By Charles Curcio, Sports Editor
Monday, October 29, 2012 —
For the second consecutive season, the high school football regular season finale between the Alb-marle Bulldogs and the South Stanly Rowdy Rebel Bulls had both the county and Yadkin Valley Conference titles on the line.
Albemarle’s “Oak Tree” defense stymied the host Bulls in the second half while Deon Christian threw three touchdown passes as the Bulldogs claimed the Stanly Cup and the YVC title 48-6 at South Stanly.
The Bulldogs (10-1, 7-0 YVC) dominated the second half, especially defensively as Albemarle allowed the Bulls 37 net yards on 24 offensive plays, along with with a fumble recovery that set up a late touchdown and an interception. Albemarle also had two sacks of South quarterback Russ Weiker, with R.J. Prince and Lee Autry getting credited with the takedowns.
Offensively, Albemarle quarterback Deon Christian had a perfect night by NFL passer rating standards with a 158.3 pass rating. The senior was 11-of-14 through the air with three touchdowns, two going to wideout Timmie White and the other to tight end Alvin Currie.
The two teams had two offensive possessions each to start the game, with the field position advantage going to the Bulldogs.
Albemarle scored on their third possession of the game at the South 44 and took two plays to put the first points on the board. Christian’s 32-yard touchdown pass to White as the clock expired in the first quarter gave Albemarle a 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Bulls tried a little razzle dazzle that flashed but quickly fizzled out. Montrell Brewer took the opening kickoff and threw a backwards pass to Austin Smith that the Bulldogs’ Rodney Dumas came up with on a fumble recovery to give Albemarle a short field to work with on offense. Two plays later, Christian scrambled around the left side and darted into the endzone for his seventh rushing touchdown of the season.
The Bulls (8-3, 5-2) got back to basics on their next drive and used their powerful one-two punch of halfback Devante Hamilton and fullback Anthony Smith to move the ball down the field, along with Malix Lomax in a three-back set as a blocker.
South marched 75 yards in 13 plays, taking 6:02 off the clcck and capping the drive off with a five-yard Smith touchdown run for a 14-6 score as the extra point attempt was blocked.
The score gave the Bulls some momentum as the South defense held Albemarle to a three-and-out and then blocked the punt, getting the ball back at the Bulldog 38-yard-line. However, South could not move the football and missed a 52-yard field goal attempt.
Albemarle faced 80 yards in front of them with just 2:06 left and three timeouts, but the Bulldogs ended up not needing the time or the time stoppers either. On the second play from scrimmge, Christian found White wide open in the middle of the field and the Bulldog receiver won a footrace down the sidelines for an 80-yard scoring strike and a 20-6 halftime advantage.
At halftime, the Bulls held a 2-to-1 advantage in time of possession and had just 10 penalty yards to Albemarle’s 77 yards, but those numbers reversed themselves in the second half.
Albemarle took the opening kickoff of the second half and drove the length of the field. As White headed into the endzone for what would have been his third touchdown catch, he fumbled the football and South recovered for a touchback.
The Bulldogs then pulled out a play that had to be straight out of the playbook of the 1985 Chicago Bears when Lee Autry carried his 6’3” 280-pound frame across the goal line on a one-yard plunge to give Albemarle a 27-6 lead. Autry’s run capped off a 54-yard, two-minute seven-play drive.
South tried to rally on their next drive, taking advantage of a fumbled punt and two defensive penalties to move the football down to the Bulldog 25-yard line. However, the Albemarle defense tackled Devante Hamilton for a loss and got a sack from Autry to push the Bulls backwards where South turned the ball over on downs.
Albemarle then drove 59 yards in eight plays, overcoming two offensive penalties to put points on the board when Christian threw to a wide-open Currie in the endzone for a three-yard touchdown throw, Christian’s third TD pass of the game.
Brown nearly scored on a long run from the Albemarle 42-yard line, breaking numerous tackles down the Bulldogs sideline, coming up just short at the South four-yard line. Kevin McKinney converted on the next play for the score.
The Bulldogs’ final score came another short field, this time thanks to a takeaway on the kickoff by Bryan Blanton. Four plays later, McKinney reached for the endzone on a short run, fumbled into the endzone and Currie recovered for the score.
“We were doing good things in the first half, but we had all those penalties,” Albemarle Head Coach Danny Akins said.
“We refocused in the second half; we told them, ‘Cut down on the penalties and keep doing what we are doing, then things will be fine.’”
Regarding Christian, Akins said that he has “natural God-given talent” and added, “He puts a lot of pressure on a defense.”
Both Albemarle and South Stanly will host games in the 1A state playoffs this Friday.
Editor’s Note: The playoff pairings for the state playoffs were released after the deadline for this edition and will be online when available at www.thensnaponline.com.
A 7 13 7 21 48
SS 0 6 0 0 6
A – Timmie White 32 pass from Deon Christian (Julio Cisneros kick), ;00, 1st
A – Christian 12 run (Cisneros kick), 11:15, 2nd
SS – Anthony Smith 5 run (kick failed), 5:13, 2nd
A – White 80 pass from Christian (Cisneros kick), 1:25, 2nd
A – Lee Autry 1 run (Cisneros kick), 5:51, 3rd
A – Alvin Currie 3 pass from Christian (Cisneros kick), 11:43, 4th
A – Currie fumble recovery in endzone (Cisneros kick), 9:06, 4th
A – McKinney 2 run (Cisneros kick), 7:30, 4th
1st Downs 22 13
Rushing 42-236 37-96
Passing 251 49
C-A-I 11-14-0 7-23-1
Punts 4-22.5 6-30.2
Penalties 9-97 7-49
Fum.-Lst. 5-2 3-2
3rd Down 3-8 4-16
4th Down 0-0 1-4
TOP 21:41 26:19
Rushing: A – Brown 12-125; McKinney 18-76; Chrisitan 7-42; Blanton 2-(-2); Autry 1-1, TD; White 1-0; Little 1-(-1). SS – Hamilton 17-39; Smith 11-42; Weiker 6-11; Lomax 3-4.
Passing: A –Christian 11-14-0, 251 yds., 3 TD. SS – Weiker 7-23-1, 49 yds.
Receiving: A – Brown 4-63; Currie 4-42, TD; White 3-145, 2 TD. SS – Caulder 3-15; Williams 2-53; Blalock 2-6; Fesperman 1-4.