The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Local Sports

November 24, 2013

Albemarle tops Union Academy, advances to third round of 1A playoffs

Sunday, November 24, 2013 — There has been discussion amongst the high school football community at large regarding the use of the pod system for the state playoffs. Much of those conversations and posts on message boards indicate a dim view of what is presently in place.

Whatever system of seeding is used, the Albemarle Bulldogs function by simply playing football. Given the success culminated by the state titles the Bulldogs have enjoyed over the recent years, anything less than another state title would be considered unacceptable.

The Bulldogs had their second meeting with the Union Academy Cardinals for  Friday night's second round game. Albemarle won the previous contest over their Yadkin Valley Conference opponent during the regular season, hence, the Cardinals sought to return the favor by pulling an upset over the host Bulldogs.

This playoff game was also a rematch between two excellent quarterback to wideout connections with the Cardinals featuring Craig Twele to Malik Pando. Pando entered Friday’s game with 29 catches for 680 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Bulldogs connection featured Bryan Blanton to Timmie White, who had 33 ceptions for 1,086 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Things did not begin well for the Bulldogs as their first three possessions resulted in a missed field goal along with a fumble and interception.

These miscues led to the Cardinals putting points on the board first when quarterback Twele, on a third and one, ran a quarterback draw directly through the Bulldogs defense for 30 yards followed by an Aharon Gonzales extra point.

The Cardinals scoring got the attention of the Bulldogs quickly. On the ensuing kickoff, White, very much the gamechanger, received the kickoff at the Bulldogs 3-yard line. Through a series of athletic movements, White broke away for a 96-yard return to the Cardinals 1-yard line, enabling Germarcus Sellers to score on the next play, tying the game at 7-7.

Albemarle did not lose their attention in the second quarter as the Bulldogs lit up the scoreboard with four touchdowns and holding the Cardinals to only one touchdown.

Sellers was also a gamechanger with his 166 yards on 17 touches and three trips to the end zone. Blanton was quite the achiever as he had three touchdown passes and was 9 of 17 for 240 yards and also ran for a 65 yard touchdown on a quarterback draw.

Touchdown passes were also caught by White, Andre Ridenhour and Jalyn Lilly. Freshman Jacobi Emery also contributed to the scoring effort with a 19 yard right-side sweep to the house.

For every time that Union Academy scored, the Bulldogs constantly responded with plays resulting in touchdowns as well as eight extra points for placekicker Mason Krol.

Albemarle would go on to win its second-round game by the score of 62-21.

Despite the fumbles, nine penalties and tailback K.J. McKinney being shaken up in the second period, Albemarle displayed resilience on both sides of the football.

Union Academy's offense has great athletes at the skill positions, which made it necessary for the Bulldogs "Oak Tree" defense to be spot on for four quarters of football. Four interceptions and four sacks by the Bulldogs defense gave indication that they were very much focused after their shaky start.

“We started off slow but found some rhythm offensively and played well except for our turnovers. Defensively, it was a group effort and kept us in the game until our offense could get on track,” Albemarle head coach Seth Smith said.

Albemarle continues its run in the state 1A playoffs as they face the South Robeson Mustangs this Friday night. The Mustangs came from behind to defeat a West Columbus squad led by former West Stanly head coach Mark Little by a score of 42-22. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

UA    7    6    8    0    21

A    7    28    13    14    62

UA – Craig Twele 30 run (Aharon Gonzales kick), 4:13, 1st

A – Germarcus Sellers 1 run (Mason Krol kick), 3:51, 1st

A – Sellers 34 run (Krol kick), 11:50, 2nd

A – Blanton 65 run (Krol kick), 9:45, 2nd

A – Jaylyn Lilly 12 pass from Bryan Blanton (Krol kick), 5:11, 2nd

A – White 60 pass from Blanton (Krol kick), 3:22,2nd

UA – Walters 3 run (kick blocked), 1:42,2nd

UA – Schneider 22 pass from Twele (Walters run), 8:55, 3rd

A – Sellers 5 run (kick failed), 7:03, 3rd

A – Andre Ridenhour 47 pass from Blanton (Krol kick), 3:55,3rd

A – Emery 19 run (Krol kick), 6:55,4th

A – Sellers 14 run (Krol kick), 1:54,4th

Team Stats

    UA    A

1st Downs    13    15

Rushing    28-91    38-284

Passing    156    240

C-A-I    13-36-4    9-15-1

Punts    6-43.5    1-38.0

Penalties    3-25    9-95

Fum-Lst.    2-2    6-4

3rd Down    2-10    2-5

4th Down    0-0    0-0

T.O.P.    23:32    24:28

Individual Statistics

Rushing: UA – Twele 10-87; Walters 2-5; Pando 3-(-1), Zupetz 4-0. A – Sellers 17-166, 3 TD; Blanton 11-50, TD; Emery 5-40, TD; McKinney 4-22; Mack 1-6.

Passing: UA – Twele 13-36,156 yds., TD, 4 int. A – Blanton 9-15, 240 yds., 3 TD, 1 int..

Receiving: UA – Schnieder 4-43 ,TD; Pando 3-30; Pautz 3-61; Walters 2-25; Heyward 1-(-3). A – White 3-75, TD; Sellers 2-55; Brafford 2-31; Ridenhour 1-47, TD; Lilly 1-32, TD.

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