Kinston rebounded from a nightmarish start, Jeb Crosby scored two touchdowns and its defense held off Red Level 21-19 on Friday night.
Dylan Davis intercepted two passes, including a last-gasp toss in the final minute. The Bulldogs improved to 2-2 and will play at Georgiana next Friday.
Red Level returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown.
“We kicked it short and really got out of our lanes and didn’t do a good job covering,” Kinston coach Rudy Free said Saturday. “So we started on a bad note. But overall we played hard. We made a lot of mistakes – turned the ball over too much and took way to many penalties.
“We really only had about 40 offensive snaps and played a lot of defense. We did enough to win, but it wasn’t the greatest. Red Level played a good game. They played hard, too.”
The Bulldogs didn’t get down after the opening kickoff.
“We answered the right way,” Free said. “We had about an eight-play drive for a touchdown.”
The defense then forced a turnover and the offense capitalized with a short drive for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead.
Turnovers hurt Kinston and prevented the Bulldogs from building on that lead.
“We turned the ball over a couple times and gave them some short fields,” the coach said. “We stopped them on those and they missed a field goal on one drive.”
The scored stayed 14-7 through halftime, but the Bulldogs took the opening drive of the second half for a touchdown to go up 21-7.
“We just had to hold on from there,” Free said.
Kinston relied on its defense.
“We’re much improved there,” the coach said. “At times last year we couldn’t have held them out after some of those turnovers last night. I was proud of our guys for keeping them out of the end zone when we needed to.”
Davis’ second interception came with about 30 seconds left in the game on a fourth-and-9 from around midfield. That allowed Kinston to take a knee and run out the clock.
Addison Hudson rushed for 109 yards on 20 carries to lead Kinston. Crosby rushed for two touchdowns on runs of 1 and 13 yards and Hunter Hughes had two carries, including a 21-yard touchdown. Konner Walker gained 44 yards on five carries.
“Addison Hudson had a good night,” Free said. “At times, we played well. We’ve got eliminate the penalties and the turnovers.”
Follow Ken Rogers on Twitter @debamabeat.
Be the first to know
Get local news delivered to your inbox!