Providence star running back Julian Boddie scored three first-quarter touchdowns and the host Panthers scored on their first five possessions as they cruised past South Mecklenburg 54-18 in a 4AA first-round playoff game Friday.
Boddie scored on Providence’s second offensive play as he went around the right side and sprinted past the South Meck defense for a 31-yard touchdown. After an interception by Providence, Boddie capped a 61-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown, then scored on a 4-yard run after Providence blocked a South Meck punt.
Providence would score twice in the second quarter on Jack Cherry touchdown passes to lead 35-0 just before South Meck would get on the board on a 4-yard run by quarterback Austin Grier.
Providence would score three times in the third, the second coming on an 89-yard kickoff return by Kendren Smith. South Meck was able to score on a 75-yard pass from Grier to Andre Francois, but it wouldn’t be enough. Boddie rushed for 100 yards on the night to reach 2,000 yards for the season and was able to rest much of the second half.
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Records: Providence 10-3. South Meck 2-10
Three who mattered
Boddie: Surprise, surprise. Boddie has a combination of speed and strength that makes him tough to handle. His three first-quarter scores put the game out of reach early.
Jack Cherry: Was 17-for-21 passing for 192 yards and two touchdowns, and at one point completed 11 passes in a row in the first half.
Providence special teams: Despite missing two extra points, the Panthers blocked a punt, forced another into a bad snap, returned a punt 30 yards and finally had the 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Kendren Smith.
▪ After beating South Meck comfortably last week Providence wanted to make a statement early and did so with three Boddie touchdowns, an interception and blocked punt in the opening quarter.
▪ A bright spot for South Meck is quarterback Austin Grier. Just a freshman, Grier showed a strong arm, throwing for 279 yards and two touchdowns.
▪ Providence controlled both lines of scrimmage, holding South Meck to 23 yards rushing in the first half while allowing their offense 255 total yards in the half.
▪ The win is Providence’s fifth straight and the Panthers have averaged 47 points during the streak.
▪ Providence’s next opponent, Greensboro Page, is 10-1 and has allowed more than 20 points just once this season. Page was also the 2016 state 4AA runner-up.
▪ There was some bad blood between the two teams, as there were a combined seven unsportsmanlike penalties.
Providence will travel to Greensboro next Friday to face fourth-seeded Page in a second round game