The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

August 25, 2013

North Stanly opens football season with win at Central Academy

BY Dan O'Neal, for the SNAP

Sunday, August 25, 2013 — It is football time again as the North Stanly Comets travelled to Walter Bickett Stadium in Monroe to take on their former Rocky River Conference opponent, the Central Academy Cougars.

North enters the 2013 fall sports season in a new conference after the quadrennial realignment, the Yadkin Valley 1A Conference.

Recently, Comet head football coach Ralph Jackson was asked if dropping down to the 1A classification would facilitate an easier schedule. He responded by saying if the team did not go out and compete hard in every game, the so-called easier schedule would not matter.

One media source projected the Comets to be a “dark-horse” contender in the YVC, likely based on sophomore tailback Antonio Williams returning after a breakout freshman year where he gained more than 1,400 yards on the ground.

The Comets also feature new quarterback Meleek Thomas and his brother Caleb, a wideout, who both transferred from North Mecklenburg.

Jackson also wanted to clarify the subject of “black roses” that appeared to be running amok in cyberspace.

“We play football. We do not send out cryptic messages to our opponents,” Jackson said.

Early season jitters and kinks are to were evident with both teams Friday, as the game went scoreless for three quarters. For both teams, there were some quality plays made only to end up with a penalty or two. The Comets were flagged 13 times, many of which were false starts and illegal shifts. There were also five fumbles between both teams along with a snap over Comets punter Dylan Blalock’s head in the first quarter.

Through all the kinks, Antonio Williams did not disappoint with his plays from the backfield. Neither did junior running back Lacey Riggins, who is returning from a season-ending injury in 2012. On the ground, the Comets gained 218 yards on 40 carries with Williams gaining 189 of those on 28 touches.

It can be said that North controlled the line of scrimmage as well as dominated the game in the final 13 minutes. North scored its first touchdown on a Riggins 17-yard run at the 11:06 mark of the fourth quarter.

After the Comets’ Lumber Yard Defense kept the Cougars scoreless with another three and out, North drove the ball from its own 13-yard line to the Cougars’ 37.

On a fourth and 1, the Comet quarterback threw a “jump ball” pass in senior wideout Kasey Caulder's direction. Caulder and the Cougars’ defender both reached for the football. From there, Caulder pulled it down and ran to the end zone for a 37 yard touchdown. Williams two-point conversion made the score 14-0 with 2:14 in the game.

On the ensuing kickoff,  Cougars kick returner Sergio Gomez would return it for 79 yards to the Comets 12 yard line. But once again, the Comets' defense held Central to another three and out to ensure they would leave the Bickett with the shutout victory over Central Academy by the count of 14-0. As Coach Jackson shared his final thought on tonight's game, "My guys played hard for four quarters and they play as a unit."

North Stanly will be at home next week to face the Randleman Tigers from 2A Piedmont Athletic Conference. Kickoff is set for 7:30 at R.N. Jeffery Stadium.

NS    0    0    0    14    14

CA    0    0    0    0    0

NS – Lacey Riggins 17 run (2-pt. conv. failed), 11:06, 4th

NS – Kasey Caulder 37 pass from Meleek Thomas (Williams run), 2:14, 4th.

Team Stats

    NS    CA

1st Downs    11    5

Rushing    40-218    26-138

Passing    73    16    

C-A-I    6-16-0    2-10-0

Punts    6-37.5    6-42.0

Penalties    13-67    6-55

Fum.-Lst.    3-1    2-1    

TOP    27:30    17:45

Individual Statistics

Rushing: NS  – Williams 28-189; Riggins 7-42, TD; M. Thomas 4-(-13); Moore 1-0. CA – Gomez 13-36; Morrison 8-70, Anderson 1-0; Heda 6-32.

Passing: NS – M. Thomas 5-15, 75 yds, 1 TD. CA – Heda 2-10-0, 16 yds.

Receiving: NS – Caulder 2-43,TD; Blalock 2-23; Almond 1-9; Crisco 1- (-2). CA – Hamilton 1-13; Davis 1-3.