MINT HILL Independence junior quarterback Kelvin Hopkins says the Patriots treat every game the same no matter who they are playing.
They wasted no time Friday night, piling up 489 yards of total offense, including 370 yards on the ground to roll to a 69-0 victory against East Mecklenburg in the Southwestern 4A conference opener for both teams.
“We try to play and focus on every game the same way,” Hopkins said. “We want to dominate and go 100 percent the whole game. We want this to be a typical Independence game.”
After back-to-back close losses to West Meck (40-33) and Hough (28-27), the Patriots (4-2, 1-0) were eager to get back on the winning track.
Hopkins led the way on the first drive, passing for the first 63 yards and then running for last nine for a touchdown to put his team up 7-0 just three minutes into the game.
After East Meck running back Raheim Pitt fumbled on the next drive, Patriots senior tailback Isaiah Robinson led a six-play drive of all runs down the field. But Hopkins finished it off again, fumbling the snap, then picking it up and running three yards for another score and a 14-0 advantage.
After an Eagle three-and-out, Independence punt returner Deion Washington took the ball back 67 yards for a score and a 21-0 lead.
Hopkins, who also had 170 yards passing and a touchdown pass, completed his hat trick of first quarter touchdown runs on the Patriots’ fourth drive of the game, this time pulling the ball from the belly of Robinson on a read option and rushing 35 yards untouched down the left sideline.
“We were focused on doing all the little things right tonight, from start to finish,” Independence football coach Joe Evans said. “We want to play every play like it’s 0-0 and I thought we did that.”
What Hopkins started, Wake Forest commit Robinson finished in the second and third quarters, tacking on three touchdowns runs of his own. He had 152 yards rushing despite only getting 10 carries on the night.
East Mecklenburg (0-6) moved the ball at times. Junior quarterback David Allen passed for 105 yards, while Bokar Diaby had nine catches for 58 yards.
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