Sunday, October 7, 2012 —
There is nothing better on a Friday evening in Spencer, than going to eat at Hendrix Barbecue, where during high school football season, people who eat there will be captivated by a sea of green and yellow. This would be the many North Rowan Cavaliers’ supporters who know where the most excellent food is served before game time.
Friday’s Yadkin Valley Conference matchup between the Albemarle Bulldogs and the North Rowan Cavaliers featured two unbeatens in conference play. The victor would be very much in the driver’s seat for the Conference title, something the Bulldogs have made a habit of collecting for several seasons.
North Rowan is well-known for being a fast and athletic team, evidenced by their 15 North Carolina State High School Athletic Association Track and Field championship crowns. Albemarle, on the other hand, is a traditional football powerhouse, given their five state football championship titles over the last 12 seasons.
This contest would have the makings of a classic showdown with championship implications and certainly be any high school football supporter’s delight, and through a very highly-skilled and hard-fought contest, Albemarle would emerge victorious by the count of 29-22.
Bulldogs senior defensive back Martinus Crump ensured this win as he intercepted North Rowan sophomore sensation quarterback Alexis Archie as the Cavaliers were on an offensive drive with hopes of tying the score late in the game.
Albemarle (7-1, 4-0 YVC) struck first gaining 59 yards and with not being able to convert on 3rd-and-3 from the Cavalier 16 yard line, they scored on a 24-yard field goal by placekicker Julio Cisneros at the 6:56 mark of the first frame.
North (5-3, 3-1) would immediately respond with a 75-yard touchdown drive of their own as Cavalier quarterback Archie would score on an 8 yard run followed by a Kasaun Coney two-point conversion run at the 4:32 mark.
In the second quarter, it was dominated on both sides of the football by the Bulldogs as they held the Cavaliers to only one touchdown and would account for three of their own, with rushing touchdowns of 7 and 10 yards by Martinus Crump (his name will be cited often) and Kevin McKinney. McKinney’s score was aided by two personal foul penalties whistled against the Cavaliers.
The Bulldogs second quarter offensive highlight reel was capped by senior quarterback Deon Christian's spectacular 55-yard touchdown run, making for a 23-14 halftime score.
The third quarter went pretty much back and forth on the offensive end for both squads. However, at the 4:04 mark of the third quarter, with the Bulldogs in a punting situation on fourth and sixteen from their own 29, Cavalier special teams player Mike Robinson would block a Bryan Blanton punt, enabling the Cavaliers to score five plays later as Alexis Archie threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Jareke Chambers along with his two-point conversion run, coming to within one point of the Bulldogs to end the quarter at 23-22.
In the final frame, North Rowan would stall two Bulldog drives as well as control the game clock for most of the quarter. On a 3rd-and 12 from their own 48, Cavaliers quarterback Archie would be intercepted by Jay Dockery.
A few plays later, Bulldogs quarterback Christian would find receiver Alvin Currie all alone in the end zone for six points with 55 seconds remaining in the contest, the score being 29-22.
However, the game was not completely over. On the Bulldogs kickoff, Cavaliers kick returner Kasaun Coney would take the kickoff to the 50 yardline.
To make matters worse, the Bulldogs were flagged another fifteen yards for a face mask penalty, giving the Cavaliers another opportunity to either tie the game and force overtime or score a touchdown and two-point conversion for the win.
On the Cavaliers’ final possession however, there was that Crump factor again as he picked off another pass to ensure the Bulldogs’ victory and their being in the driver's seat toward the YVC title.
As Crump stated after the game, “We came out and had a great game on both sides of the football. Our secondary made great plays.”
“It was a great football game; it's the one you wanted to watch. I'm so proud of these kids and their effort. Beyond that, I can't really talk,” an emotional Danny Akins said following the game.
Offensively, the Bulldogs were led by Deon Christian's 93 yards rushing and completing 7-13 passes for 109 yards and one touchdown. Overall, Crump was most certainly the game's most valuable player with his two interceptions and one rushing touchdown. Junior Robert Mack would lead the Bulldogs in tackles made with 12.
As the Bulldogs continue on their journey toward the Conference title and beyond, their next opponent will be the Eagles of East Montgomery, which will have the Bulldogs at home at 7:30 p.m Friday night.