Vipers strike Panthers 40-30 behind Burwell’s 5 TD passes

Updated: October 19, 2019

HENDERSON–For the first time in weeks, Orange had something that they had been completely bereft of.


They had rallied from a 20-0 deficit after yet another awful start on the road with 17 consecutive points against Vance County. After Elliott Woods scored his third touchdown of the year early in the third quarter, Jake DeFranco picked off a pass, giving Orange a chance to take the lead in pursuit of its first road win in exactly 364 days.

Then they squandered it all away in record time.

The Panthers proceeded to get called for four personal foul/unsportsmanlike conduct penalties after Woods’ touchdown, which killed its rhythm and poise.

Samein Burwell made sure the Panthers never regained it.

After a Nigel Slanker punt, Burwell tossed to Kemarrous Jones for a 19 yard touchdown pass on 2nd-and-goal.

On the night he was crowned Homecoming King, Burwell threw for a career-high 406 yards and five touchdowns to push Vance County over Orange 40-30 at Viper Stadium.

Burwell also rushed for the Vipers’ only touchdown on the ground. His previous career high of 369 yards came against J.F. Webb on September 6. Vance County (7-1, 3-1) tied Northern Durham for second place in the Big 8 Conference. The Vipers travel to Durham County Stadium next Friday.

Orange needed a win to keep hopes of a winning season alive. Instead, a clearly frustrated Coach Van Smith walked to the team bus agitated about his defense yielding a season-high 494 yards, his team’s overall lack of discipline (102 yards in penalties) and the increasing likelihood of sitting home during the state playoffs for the second year in a row.

“We are completely not in a good mental state right now as a group of young men,” Smith said. “We started the game about as bad as you can possibly start a game.”

Orange’s Machai Holt rushed for 48 yards and two touchdowns. With Orange trailing 20-0, offensive coordinator Marty Scotten opened things up in the second quarter. That led to senior quarterback Wyatt Jones tying his season-high with ten completions for 102 yards.

Kemarrous Jones, who came into the game with 12 receptions on the year, finished with seven catches for a career-high 139 yards and two touchdowns. Late in the third quarter with the Vipers backed up to its own 10-yard line, Burwell found Jones on a slant for a 84-yard gain, stopped by a hustling Joe Kiger at the goal line. Burwell found Davonte Evans over the middle for a two-yard score moments later.

Orange, which has dropped five straight road games, got off to another bad start. The Vipers drove 79-yard on its opening drive. Burwell found William Hawkins on a 36-yard gain for Vance’s first of many trips into Panther real estate. On 3rd-and-6, Burwell found Jones for a 13-yard touchdown. Burwell and Jones hooked up again on the ensuing two-point conversion.

On the Vipers’ second drive, Phadol Jordan caught a 49-yard touchdown pass from Burwell. Kicker Khalil Kingsburgy followed with what may or may not have been an intentional onside kick, which was recovered by Vance’s Ta’Quon Lions.

The Orange defense stood on the following possession, but proceeded to fumble on its next two possessions. The second fumble took place at the Orange 9-yard line, recovered by Demarius Harris. Burwell scored on a 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line.

Orange started its rally on a 11-play, 67-yard drive. Jones hit Holt for a 16-yard pass. On 3rd-and-4, Holt bounced off his own offensive line and stretched around left end for a touchdown.

The Panthers’ Will Torain recovered a fumble by Jordan on the next Viper possession. Slanker kicked a 31-yard field goal to narrow Vance’s lead to 20-10 at halftime.

Holt scored on a three-yard run late in the third quarter.

In the final stanza, Orange’s Joe Kiger picked off a Burwell pass. On the next play, Jones hit Omarion Lewis on a 40-yard catch-and-run touchdown.

In the final two minutes, Orange drove to the Viper red zone trailing 40-30. But Jones’ pass for Kiger was picked off by La’Maurice Bridges.

The Panthers return home to face Northwood next Thursday for Homecoming, but the sting of this loss was evident on the faces of players and coaches, alike.

Two months ago, Orange stood toe-to-toe with Eastern Alamance during a scrimmage in Mebane, where each team scored the same amount of touchdowns. Now, the Eagles are the #8 team in the state. Orange is on its way to a second straight losing season.

“We’re better than a five-win football team,” Smith said. “We just have to get out of our own way. We completely stripped the momentum away from ourself. We want to win. But we have a lot of issues with our discipline. It’s got to change.”


O– 0 10 14 6–30

VC-14 6 14 6–40

VC—Kemarrous Jones 7 pass from Samein Burwell (Burwell to Jones)

VC—Phadol Jordan 49 pass from Burwell (pass failed)

VC-Burwell 1 run (pass failed)

OR—Machai Holt 5 run (Nigel Slanker kick)

OR—Slanker 31 FG

OR—Elliott Woods 9 run (Slanker kick)

VC—Jones 19 pass from Burwell (pass failed)

VC—Rashad Evans 2 pass from Burwell (Burwell to K.Jones)

OR–Holt 3 run (Slanker kick)

VC—Noah Terry 70 pass from Burwell (pass failed)

OR-Omarion Lewis 40 pass from Wyatt Jones (pass failed)

RUSHING: VANCE COUNTY 18-10 (Evans 8-16, Terry 2-1, Burwell 8-(minus 7) TD.

ORANGE: 35-148 3 TD (Holt 12-48 2TD, W. Jones 4-44, Woods 10-27 TD, Lewis 9-29)

PASSING: VANCE COUNTY (Burwell 21-30 406 5 TD 3 INT) ORANGE 11-31 163 TD, 2INT (W. Jones 13-26 141 TD 2INT, Slanker 1-3 22)

RECEIVING: VANCE COUNTY (K. Jones 7-139 2 TD, William Hawkins 4-75, Jordan 3-59 TD, Terry 2-75 TD, Kevon Burton 2-39, Evans 2-17 TD, Ta’Quon Lyons 1-2)

ORANGE: (Lewis 3-55 TD, Woods 3-38, Cam White 3-11, Joe Kiger 2-28, Holt 2-23, Zyon Pettiford 1-8)

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