Essex downs Sunshine for first win
NEWBERN — John Essex (1-2, 1-1) used a versatile ground game and a swarming defense to ride to a 28-0 road win over Sunshine Friday night.
The Hornets got their first score of the game when Denzell Charleston broke a 35-yard run for a touchdown in the opening quarter.
Up 6-0 in the second quarter, Essex cranked up the pressure on Sunshine, enabling Demetrius Bennett to recover a fumble for a touchdown. Markiese Tucker added the two-point conversion run to put the Hornets up 14-0 going into halftime.
Essex turned to the capable legs of Charleston again in the third quarter, watching their lead back sprint 26 yards for a score. Tucker again added the two-point run to leave the Hornets up 22-0.
D.J. Bennett capped the scoring in the fourth quarter when he broke free on a 35-yard touchdown run.
“They played team ball. They were encouraging each other and that was something I hadn’t seen,” John Essex head coach Jerome Antone said. “Everybody played together and we came together as one. They played together, they encouraged each other.”
Charleston finished the night with 145 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. D.J. Bennett had 56 yards on just six carries. Tucker finished with 49 yards on seven rushing attempts while also recording 16 total tackles. Terry Fountain recorded 10 stops wile Travis Tripp came up with an interception.
John Essex will next turn to the most daunting portion of its schedule as it faces Pickens County, Sumter-Central and Maplesville over the next three weeks.