By TERRY HILL
DURHAM – Durham Hillside started the game by fumbling away the opening kickoff and sputtering on its first offensive possession.
That's about all that went wrong for the Hornets on Friday night.
The No.1 team in the N&O rankings stayed undefeated, cruising to an easy 43-0 road victory over Durham Riverside at Linny Wrenn Stadium.
The win also tied Hillside atop the Piedmont Athletic Conference standings at 4-0 with Northern Durham, which had a bye.
"Once again, we started slow," Hillside coach Antonio King said. "But we got in here and did what we had to do to get the victory."
The Hornets (9-0, 4-0) ran the ball easily in the first quarter with Khris Francis doing most of the damage. The 5-9 sophomore carried the ball on seven consecutive snaps, gaining 61 yards of a 9-play, 76-yard drive, which culminated in a Vad Lee 5-yard touchdown run.
After sacking Riverside's Zach Keplinger for a safety, the Hornets got an 8-yard touchdown run from Francis and a 5-yard touchdown run from Jamal Williams to extend to a 23-0 halftime advantage.
The Pirates (1-8, 1-3) started the second half on a 17-play drive that got all the way down to the Hillside 1-yard line, but Keplinger was picked off on fourth down.
The Hornets then erased any hopes of a Riverside comeback, marching 99 yards on seven plays as Lee scored on a 29-yard run.
"That was a very important drive," King said. "We went 99 yards and ate up clock. We practice starting in bad field position and it seems like they listened to me."
Jamal Williams led the Hornets with 100 yards on 8 carries and a touchdown, while Francis added 88 yards on 12 carries.