NJ wins cat fight, 25-12

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BETHEL — Senior outside linebacker Brandon Barnes returned an attempted middle screen 15 yards for a touchdown, and sophomore Camden Aycock found senior Trey Whitley on a nifty catch and run to help lift the North Johnston High varsity football team to a 25-12 win at North Pitt on Friday night.

In winning its first 2-A Eastern Plains Conference game of the year, North Johnston improved to 5-4 overall and 1-2 in EPC play. North Pitt is now 1-8 overall, 0-3 in conference play.

North Johnston, in prevailing in a battle of Panther mascots, effectively bottled up a North Pitt flexbone offense that introduced a few new variations head coach Jon Riba and staff didn’t see on film — including spread elements.

“They came out really trying to spread us out with their speed at the beginning,” Riba said. “I think defense kept us in the ballgame.”

Aycock, who played quarterback for most of the contest, scored on a five-yard run in addition to his pass to Whitley. Whitley took the short pass from Aycock and scored from some 45 yards out.

Junior fullback Diego Santiago added a 1-yard TD plunge in the second half for North Johnston, which hosts SouthWest Edgecombe in its home finale next week.