Southern Durham shutout of Hillside highlights second week of Triangle high school football

Southern Durham defeated Hillside 14-0 in the annual renewal of one the Triangle’s brightest shining intra-city rivalries. This game, which has history at multiple venues (including both schools and NC Central’s O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium) was staged, again, at the storied Durham County Stadium including Willie Bradshaw Field — the latter named after the late legendary Durham Public Schools athletics administrator who is a member of the National High School Sports Hall Of Fame.

The game’s 14 points marked the rivalry’s lowest-scoring total since Hillside won 7-3 in 2016. The outcome included the series’ first shutout since September 21, 2007, when Southern Durham prevailed 14-0. The Spartans’ win was their first in the series since 2019 (pre-pandemic).

Turnovers and takeaways kept Friday’s game close, as both teams had multiple opportunities to alter momentum. A second quarter, opening minute fumble recovery by Southern Durham’s Jordan Glover put the Spartans at the Hornets’ 13-yard line. Jalen McKee’s four-yards touchdown run (before a blocked extra point) accounted for Southern Durham’s first six points.

Soutern Durham’s <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Isaiah Campbell;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Isaiah Campbell</a> (42) congratulates Elisha Roberts (57) after a play during the first half. The Southern Durham Spartans and the Hillside Hornets met in a non-conference football game at Durham County Stadium on August 25, 2023. Steven Worthy/

The Spartans moved the football inside the Hillside five-yard line before a personal foul penalty backed the pigskin to the Hornets’ 19. Spartans’ quarterback Jordan McClure rectified the situation with a 19-yards touchdown pass to Amir Hall inside the third quarter’s last minute. Freshman Jonathan Dillon, lined up at quarterback, completed the subsequent two-point conversion to set Southern Durham’s and the game’s final score with 48 seconds in the stanza.

The Hornets were not done. Hillside’s Erick Bonner returned the next kickoff to the Spartans’ 22. A Hornets fumble on the first play was recovered by Southern Durham’s Kristopher Watson, whose nearly 80-yards run for a touchdown was negated by a block in the back.

Hillside had another chance inside the six-minutes mark when a takeaway by Matthew Smith set the Hornets at the Spartans’ 24. A Watson sack and subsequent fumble recovery by Isaiah Campbell returned possession to Southern Durham.

Hillside, then, found itself at the Spartans’ 15 with less than one minute to play. Southern Durham’s Khalil Coath intercepted a pass, after which the Spartans’ offense returned to the field to set its victory formation.

Fuquay-Varina tops Apex

Fuquay-Varina’s 28-19 win at Apex was a welcome outcome for the Bengals after last’s week’s three-point loss to Middle Creek. Fuquay-Varina is looking to reverse its close game fortunes from 2022 when the Bengals lost four regular season games by a total 24 points. Fuquay-Varina’s Malcolm Ziglar, a North Carolina recruit, accounted for rushing, receiving, and defensive (fumble recovery and return) touchdowns in his team’s road win.

Garner wins home opener

New Garner coach Deron Donald led the Trojans to a 29-19 win over Middle Creek in Donald’s Trojans Stadium debut. Garner evened its record at 1-1 after a two-points setback at Holly Springs on August 18.

Leesville Road’s Goldston sparkles

Leesville Road quarterback Deiondre Goldston has sparkled like the color in his name through the Pride’s first two contests. Goldston has completed 33 of 45 passes (73 percent) for five touchdowns (zero interceptions) among wins versus Wakefield and Panther Creek, respectively.

Cleveland makes another statement

Cleveland improved to 2-0 by defeating perennially strong Heritage 42-26, one week after an eight-point win at Hoggard (Wilmington).

Rams wide receiver Zalin Ingram has covered 297 yards on 10 catches among two games.

Next Friday

Garner’s visit to Millbrook next Friday will mark historic turns for both programs. For the first time in 40 years, the Trojans and Wildcats will be led by first-year coaches at each school, with neither coach having ties to legendary coaches Hal Stewart (Garner) or Earl Smith (Millbrook).

Trojans coach Deron Donald and Wildcats coach Laymar Marshall both are proven head coaches. Donald succeeded Thurman Leach, who spent three-plus decades at the school, including most of that time as an assistant to Stewart, and then Nelson Smith.

Marshall, named Millbrook’s coach after the Wildcats had an interim coach in 2022, is the school’s first permanent coach to coach a game since Clarence Inscore, who retired in 2021. Inscore played under Smith while a Millbrook student-athlete, and succeeded Smith in 2001.