friday's first-round state 3-AA playoff game when Chris Jones decided to take matters into his own hands.
Douglas Byrd's senior defensive end shoved his way past an Orange blocker and delivered a hit in the backfield that knocked the ball loose from quarterback Sean Motley.
Senior linebacker Devante MacKall scooped up the ball and sloshed his way 68 yards over a soggy turf at Bob Paroli Stadium for a momentum-changing touchdown.
MacKall's score provided the first of 21 second-quarter points that propelled the unbeaten Eagles to a 41-12 victory.
"That's two of our best players all year making a huge play when it really mattered,'' Douglas Byrd coach Russell Stone said. "It turned this game completely around.''
The triumph sends the Cape Fear Valley 3-A Conference champions (12-0) into next Friday's second round at home against Chapel Hill (9-2), a 7-2 winner against Asheboro.
Senior running back Lorenzo Pooler got Douglas Byrd off to a fast start by producing a 49-yard touchdown run on the game's first possession. The play started a huge night for Pooler, who would plow through the Orange defense for 199 yards rushing on 18 carries.
Orange (6-6) stunned Byrd when John Evans returned the ensuing kickoff 79 yards. Motley's quarterback sneak tied the scored at 6 after both teams missed their extra-point kick.
Orange began its third offensive possession inside Byrd territory at the 37 and moved to the 18, thanks in part to a pass interference call on the Eagles. But on a third-down-and-6 at the 18, the 6-3, 260-pound Jones made his move.
"I was just trying to get to the quarterback,'' Jones said. "I didn't know it was a fumble until I saw the ball on the ground. I tried to get up, but Devante MacKall had already got it.''
Motley made a grab for MacKall, but couldn't bring him down.
"I thank Chris Jones for making a great play,'' MacKall said. "Once I got it, there was no doubt in my mind I was going for a touchdown.''
Breon Davis passed to Garry Lewis for the two-point conversion, putting Byrd ahead 14-7.
Orange pulled within 14-12 briefly on a 70-yard scoring run by Patrick Pettiford.
But a leaping catch by tight end Kevin Samuels in the end zone for a 14-yard scoring play and a 16-yard touchdown run by Pooler sent Byrd in at halftime with a 27-12 advantage.
"This was a real solid performance all the way around,'' Stone said. "Our offensive line really controlled the game when we gave them a chance to. Lorenzo Pooler is an unbelievable player. We're real happy with that and to get a win.''
Pooler increased his season rushing total to 1,502.
The Eagles piled up 295 yards rushing as a team, while Orange had 161.
Douglas Byrd 41, Orange 12
DB - Lorenzo Pooler 49 run (kick blocked)
O - Jerome Brooks 1 run (kick blocked)
DB - Devante MacKall 68 fumble return (Garry Lewis pass from Breon Davis)
O - Patrick Pettiford 70 run (run failed)
DB - Kevin Samuels 14 pass from Davis (Sair Zaragoza kick)
DB - Pooler 16 run (kick failed)
DB - Davis 2 run (run failed)
DB - Pooler 58 run (Jordan Hill run)
Rushing: O - Jalen Pittman 11-34, Patrick Pettiford 11-127, Josh Coachman 8-16. DB - Lorenzo Pooler 18-199, Garry Lewis 11-64, Breon Davis 5-14, Devante MacKall 1-15.
Passing: O - Sean Motley 5-12-0, 49. DB - Breon Davis 5-11-1, 81.
Receiving: O - Jalen Pittman 3-35, John Evans 1-7, Tyler McAdoo 1-7. DB - Kevin Samuels 2-30, Lorenzo Pooler 1-35, Jordan Hill 1-14, Jerome Hasty 1-2.
Records: Orange 6-6, Douglas Byrd 12-0.
Staff writer Sammy Batten can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 486-3534.