Northern Nash’s Kameron Johnson

Northern Nash’s Kameron Johnson, left, is caught from behind by Vance County’s Phadol Jordan as he runs the ball Thursday in the first round of an NCHSAA 3-A state playoffs game at Northern Nash High School. For complete coverage of this and other local high school playoffs games, go to rockymounttelegram.com.

It is appropriate to think that snakes would be able to survive in Death Valley. However, the Vipers of Vance County High School lost the battle and the war tonight against the Knights of Northern Nash in the first round of the Class 3-A playoffs.

No. 8 Northern Nash won, 54-30. It was the Knights’ first playoff win since 2010, the last time they hosted a playoff game.

No. 9 Vance County (9-3) came into the game no underdog as it found success throughout the regular season in the Big 8 Conference. Vipers quarterback Samein Burwell entered the game with over 2,500 passing yards and 31 touchdowns through the air. The Viper passing and rushing game was evenly distributed throughout the season as players like Phadol Jordan, Davonte Evans, and Noah Terry contributed to Burwell’s stats while the team combined for 21 rushing touchdowns. An impressive stat that was only matched by a single player on the other side of the ball.

Northern Nash’s premier rusher Amir Pittman-Williams brought his dominance tonight on the field as he rushed for 191 yards and a season-high five rushing touchdowns.

The Knights (8-4) also had help on the ground from their constantly improving quarterback Kameron Johnson. He was able to rush for 184 yards and score three touchdowns. His performance on offense carried over to the defensive side of the ball. Playing safety, he was able to intercept two passes from Vance County’s Burwell. Alongside Johnson were Austin Curtis and Michael Bunn who were tackling machines, as the defense the defense was able to hold Davonte Evans and Noah Terry in check on the ground.

Outside of two quick scores to begin the game and a few garbage touchdowns near the end of the game, Northern Nash’s defense kept the opposition from running up the scoreboard. Unlikely as it may have seemed before kickoff, the Vipers were overmatched tonight and appeared to be as tired as Northern Nash’s cheerleaders who ended up doing hundreds of scoreboard jumping jacks throughout the game.

With the win, Northern Nash will travel to top-seeded Southern Nash in the second round of the 3-A playoffs.