By J.W. Houston, for the SNAP
Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013 —
Anyone seeing North Stanly’s final score 44-19 loss to fourth ranked West Montgomery Friday would have a hard time believing that the score was 16-12 at halftime with the Warriors leading at their annual homecoming contest.
Nor would they believe that late in the third quarter, the Comets were inside West Montgomery’s 5-yard line with a chance to take the lead.
But a penalty, a 9-yard sack and a sack/fumble that led to a Warrior touchdown that broke the game open.
On the following three possessions, two interceptions and a short punt would account for 28 unanswered points for the Warriors as they took the 25-point victory.
“We get the score there and it’s a different game,” said North Stanly coach Ralph Jackson.
“(West Montgomery) is a good team with a great tradition with good players and a good coaching staff. We have to learn from this and get ready for another important game next week against Albemarle.”
This game was a battle with first place in the Yadkin Valley Conference on the line with both teams sporting 4-0 league records and 6-1 overall. The Warrior victory puts them in the driver’s seat for their first conference title since 1992.
During the first half of the contest, both teams were like a couple of boxers trying to figure out the other one’s weakness. The Warriors were able to get on the scoreboard first when the Comets gambled on fourth down near midfield and came up short.
The Warriors’ first score came a couple minutes later when senior quarterback Caleb Drake connected with fellow senior Suave Pegues on a screen pass and Pegues snaked his way 49 yards for the score. The extra point attempt was blocked leaving West on top 6-0 with 5:12 left in the first quarter.
After the two teams exchanged possessions, North was able to tie the score when the Comets launched a 55-yard drive, with the big play being a 32-yard run by sophomore Antonio Williams putting the ball at the Warriors’ 10-yard line. A 5-yard penalty against the Comets back 5 yards
Later, facing a fourth down from the 10-yard line, senior quarterback Meleek Thomas scrambled around the left side for a 10-yard touchdown. The extra point kick failed, leaving the score tied at 6 with 9:43 left in the second period.
It took the Warriors less than a minute to break the tie, with Pegues scoring the second of his three touchdowns in the game on a 2-yard run. The touchdown was set up on a 48-yard pass from Drake to Tirea Sims. This time West’s Walker Harrison connected on the extra point giving the Warriors a 13-6.
But the Comets weren’t to be outdone when they struck a minute and five seconds later when Zac Almond pulled in a one-handed catch from Thomas and outraced the Warriors defenders for a 62-yard touchdown pass. The Comets went for two points but the pass failed, leaving them on the short end of a 13-12 score with 7:45 left in the half.
The Warriors got a 25-yard field goal from Harrison with a minute to go in the half set up by an interception by West’s Rykeem Robinson. The half ended with the Comets trailing by four points.
The Comets received the second half kickoff and both teams exchanged possessions before North started a drive from their own 18-yard line. The drive took them to the Warriors’ 4-yard line and then the bottom fell out. The Comets were called for a 5-yard penalty and Thomas was sacked for a 9-yard loss back to the 18-yard line. Facing a fourth down, Thomas went back to pass and West’s A.J. Collins came up on Thomas’ blind side, knocked the ball loose, scooped up the ball and raced 60 yards for the touchdown. Harrison’s kick put West up 23-12 and North was never able to recover.
“A.J. has been making plays like that all year, he’s a playmaker for us on defense,” said West coach Nick Eddins. “You have to give it to North Stanly, they came out fired up to play and Coach Jackson had a good game plan. We were able to make some plays in the second half and were able to get the win.”
The Warriors’ next two scores were set up by interceptions by Jarrett Little and Brad Absher. Drake ran for a 15-yard touchdown after Little’s pick and Pegues added a 5-yard score after Absher interception.
West’s final touchdown came after a short punt and Collins scored his second touchdown of the game on a 39-yard weaving run, putting the Warriors up 44-12 with 5:32 left in the contest.
The Comets added a late score after Warrior head coach Nick Eddins put in mostly junior varsity players when Williams raced 65 yards for a touchdown, cutting the deficit to 44-19. Williams finished the game with 204 yards on 25 carries with 120 yards coming after the game was decided.
The Comets try to get back on the winning track when they host Albemarle with second place on the line while the Warriors travel to South Stanly, who beat Chatham Central 30-12 Friday. Both games are scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m.
NS 0 12 0 7 19
WM 6 10 14 14 44
WM – Suave Pegues 49-yard pass from Caleb Drake (Kick blocked) 5:12, 1st
NS – Meleek Thomas 10-yard run (Kick failed) 9:43, 2nd
WM – Pegues 2-yard run (Walker Harrison kick) 8:50, 2nd
NS – Zac Almond 62-yard pass from Thomas (Pass failed) 7:45, 2nd
WM – Harrison 25-yard field goal, 1:00 2nd
WM – A.J. Collins 60-yard fumble return (Harrison kick) 2:49, 3rd
WM – Drake 15-yard run (Harrison kick) 0:56, 3rd
WM – Pegues 5-yard run (Harrison kick) 10:52, 4th
WM – Collins 39-yard run (Harrison kick) 5:32, 4th
NS – Antonio Williams 65-yard run (Dylan Blalock kick) 5:16, 4th
1st Downs 12 17
Rushing 39-193 45-276
Passing 136 135
C-A-I 7-18-3 5-11-0
Punts 2-28.0 4-40.0
Penalties 10-77 7-61
Fum.-Lst. 2-1 0-0
Rushing: NS – Williams 25-204, TD; M. Thomas 8-(-26); Riggins 3-27; Crisco 3-(-12). WM – Pegues 12-95, 2 TD; Drake 17-80, TD; Harkins 7-18; Collins 2-50, TD; Leake 5-32; Reaves 1-4.
Passing: NS – M. Thomas 7-18, 136 yds., 1 TD, 3 int.. WM – Drake 5-11, 135 yds., TD.
Receiving: NS – C. Thomas 1-36; Almond 2-66, TD; Riggins 2-34; Blalock 1-3. WM – Pegues 1-49, TD; Sims 1-48; Little 2-20; Nicholson 1-18.