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Quick start enough for Charging Wildcats against Lions

North Little Rock had a tough time putting away Little Rock McClellan on Friday night, but in the end, it had more than enough firepower to get the job done.

The No. 4-ranked Charging Wildcats jumped out to a 28-point halftime lead and got a big night from running back John James to beat the Crimson Lions 48-30.

James carried six times for 105 yards and a touchdown to power North Little Rock (2-0), which had six players finish with at least 30 yards rushing apiece and piled up 376 yards of total offense. Quarterback David Chapple added 35 yards on the ground and completed 8 of 16 passes for 100 yards.

However, North Little Rock Coach Jamie Mitchell wasn't at all happy with his team's performance, particularly on defense.

[HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SCOREBOARD: Full results + recaps, photos and more]

"We did not play very good football in any facet of the game," Mitchell said. "Not to take anything away from McClellan because they played a good game. But we were flat from the get-go.

"We didn't play a good game anywhere. ... Offense, defense, kicking game, you name it. It was just really frustrating."

One of Mitchell's roots of frustration centered around his team's defense. McClellan (1-1), which lost to North Little Rock 52-20 last season, finished with 440 yards of offense, including 300 yards rushing. Running back Tommy Crumpton carried 11 times for 123 yards while teammate Andre Campbell added 65 yards.

North Little Rock, though, had little trouble early on and scored 21 points in the first quarter on just two offensive snaps. James took a handoff down the right sideline for an 80-yard touchdown on the game's first play to give the Charging Wildcats a 7-0 lead. After forcing McClellan into a quick three-and-out, Aaron Griffin blocked a punt and Emanuel Barnum returned it 20 yards for a score to push North Little Rock's advantage to 14-0.

But the Lions answered on their next possession, finishing off a 10-play, 91-yard drive with a 26-yard touchdown run from Campbell. Quarterback Bennie Kemp ran in the two-point conversion to pull McClellan to within 14-8.

North Little Rock returner Erion Cooney then returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards to the Lions' 3 before running back Tyler Day scored one play later.

Chapple pushed North Little Rock's lead to 27-8 with his one-yard touchdown with 6:25 left in the second quarter, and his 22-yard score at the 2:48 mark gave the Charging Wildcats a 34-8 lead at halftime.

McClellan sliced into its deficit quickly in the third quarter. Crumpton sprinted 78 yards for a touchdown on the initial play, pulling the Lions within 34-16 before North Little Rock re-established control on the next series by moving 62 yards on 13 plays and getting a four-yard touchdown run from running back Oscar Adaway. The Charging Wildcats led 48-16 after Chapple's 23-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Deontae Montgomery.

The Lions, again, fought back in the fourth quarter and got late touchdowns from Campbell and running back Tyrse Lair to make things closer.

"You should see a big improvement from Week 1 to Week 2, and it just didn't happen," Mitchell said. "We had tons of busts on both sides of the ball. ... We just didn't play well at all. But we'll get better."

Sports on 09/09/2017

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