WILSON — Farmville Central’s fortunes turned out no better in the second meeting in three weeks with Beddingfield, but this loss ended the Jaguars’ season.
The Bruins struck for a touchdown pass late in the first half and returned an interception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to seal a 23-12 win in the opening round of the Class 2-AA state football playoffs. Beddingfield (8-4) advances to play the winner of Friday’s game between Ayden-Grifton and Wallace-Rose Hill. The Jaguars end their season at 5-7.
The Bruins defeated the Jaguars 42-21 on Oct. 27 in an Eastern Plains 2-A Conference game. The highly scrutinized playoff brackets pitted the conference foes against one another in the opening round.
The rematch followed a similar script of the first meeting in which Beddingfield rallied from a 13-7 halftime deficit with a big second half.
On a damp and chilly Thursday night, the fourth-seeded Bruins found themselves down late in the first half before storming back. Beddingfield took a 3-0 lead on Jose Cabrera’s career-long 36-yard field goal at the 1:08 mark of the first quarter, but the 13th-seeded Jaguars answered for their only lead at 6-3 on a 31-yard pass from junior quarterback Jay Leavelle to senior Bryan Reid with 4:21 left in the half. The extra point failed.
The Bruins scored with 2:47 left in the half on a 45-yard pass from senior quarterback Sean Jones to sophomore Jalil Hutcherson for a 10-6 lead.
Farmville Central staged a goal-line stand late in the third quarter to keep the margin at four, but Beddingfield took over at the Jaguars’ 45 after a punt and scored in three plays for a 16-6 lead with 9:21 left. Senior Marcus Parker scored on a 21-yard dash one play after a 24-yard run by Hutcherson.
The Bruins sealed it when junior Zion Hinnant returned an interception 54 yards for a touchdown, pushing the lead to 23-6.
Jaden Johnson scored on an 8-yard run with 2:06 to go for the Jaguars. A 39-yard halfback pass from Johnson to freshman Dontavious Short set up the final touchdown. Beddingfield senior Mitchell McCoy stopped the two-point try, then recovered the onside kickoff.