KINGSPORT — There are several ways in which to open a postseason adventure. Sullivan North — Kairi Thompson, in particular — decided on the most electric of options.
Thompson, the elusive senior, took the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, setting the stage for the Golden Raiders’ 34-0 win over Unicoi County in the first round of the TSSAA Class 3A playoffs at Benny Compton Field on Friday night.
A week after defeating Unicoi 48-12 to close the regular season, the Raiders were forced to turn around and do it again. It took a little more doing this time, but North, behind senior quarterback Cory Rowe and its dynamic defense, got the job done.
In advancing to the next round, the Raiders (10-1) earned a home date with West Greene. The Buffaloes (6-5) outlasted Cumberland Gap 17-12 on Friday night.
“It was a hard-fought victory,” North coach Robbie Norris said. “The goal in the playoffs is survive and advance, and that’s exactly what we did.
“The kickoff return set a good tone.”
Rowe and the defense helped keep that good tone going through the contest. Rowe threw only two passes, but carried the team with his legs. He finished with 95 yards on just seven carries.
North closed the night with 273 yards rushing on 36 carries.
For the complete story, pick up a copy of the Nov. 3 edition of the Times-News.