BY FRANKLIN DAVIS and CHARLES CURCIO
CNHI News Service
Monday, November 12, 2012 —
South Stanly coach Tasker Fleming undoubtedly knew that East Columbus junior running back Nick McClure had scored 15 TDs in his last four games and developed a defensive game plan to stop him. The Rowdy Rebel Bulls did limit McClure to 20 yards rushing in the first half.
However, sophomore back Tarrin Manning took advantage of the focus on McClure to rush for 127 first-quarter yards and two touchdowns as the Gators jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter advantage on their way to a 66-20 second-round 1A NCHSAA playoff victory over South Stanly.
The Rowdy Rebel Bulls (9-4) trailed 38-0 after Manning scored from 27 yards out with 11:38 remaining in the third quarter. At this point it was a test of character and South Stanly responded like a champion.
Eschewing the running game, senior quarterback Russ Weiker tossed three third-quarter touchdown passes to show there was no give up in him or his teammates.
Unfortunately for Weiker and crew, the Gators (9-4) scored twice themselves in the third to maintain a comfortable margin and added two more final frame scores for the final margin.
An aggressive East Columbus defense limited South Stanly to 25 yards rushing and recorded eight sacks for a -75 yards. Despite the lack of running, Weiker was able to complete 14 of 36 passes for 178 yards. His touchdown strikes were 34 yards to Juwan Johnson, 16 yards to Malichi Johnson, and 14 yards to Connor Ford before being knocked out of the contest.
“East Columbus is as quick as any team I have every coached against short of Mount Tabor,” South Stanly head coach Tasker Fleming.
“They are very aggressive and a youthful offensive line will have trouble slowing their blitz packages. They are sending eight and we are blocking with six; they were just too quick for us,” Fleming added regarding the East Columbus defense.
The South coach also said that he felt senior Austin Smith, playing wide receiver on offense and defensive back on defense, had his best game of the season in his final game with South.
South Stanly reached the second round of the state 1A playoffs for the second time in as many seasons, graduating 11 seniors from this seasons’ team under Fleming’s first year at the helm of the Rebel Bulls.
Fleming praised the efforts of his seniors and added that he felt good about the South football program and the direction in which it is heading.
“I was surprised by the JVs. They competed four quarters every game. I hate to lose [the seniors] and their leadership, but we have a bright future ahead,” Fleming said.
East Columbus travels to play YVC conference champion Albemarle in the 1A Midwest final next Friday (see related story, above).
(Editor’s Note: A big thanks to Franklin Davis from the Columbus County Sports Network for his contributions to this story).
SS 0 0 20 0 20
EC 21 10 14 14 66
EC – Tarrin Manning 57 yard run (Martin Lamas kick), 8:09, 1st
EC – Manning 54 yard run (Lamas kick), 1:49, 1st
EC – Nick McClure 1 run (Lamas kick), :01, 1st
EC – Elijah Gresham 26 pass from Ricky Ratliff (Lamas kick), 9:54, 2nd
EC – Lamas FG 31, 1:12, 2nd
EC – Manning 27 run (Lamas kick), 11:37, 3rd
SS – Juwan Johnson 34 pass from Russ Weiker (Barnardo Granados kick), 8:55, 3rd
SS – Malichi Johnson 16 pass from Weiker (pass failed), 4:57, 3rd
EC – Manning 4 run (Lamas kick), 4:57, 3rd
SS – Connor Ford 14 pass from Weiker (Granados kick), 1:38, 3rd
EC – McClure 4 run (Lamas kick), :00, 3rd
EC – Derreck Young 1 run (Lamas kick), 9:05, 4th
EC – Young 85 run (Lamas kick), 5:32, 4th
1st Downs 14 19
Rushing 30-(-50) 41-460
Passing 199 98
C-A-I 15-38-3 4-5-0
Punts 4-29.5 1-40.0
Penalties 4-20 10-100
TOP 28:12 19:48