LOUISBURG -- Each Northern Carolina Conference victory provides another step toward the state playoffs -- and Louisburg took a huge one Friday against league opponent Roanoke Rapids.
The streaking Warriors, who have now won four of their past five outings, pulled away from the visiting Jackets in the second half on their way to registering a 33-14 conquest at historic Patterson Field on the LHS campus.
Louisburg is now 4-3 overall and 1-1 in the NCC, and the Warriors' overall mark has them looking good in the race for a possible postseason berth. RRHS dropped to 2-4 and 0-2.
The contest featured an interesting mix of long drives and big plays -- and the outcome wasn't decided until Louisburg was able to impose its will both offensively and defensively down the stretch.
Louisburg opened the scoring with a masterful march on its second series as the Warriors went 59 yards on a whopping 18 plays for a touchdown. After converting a pair of fourth-down situations, the Warriors broke through on a seven-yard cutback run from Xavier Jones on the first play of the second stanza of action.
The 2-point run off the swinging gate formation was not successful, but LHS still had gained an early 6-0 margin.
Just before halftime, Louisburg struck again as, after a fourth-down defensive stand, star quarterback Jaheim Brown threw a perfect pass to Joron Davis from 31 yards out for the second TD of the game. Elijah Mitchell tacked on the 2-point run, and it appeared as if the Warriors would carry a 14-0 advantage into the break.
Only 50 seconds remained in the first half, but the Jackets used their passing game, along with two costly LHS penalties, to move into the red zone. With time running out, RR signal-caller Isaiah Robinson tossed a finesse pass to Marquez Majette for a 2-yard touchdown on the final play from scrimmage before intermission.
RR looked to continue its momentum on the opening surge of the second half, only to be thwarted by Louisburg's fourth-down stop from the Warriors' 29-yard line.
Two snaps later, Mitchell went left on a handoff before cutting back to the right and outrunning the Jackets' defense en route to an electric 66-yard touchdown burst that gave the Warriors some space at 20-7.
Louisburg, however, wasn't able to enjoy its double-digit lead for long as, on RR's next play from scrimmage, Robinson turned a simple keeper to the right into a 53-yard scoring burst, and RR was back within 20-14 at the 8:35 mark of the third frame.
But LHS' big-play capability would make a difference one more time on its next series. Brown, facing a third-and-11 situation, was able to shake out of the pocket before finding Tandre Davis near the first-down marker.
Davis somehow caught the ball between a pair of Jackets' defenders, but he wasn't done yet. Instead, Davis slithered through the defensive backs before suddenly finding himself all alone up the sideline on his way to completing a 68-yard scoring play.
Now ahead 26-14 midway through the third quarter, Louisburg turned to its defense as Turan Alston ended a Roanoke Rapids march with an interception deep in his club's territory -- and returned it all the way out to the Warriors' 43-yard line.
LHS would then turn to its ground game to seal the deal, and a fourth-quarter touchdown would serve as a clincher -- and take the Warriors one step closer to a postseason position.
The Warriors will remain at home next Friday to celebrate homecoming versus league foe Oxford Webb.