By Dan O'Neal, for the SNAP
Sunday, November 3, 2013 —
As the regular season of high school football draws to a close, top tier teams in all the respected conferences are jockeying for position in the seeding of all four classifications in the state of North Carolina.
With the Albemarle High Bulldogs being in the 1A class, their seeding should be high given their recent winning streak along with being permitted to drop one loss from an endowment game for the purposes of seeding.
The Bulldogs were on the road Friday night at Boggs Field on the campus of Union Academy facing the Cardinals coached by former Carolina Panthers fullback Brad Hoover.
Of course, the only matter on the mind of Bulldogs head coach Seth Smith was winning another important Yadkin Valley Conference matchup.
Albemarle overcame penalties and turnovers and earned a 29-6 win over the Cardinals.
Senior running back K.J. McKinney who gained 109 yards on 18 rushes capped by an 18 yard touchdown on a second and ten at the 4:14 mark of the second quarter.
Bryan Blanton’s 65 yard touchdown pass to senior all-world receiver Timmie White with 6:56 left in the game sealed the deal for Albemarle (7-3, 6-1 YVC).
A lot was riding on the outcome of Friday’s game for both teams in terms of improved seeding in the playoffs.
While the Cardinals did not have great success in running the football against the Bulldogs superb “Oak Tree” defense, gaining just 82 yards on 32 carries, the Cardinals’ passing game made plays with the football in the air.
The Cardinals did manage a score on a Craig Twele to Logan Pautz 10 yard strike with three seconds left on the clock before the end of the first half.
While Union Academy did manage to connect on some long pass patterns, their two quarterbacks were intercepted four times by Bulldogs’ defensive stalwarts White, Andre Ridenhour, Travis Bennett, and Terrace Ellis.
The “Oak Tree” defense also sacked Twele twice while defensive lineman Lee Autry led the team with 12 tackles. Ridenhour and freshman Jacobi Emery also added eight tackles. Albemarle’s defense also had two goal-line stands against the Cardinals.
Kani Sellers also blocked the Cardinals’ outstanding punter, Aharon Gonzales, at the 8:35 mark of the first frame, setting up the Bulldogs scoring first on a Robert Mack 18 yard run through the Cardinals defense. Lee Autry also scored on a two yard smash while placekicker Mason Krol connected on all three of his extra point attempts.
“We committed too many turnovers on offense but found a way to win. Our defense played really well and kept us in the game against a good offensive team,” Smith said.
Albemarle closes the regular season as the host the South Stanly Rebel Bulls (see related story, 1B). Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
With a win, the Bulldogs would win their third straight county championship with previous wins over West and North Stanly.
A 7 14 0 8 29
UA 0 6 0 0 6
A – Robert Mack 15 run (Mason Krol kick), 8:16, 1st
A – Lee Autry 2 run (Krol kick), 9:05, 2nd
A – K.J. McKinney 18 run (Krol kick), 4:14, 2nd
A – Pautz 10 pass from Twele (kick failed), :03, 2nd
A – Timmie White 65 pass from Bryan Blanton (Blanton run), 6:56, 4th
1st Downs 18 15
Rushing 34-177 32-82
Passing 104 186
C-A-I 4-11-2 13-34-4
Punts 5-44.2 6-43.5
Penalties 11-118 3-35
Fum. Lst. 2 1
3rd Down 2-4 3-8
T.O.P. 22:05 25:55
Rushing: A – McKinney 18-109, TD; Mack 7-50, TD; Blanton 5-5, Autry 2-10,TD, Stanback 2-3. UA – Twele 19-62; Almeida 9-22; Schneider 3-7; Heyward 1-(-8).
Passing: A – Blanton 4-11, 104 yds., TD, 2 int. UA – Twele 11-25, 146 yds., TD, 3 int.; Schneider 2-9, 40 yds., 1 int.
Receiving: A – White 1-65, TD; Ridenhour 1-20; Brafford 1-12; Sellers 1-7. UA – Pautz 7-124, TD; Pando 3-48; Schneider 2-9; Heyward 1-5.