LUMBERTON — When asked if his legs were tired after Lumberton’s 42-24 win over Hoke on Friday night, Braylan Grice started laughing.
“Yes sir,” the Pirates quarterback said.
Grice accounted for five touchdowns against the winless Bucks (0-5, 0-1 SAC), including four rushing scores to help the Pirates (2-3, 1-0) win their Sandhills Athletic Conference opener.
After a slow start, Lumberton coach Mike Setzer said he felt like he “saw something” in Grice’s eyes toward the end of the first quarter.
“I’m so proud of this young man maturing,” Setzer said. “He put us on his back and carried us. … We’re so proud of him. The offense did an excellent job, the defense played well. … I know we’re on track. This is an awesome way to come into the SAC.”
Scoring on runs of 7, 6, 3 and 2 yards, Grice got the Lumberton offense going in the second quarter with a pair of rushing touchdowns to give the Pirates a 14-6 lead at the half. He finished with 155 rushing yards on 22 carries and threw for 93 yards, including a 67-yard bomb to Kwashek Breeden to start the second half.
“The o-line did an excellent job opening up the holes for me,” Grice said. “Just taking the coaching in helped me out a lot. I just wanted to get first downs.”
Grice added his final two rushing scores in a 21-point third quarter for the Pirates, who took their biggest lead midway through the fourth quarter at 42-12 when Javonte McDougald scored on a 2-yard run.
Nykeem Shaw, who finished with three touchdowns for the Bucks, added a pair of scores in the final four minutes for the final tally. Shaw accounted for 156 yards.
“Defensively, we came out pretty good, especially after the turnover (on the opening kickoff),” Setzer said. “We talked about getting into the conference the right way. This being the first year of the new conference, it’s an awesome way to get a win.”
McDougald finished with 68 yards on 14 carries and Breeden hauled in two catches for 70 yards.
The Pirates will look for their third straight win when they host Jack Britt next Friday.
“I just have to carry the momentum into (the) Jack Britt (game),” Grice said. “I know it’s going to be a tough game, but we just have to work hard in practice every day and we’ll get the win.”
Rodd Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5182. Follow him on Twitter @RoddBaxley.