By Dan O'Neal, for the SNAP
Sunday, November 10, 2013 —
North Stanly entered Friday’s contest against Union Academy on the Cardinals’ senior night with a guaranteed berth into the state playoffs, North’s first trip since the 1993 season.
The Comets also sought to win the most games in a regular season since the 1964 campaign. North accomplished this goal, soundly defeating the Cardinals on the road 38-6.
North Stanly (8-3 6-2), was paced by two Noah Crisco touchdown passes, 233 yards rushing and two TDs by Antonio Williams, and fumble returns for touchdowns by T.J. Smith and Landon Mullis.
After deferring to receive the kickoff until the second half, the Comets limited the Cardinals to six plays on their first possession. From there, North controlled the clock for 14 plays and five minutes and twenty-two seconds as the Comets scored with a seven yard right sweep to the end zone by Williams.
North held Union Academy again to a three and out and scored again in the first frame on a screen pass from Crisco to Lacey Riggins, who displayed fancy moves and took off down the sideline for 65 yards, putting the Comets up 13-0.
The second quarter was all North as well. Once again, the Comets took care of the football which made for a 67 touchdown drive on another touchdown pass from Crisco to Dylan Blalock for 12 yards to put the Comets up by 19 at halftime.
The third quarter was much the same story. Though the Comets were flagged many times in the second half, the Comets’ “Lumber Yard” defense became a nuisance for the Cardinals.
For that matter, so did Williams by scoring on a sweep to the left side that went for 89 yards to the house, increasing the Comets lead at 25-0.
The Comets’ defense did not want to miss out on all the joy of Friday night’s scoring success. On the first play of the final period, T.J. Smith picked up a Union Academy fumble and ran the football to the end zone for 93 yards, increasing the lead to 31-0. Smith also blocked a Aharon Gonzales field goal in the second quarter.
After the Comets next offensive series resulted in a three and out, the Cardinals fumbled the ball on their first possession, where senior Landon Mullis recovered and ran the ball for 46 yards for another Comets score at 38-0.
Union Academy eventually scored on a Craig Twele 46 yard sideline pattern to wideout Malik Pando, resulting in the North Stanly 38-6 victory along with a potential higher seeding in the 1AA playoffs.
When Smith was asked what it felt like to have scored on the fumble recovery, he replied, “I was out of breath but oh, what a feeling!” Mullis also commented on his contribution with one word, “awesome.” Williams was very much in a satisfying frame of reference as he looked at his smart phone and spoke of his 2,137 yards rushing for the 2013 regular season.
“I am proud of the effort the guys gave tonight. They played as a team and they are hungry for the playoffs,” North head coach Ralph Jackson said.
Editor’s Note: The Comets’ first-round playoff opponent had not been determined as of press time. Please see www.thes naponline.com for the playoff pairings when available.
NS 13 6 6 13 38
UA 0 0 0 6 6
NS – Antonio Williams 7 run (kick failed), 5:20, 1st
NS – Lacey Riggins 65 pass from Noah Crisco (Lowder kick), 1:27, 1st
NS – Dylan Blalock 12 pass from Crisco (conf. failed), :18, 2nd
NS – Williams 89 run (kick failed), 11:05, 3rd
NS – Smith 93 fumble return (kick failed), 11:35, 4th
NS – Landon Mullis 46 fumble return (Blalock kick), 4th
UA – Pando 46 pass from Twele (kick failed), 4th.
1st Downs 10 13
Rushing 40-241 26-112
Passing 109 99
C-A-I 3-13-1 5-21-0
Punts 3-31.0 4-48.0
Penalties 13-150 6-70
Fum. Lst. 1 3
3rd Down 5-11 3-10
4th Down 1-1 0-0
Rushing: NS – Williams 24-233, 2 TD; Riggins 7-20; M. Thomas 2-3; Almond 1-9; Turner 1-2; Moore 1-0; Crisco 4-(-26). UA – Almeida 10-56; Twele 9-31; Missick 4-22; Schneider 1-1; Heyward 1-1; Cadle 1-0.
Passing: NS – Crisco 3-13, 109 yds, 2 TD, 1 int.; M. Thomas 0-2, 0 yds.. UA – Twele 4-20, 92 yds, TD; Cadle 1-1 ,7 yds.
Receiving: NS – Blalock 2-44, TD; Riggins 1-65, TD. UA – Cadle 2-13; Walters 2-24; Pautz 1-16; Pando 1-46, TD..