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Tarboro hammers North Edgecombe, sets up undefeated Junction showdown

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Tarboro’s Tae Randolph trys to flip the ball to a teammate as he is tackled Friday during North Edgecombe's home game against Tarboro at North Edgecombe High.

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By ETHAN JOYCE
Sports Writer

Saturday, September 9, 2017

LEGGETT — Tarboro saw them.

As the Vikings football team warmed up on Friday before their game against North Edgecombe, some of the players noticed a faint color near the end of the field. It was the powder blue of SouthWest Edgecombe.

The Cougars were on bye this week, giving the coaches free opportunity to scout their two county counterparts. With Tarboro and SouthWest Edgecombe set to battle in the Function at the Junction next week, Vikings quarterback Tae Randolph knew that pumped up his teammates. 

“We didn’t really have a set number to put up, but this game was kind of a statement game when we saw the SouthWest coaches in the end zone,” Randolph said. “We have a big rivalry game coming up. The offense came out with a chip on our shoulder.

“We had to put up some numbers.”

Tarboro handled North Edgecombe in a 65-12 rout. Randolph launched three touchdowns on five passing attempts, and six different rushers scored for the Vikings (4-0). Tarboro racked up 300 yards rushing by halftime. 

Getting through the first leg of the county matchups, Tarboro will play at SouthWest Edgecombe (3-0) next week. Randolph is enjoying the setup of back-to-back rivarly games.

“It feels good, and we’ve got to like it,” Randolph said. “With the big one next week, and we knew they were here and watching, the atmosphere at school has been crazy. This is what it’s all about.”

North Edgecombe grabbed opening possession but immediately went three-and-out. The Warriors punted, the Vikings started on their own 37-yard line, and Tarboro was up seven points a play later. Clifton Joyner cranked out the first of many running touchdowns.

The Warriors scored on Tarboro’s second possession, when a high snap resulted in a scoop and score for North Edgecombe’s Jamoryon Bryant. Trailing one point, that was the closest the Warriors would get.

Vikings coach Jeff Craddock said during practice that snaps have been flawless. So to see it early in this game was surprising. 

“There was no panic,” Craddock said. “They were upset because they gave a team six points. We were good enough this game that it obviously didn’t cost us.

“But those are things down the line that you can’t give great football teams deep in the playoffs.”

Randolph responded with a score on a quarterback keeper to end the first quarter, and Keon Caudle cashed in another score for Tarboro to start the second quarter. 

Randolph, Caudle, Joyner, Malik Dickens, Fookie Williams and Kendrick Everette were the scoring running backs for Tarboro. But as strong as the run game looked, Randolph looked just as powerful in the pocket. 

Tarboro crushed North Edgecombe through the air in the second quarter. Three of Tarboro’s four final touchdowns of the first half were passing. First, Randolph hit Williams for a 48-yard screen pass. The second was a 41-yard moonshot to JoJo Lyons. And the third went to Marquez Edge to set up the running clock for the entire second half.

Randolph feels the passing game is so much better than last year, and that’s come with trust.

“I have been playing with them boys since I was a little kid,” Randolph said. “Even before we even started playing little league football together, we were at elementary school playing.

Our relationship has been kind of close, and I feel comfortable putting it in the air because I know they are going to make a play.”

For North Edgecombe (0-3), it was a frustrating night of trying to make something work. Warriors coach Keith Parisher said coaches kept things simple in the hopes to combat Tarboro’s strength. 

The soft-spoken Parisher said he got pretty vocal with players during halftime. He seemed to get the reaction he wanted. North Edgecombe found a late score, but the coach realizes the team is still far away from where it needs to be. 

“We just have to keep moving forward,” Parisher said. “I thought we played better in the second half than we did first half. That has been our M.O.

“By halftime, it was trying to find somebody to put in my backfield because we were banged up and beat up. . . One, we just got to get healthy, and two, our young guys have to do a better job taking care of their responsibility.”

Tarboro 65, North Edgecombe 12

Tarboro 14 39 6 6 — 65

North Edgecombe 6 0 0 6 — 12

RUSHING

T — Williams 3-53, Jaquez Edge 2-40, Joyner 2-69, Dickens 2-44, Caudle 1-25, Radolph 3-23, Jyron Albritton 1-23, Da’Quaris Moore 3-14, Kendrick Everette 2-76, Ty’trez Higgs 1-18, Quadarius Pitt 2-(-2)

NE — Daquarious Perry 12-53, Jaquaylon Thorne 4-7, Jaymoryon Bryant 4-4, Deyon White 3-6, Mark Williams 4-26.

RECEIVING

T — Lyons 1-41, Williams 2-53, Marquez Edge 1-23.

PASSING

T — Randolph 4-5-0-120.

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