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Aces, Knights meet again after classic game

Edenton beat Currituck in final minute last year

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John A. Holmes' Mitjonta Stanley (with ball) during the football game against Pasquotank, Tuesday September 10, 2019 at John A. Holmes High School.

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By David Gough
Sports Writer

Friday, September 20, 2019

If it wasn’t the best high school football game played in the area last season, it was at least one of them.

John A. Holmes and Currituck, two teams already bound for the state playoffs, played in a game that went down to the wire in an unusual November non-conference contest, thanks to weather postponing it from its original September date.

On the road, the John A. Holmes Aces needed a 38-yard touchdown pass from Kentreaz Coston to Keenan Downing in the final minute to win 28-24.

“For us to win that game would (have) been a huge notch for the football program,” Currituck head coach Paul Bossi said. “Our kids worked really hard and I felt they deserved that victory.”

The Knights, who came in with a 7-3 record, were in the midst of their best season in five years and came back from an 11-point deficit to take 17-14 and 24-21 leads in the game against a one-loss Edenton team.

John A. Holmes’ last-minute touchdown, however, gave the Aces their ninth consecutive win over Currituck.

The Knights will have a shot to end that streak tonight when they head to Edenton for a 7:30 p.m. start time against John A. Holmes (3-0).

Bossi noted that he’d like to see his team come out of the gate a little stronger than they did last season against the Aces to avoid the early double-digit deficit.

He pointed to special teams playing a key factor in tonight’s game and the added presence of Edenton’s star running back Mitjonta Stanley being a concern in the backfield.

Stanley rushed for 217 yards and two touchdowns against Currituck (2-1) last season.

“Any time he touches the ball, it’s a threat and there’s a very good chance he can take it all the way to the house,” Bossi said.

The Knights’ running back situation is less of a sure thing until game time, when Bossi said it will be known whether junior Traveon Powell can play.

Powell, a key member of Currituck’s backfield, injured his ankle in the first quarter of last week’s road game at Hickory (Va.).

He was out for the rest of the game and it impacted the Knights offense as Hickory won 20-0 for Currituck’s first loss of the season.

Bossi noted there were other issues that needed to be worked on following the defeat.

“We’re not where we want to be and we have a lot of work to do,” he said. “We’ve found some weaknesses that we need to work on and we’ve been working to rectify those.”

John A. Holmes is looking to remain unbeaten tonight and coach Paul Hoggard is happy to be back to a normal week of practice.

The Aces played two games in four days last week. They defeated Pasquotank 48-0 on a Tuesday night and First Flight 56-6 three days later.

“Felt good to have a normal week and we sure needed one with a team as good as Currituck,” Hoggard said.

The coach credited the Knights for the challenge they gave John A. Holmes last year as it was the Aces’ smallest margin of victory all of 2018.

Edenton is off to yet another strong with three straight wins to begin the season. Its smallest margin of victory is a 42-point win over Bertie to begin the year.

Stanley has 13 carries for 278 yards and eight touchdowns in the first three games. Sophomore quarterback has only thrown five passes, but he’s completed each of them for 100 yards and two touchdowns.

“I feel like we have gotten better each game,” Hoggard said. “We have progressed in all phases as we’ve gone through the season like you hope you’d do. Still a long way to go to where we want to be, but we’re getting better.”

PREDICTIONS

John A. Holmes 34, Currituck 20.

Camden 28, Weldon 20.

Pasquotank 28, Bear Grass Charter 12.

Northeastern 37, Rocky Mount 31.

Perquimans 44, Hampton Roads (Va.) 14.

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