North Duplin High School’s Luis Olivos and Saul Mendoza both scored three touchdowns as an injury-ridden Lejeune High School football team took a 43-0 non-conference loss at home on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Sept. 13.
The Devil Pups (1-3) were without their standout quarterback, Darnell Collins, who had previously accounted for six touchdowns in Lejeune’s first two games prior to suffering a hip injury. Lejeune wideout Zach Furness, one of the team’s top offensive threats, was also sidelined on Friday with a shoulder injury.
After missing multiple practices due to Hurricane Dorian, and playing a rescheduled game on Monday night at Lakewood, Lejeune came out unfresh. North Duplin (2-1) marched right down the field on its first drive of the game, covering 73 yards on nine plays to take a quick 7-0 lead on an Olivos touchdown followed by a Mendoza extra point.
On Lejeune’s first offensive snap, the Devil Pups fumbled a handoff that was recovered by the Rebels on the Lejeune 15-yard line. Four plays later, Olivos snuck into the end zone to make it 13-0 after five minutes of play.
North Duplin scored on their next two possessions following a Lejeune turnover on downs and a punt from Sam Perdue. The Rebels had accrued a 25-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Lejeune was threatening to score early in the second quarter when Jacob Livesay broke a 45-yard run down to the Rebels’ 4 yard line, but the Devil Pups were unable to punch it in. The drive halted when a pass from Livesay was intercepted by North Duplin’s D.J. Simmons at the goal line.
North Duplin went on to score two more first-half touchdowns, both by Mendoza, and added another in the third from Olivos to seal the victory and put Lejeune away for good 43-0.
Despite suffering a shutout loss at home, Lejeune had flashes of brilliance versus North Duplin, like Livesay’s long run. The Lejeune defense recovered two fumbles and stopped the Rebels on all four of their two-point conversion attempts.
Jonathan Delle, Lejeune’s first-year head coach, thought that his team fought hard given the adverse circumstances of missing practices and playing two games in one week.
“Considering how worn out they were from [Monday’s game at Lakewood], and through the week trying to recuperate and get back into the rhythm to try and play again tonight, they did the best they could,” Delle said.
The Devil Pups also saw some good things out of Dillon Turner and Livesay, who both stepped in at quarterback in Collins’ absence.
“Considering [Livesay and Turner] haven’t had a lot of time behind the snap, they’re actually pretty good overall,” Delle said.
Livesay finished the game with 80 rushing yards and 50 passing yards, accounting for 130 of Lejeune’s 184 yards.
The banged up Devil Pups are thankful to be going into their bye week this week so they can heal up and get ready to take on Croatan at home on Sept. 27 to open up conference play.
Moving forward, Lejeune will focus on getting better in all aspects of the game to give them opportunities to pick up more wins this seasons, according to senior cornerback and receiver Navar Hickman.
“Everybody needs to be healthy [for us to win],” Hickman said. “We need to progress more overall, everywhere – on defense, on offense and on special teams.”
Olivos gained 183 yards on 18 carries as Mendoza rushed for 84 yards on 14 attempts for North Duplin in the win.
NDHS – Olivos 3-yard TD run; Mendoza PAT good (7-0, 8:49)
NDHS – Olivos 3-yard TD run; PAT no good (13-0, 7:05)
NDHS – Mendoza 2-yard TD run; 2 pt. conversion failed (19-0, 4:25)
NDHS – Simmons 15-yard TD run; 2 pt. conversion failed (25-0, 1:39)
NDHS – Mendoza 5-yard TD run; 2 pt. conversion failed (31-0, 4:06)
NDHS – Mendoza 2-yard TD run; 2 pt. conversion failed (37-0, 1:12)
NDHS – Olivos 7-yard TD run; Mendoza PAT no good (43-0, 4:11)
NDHS: 25 12 6 0 – 43
LHS: 0 0 0 0 – 0