Panthers turned back in first round

The North Johnston boys soccer team was defeated 1-0 by visiting Southwest Onslow last week in the opening round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2A state playoffs.

With 31 minutes remaining, the Stallions took the lead when Wade Runyon assisted Gavin Draper on his 12th goal of the season to push the fourth-place team out of the Coastal 8 Conference and 25th-seeded Southwest Onslow out in front.

In the physical contest, creating clear scoring chances didn’t come easy for the Panthers but Ty Narron found the crossbar from about 20 yards out with about 10 minutes remaining for one of North Johnston’s best chances on goal in a late flurry.

Adolfo Rosales struck a free kick in the final five minutes towards goal only to see it barely sail over the top of the frame.

The Panthers (13-11-1) were champions of the Eastern Plains Conference but the early exit in the playoffs prevented the team from achieving its other goal of the season.

“It hurts because our team had two goals this season… to win the conference, which we did, and make it at least to the 3rd round,” said North Johnston coach Jody Edwards. “So, it hurts because something we worked so hard for is not going to happen.”

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