By Charles Curcio, Sports Editor
Sunday, September 29, 2013 —
The 2013 football season for the Rowdy Rebel Bulls of South Stanly has been a campaign that has been plagued by injuries as well as struggles to find ways to put points on the scoreboard.
South has not scored a touchdown for eight quarters of football dating back to the team’s win at North Moore on Sept. 13.
The Bulls tried to play the role of spoiler at East Montgomery’s homecoming night Friday, but a turnover and some critical third-quarter penalties helped the host Eagles to earn a 22-7 win over South.
Luke Burris had one of his better games as the starting quarterback for the Bulls (1-5. 1-2 YVC). Burris completed six passes for 68 yards and did not throw an interception in the game.
The offense for East Montgomery (4-3, 3-1) went through a fundamental change this week, switching from a veer option to more power running sets, which began to pay off in the later stages of the game. A.J. Hill had a huge night for the Eagles, carrying the ball 33 times for 188 yards and three touchdowns.
Early on, neither team moved the football on their first drives, but South’s second drive changed the field position in the Bulls’ favor, one of the rare times on the night that South was not pinned deep. The Bulls drove from their own 7-yard line down to the East 43 on a 12-play, five-minute drive and pinned the Eagles back to the East 13 with a punt.
Two plays later, quarterback Colby Maynor tried to flip a swing pass to the fullback in the flat. Ryan Coley jumped the route and returned the ball 18 yards for the touchdown. Bernardo Granados’ extra point gave South a 7-0 lead late in the opening period.
East Montgomery nearly scored on their next offensive play when Hill took a toss sweep around the right side and rumbled down the home sideline all alone until the ball popped out of his grasp at the South 30-yard line. The Eagles failed to score thanks to two penalties and a sack of Maynor by Darius Craig and Sawyer Bartlett on third down at the South 32-yard line.
Late in the second, South fumbled the ball deep in Bulls’ territory and Alex Rodriguez recovered at the South 3-yard line. Three plays later, Hill scored to tie the game 7-7 with Jeffery Jaimez’s point after touchdown.
South dominated time of possession in the first half, holding the ball 14 minutes, but East Montgomery flipped the script in the third quarter, taking the opening kickoff and driving 73 yards in 14 plays over seven minutes. The drive did not produce points as Jaimez’ 25-yard field goal was blocked, recovered by Granados at the 20-yard line.
From the 20, two penalties backed the Bulls up to their own 1-yard line, and South had to punt. The Eagles took the short punt back to the South 17, then Hill scored four plays later from three yards out to put the Eagles ahead. Maynor then found C.J. Callahan on a fake field goal attempt for the two-point conversion and a 15-7 lead with 1:39 left in the third.
South only had the ball for 4:41 in the final period and gained 11 net yards on their final two possessions of the game.
East Montgomery added an insurance touchdown in the final period on a 10-play, 94-yard drive down the field that took 4:57 off the clock. Hill notched his third touchdown score of the night from 12 yards out to give the Eagles the final margin of victory 22-7.
Time of possession in the second half favored the power-running attack of the Eagles as East held the ball for 15:34 in the second half while South had it for 8:26.
“We made some penalties that really cost us; we had multiple penalties that killed drives,” South head coach Tasker Fleming said.
“I’m proud of the effort; we gave four quarters of good effort, enough to win.”
Field position played a big part in Friday’s game. South’s average starting field positions was at the Bulls’ 26-yard line, while East Montgomery’s average was their own 43-yard line. In the third quarter, East’s average starting field positions was at the South 48.
Fleming talked about the field position as well, saying “you can’t continue to give a team with quality running backs a 25-yard field to work with.”
The South coach talked about the positives that he would take away from the game, crediting Coley for making “a big play” while saying that the passing game improved because Bulls quarterback Luke Burris had time to throw, adding that the team “still has to find paydirt.”
East head coach Phil Collett said that his team “made our share of mistakes” in the game, but that he “felt confident because the defense was playing well.”
Collett also said that he felt like East Montgomery “could win the game because they weren’t going to score on our defense.”
Regarding Hill’s efforts, Collett said, “I knew if we kept giving it to (him) that he would bust one,” crediting Hill for running hard and for the offensive line’s efforts in the game.
South Stanly looks to end their three-game losing streak on Friday with a road game at South Davidson. The Wildcats are coming off a 41-0 loss to North Moore, who ended their 33-game losing slide with Friday’s win over South Davidson.
SS 7 0 0 0 7
EM 0 7 8 7 22
SS – Ryan Coley 18 interception return (Bernardo Granados kick), 2:17, 1st
EM – A.J. Hill 1 run (Jeffery Jaimez kick), 5:31, 2nd
EM – Hill 3 run (C.J. Callahan pass from Colby Maynor), 1:39, 3rd
EM – Hill 11 run (Jaimez kick), 4:42, 4th
1st Downs 9 13
Rushing 33-44 43-211
Passing 68 40
C-A-I 6-20-0 3-7-1
Punts 6-30.0 5-25.6
Penalties 11-78 11-65
Fum.-Lst. 4-1 2-0
3rd Down 4-14 4-11
4th Down 0-2 101
TOP 22:40 25:20
Rushing: SS – Brewer 13-33; Lewellen 7-21; Horton 2-3; Lee 2-1; Morton 1-4; Burris 8-(-18). EM – Hill 33-188, 3 TD; Watkins 3-20; McCollum 2-5; Stuart 1-6; Bowden 1-6; Maynor 3-(-14).
Passing: SS – Burris 6-20, 68 yds. EM – Maynor 3-7, 40 yds., 1 int.
Receiving: SS – Coley 3-34; Granados 1-20; Thompson 1-11; Smith 1-3. EM – McCollum 1-29; Steele 1-6; Hill 1-5.