Griggs leads Tigers past Hurricanes

Published 11:32 am Saturday, November 22, 2008

By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
WILLIAMSTON — Emery Griggs doesn’t want his high school football career to come to an end any time soon.
As long as he keeps playing this way, it’s not likely to.
Griggs rushed for 257 yards and two touchdowns and threw for another two scores on Friday night to lead Williamston into the third round of the state playoffs for the first time since 2002, with a 28-20 victory over Northampton-West.
After a defensive struggle for the first 20 minutes of the game, Williamston lit up the scoreboard in the final three minutes of the first half.
With 2:03 left in the opening half, Griggs capped off a 12-play, 49-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown plunge to get the Tigers on the board.
After the defense forced the Hurricanes to go three-and-out on the ensuing possession, the Tigers got the ball back with less than 90 seconds to play.
Three plays into the drive, Griggs unleashed a deep pass along the right sideline that landed in the hands of Jermaine McGhee for a 43-yard strike to put Williamston ahead 14-0 with 48 seconds left in the second quarter.
Instead of sitting on the ball, Northampton-West coach Gary Warren elected to try to put some points on the board just before the half.
It was a moved that backfired.
With 10 seconds left in the half, DeBrian Everett jarred the ball loose from Hurricanes running back Marvin Rawles and Tigers’ defensive lineman Derek Everett pounced the ball at the ‘Canes’ 20.
On the very next play, Griggs tossed his second touchdown pass of the half, connecting with Kenny Brown in the end zone with three seconds remaining in the half, giving Williamston a 21-0 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff though, the Hurricanes garnered some momentum as Zach Broadnax returned the kickoff 99 yards for a score as time expired in the opening half, making it 21-6 at the break.
Early in the fourth, the Tigers extended their lead once again as Griggs broke loose for a 39-yard touchdown scamper.
But the Hurricanes kept battling, and with 8:23 left in the contest, finally mustered some offense against the Tigers’ stingy defense, as quarterback Antonio Manley connected with Broadnax on a 36-yard touchdown pass to make it 28-12.
After forcing Williamston to turn the ball over on downs on the next possession, the ‘Canes cut even further into the lead as Manley hooked up with Bryan Mason for a 76-yard pass down to the Williamston 6. One play later, Manley rushed into the end zone for the score, and with a two-point conversion pass from Manley to Deshaun Moody, the Hurricanes closed the gap to 28-20 with 5:14 to play.
But Northampton wouldn’t see the ball again, as the Tigers chewed up the final five minutes of the game with 10-play, 64-yard drive that ended inside the ‘Canes’ 10-yard line.
Griggs added 90 yards through the air to go with his 257 on the ground, while Kareem Bell added 42 yards for an offense that netted 418 yards of total offense.
Meanwhile, the Tigers’ defense was stellar except for a few big plays. Williamston netted eight sacks on the night, led by Rakeem Speller’s three.
No. 3 seed Williamston (8-5) will travel to No. 2 seed Creswell (10-1) next Friday for the third round of the NCHSAA Class 1-A state playoffs. Creswell beat Perquimans 20-18 on Friday night.
Northampton-West Williamston
13 First Downs 21
29-45 Rushes-Yards 53-328
141 Passing Yards 90
5-12-0 Pass-Comp-Int 6-11-1
4-24.5 Punting 1-9
4-3 Fumbles-Lost 4-3
5-25 Penalties 8-57
Northampton-West 0 6 0 14 — 20
Home 0 21 0 7 — 28
Scoring Summary
W — Emery Griggs 3 run (Cody Speller kick), 2:03, 2nd.
W — Jermaine McGhee 43 pass from Griggs (Speller kick), :48, 2nd.
W — Kenny Brown 20 pass from Griggs (Speller kick), :03, 2nd.
N — Zach Broadnax 99 kickoff return (Run failed), :00, 2nd.
W — Griggs 39 run (Speller kick), 11:51, 4th.
N — Broadnax 36 pass from Antonio Manley (Run failed), 8:23, 4th.
N — Manley 6 run (Deshaun Moody pass from Manley), 5:12, 4th.