Andrews hopes to finish winning formula
It’s becoming familiar now for the T.W. Andrews football team — dominate in the first two games of the postseason and cruise into the third round with all the momentum its needs.
The Red Raiders eased to victory Friday night, defeating North Brunswick 39-0 in the second round of the NCHSAA 2AA playoffs. The team now focuses on doing something it was not able to do last season in the third round of the playoffs — finish.
“It’s been our motto this season and in the playoffs. Finish.” head coach Rodney McKoy said.
McKoy’s offense was stellar — with all eyes on standout running back Marquell Cartwright, the air attack opened up for senior quarterback Lamar Raynard. Raynard hit favorite target Justin Lea three times for touchdowns, and totaled 163 yards in the air.
The Red Raiders scored twice on just four plays from scrimmage, catapulting to a 12-0 lead — something it’s managed to do all season.
“I give all the credit to the guys around me.” Raynard said. “Guys were blocking well, running good routes, getting open.”
Raynard had his way with the North Brunswick secondary, taking advantage of mismatches on the outside. Lea, a senior wide receiver, beat his defender all three times for easy touchdowns of 75, 57 and 22 yards, respectively.
“Their safety was in the box, five yards off the line of scrimmage. I guess because they wanted to stop the run game, but it really opened up the pass game.” Raynard said.
Cartwright kept the safeties and linebackers honest. His first carry produced a 66-yard touchdown run. He added 13 more carries to total 214 yards.
“We’re just playing Andrews football. I think we are all really thinking about finishing at this point.” Cartwright said.
By halftime, Andrews had a 19-0 lead with two additional opportunities to score stopped by turnovers. Raynard threw an interception on the goal line and Cartwright fumbled in the red zone.
“Mistakes happen. They did a good job of not letting that affect them.” McKoy said. “I do think this week we’re going to work on our ball handling in practice.”
Defensively, the Red Raiders pitched their second shutout of the season and held the Scorpions to just one trip to the red zone. Andrews got great individual performances from cornerback Carlos Manning (two interceptions) and linebacker Mark Love (two sacks).
North quarterback Randy Clark struggled throwing the ball, completing only one pass on the night.
“It’s been one of our strong points of our team this season, for sure.” McKoy said about the defense.
Three scores in the third quarter gave the Red Raiders a comfortable lead, and McKoy pulled his starters at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
“This team has to finish. We’re here to make it happen.” McKoy said. His team is in the same situation as it was last postseason, when Andrews blew a 21-point lead and lost in the fourth quarter to Sailsbury, a game that everyone seems to admit is still in the back of their minds.
“We’re definitely going to practice hard this week, probably even harder. It’s all about finishing.” Raynard said.
Next up will be Jacksonville Northside Friday night at Simeon Stadium. When asked how much he knows about the next opponent and the road Andrews faces for its first state title since 1991, McKoy answered candidly.
“Nothing. I know nothing. I actually haven’t even looked at the brackets, to be honest. I can only chase one rabbit at a time.”
T.W. Andrews 39, North Brunswick 0
N. Brunswick 0 0 0 0 — 0
TW Andrews 12 7 20 0 — 39
TWA – Cartwright 66 yard rush (PAT failed) 9:25
TWA – Lea 75 yard pass from Raynard (Conversion failed) 5:37
TWA – Galloway 9 yard pass from Raynard (Rucker kick) 3:22
TWA – Lea 57 yard pass from Raynard (Rucker kick) 10:06
TWA – Lea 22 yard pass from Raynard (PAT failed) 6:34
TWA – Murray 4 yard run (Rucker kick) 4:24