By Dan O'Neal for the SNAP
Monday, October 29, 2012 —
Amidst the pink yardlines and numbers on the field of play were two Stanly County rivals who were essentially playing for pride. Neither squad wanted the distinction of last place in the Rocky River Conference. West Stanly was seeking their first victory of the 2012 season while North Stanly sought to end their nine year losing streak against the Colts.
Major kudos has to be given to West Stanly High Athletic Director Tina Carter for passionately promoting Breast Cancer awareness during the Senior Night contest. As fans from both sides of the field stood in recognition for survivors of this ugly disease, one could sense that for a moment, such recognition is what mattered most.
What would help the West Stanly cause was the return of star junior B.J. Hill returning from injury. His presence on both sides of the ball had strong potential to provide a much-needed spark for the Colts' squad.
North Stanly, on the other hand, would delight in tasting victory, not only with the Stanly Cup rivalry but also knowing this to be the last year for the Comets in the Rocky River Conference. With the upcoming state athletic association realignment, the Comets will be moving down to the 1A classification and will compete in the redeveloped Yadkin Valley Conference.
Through a very hard-fought contest, the Comets would end the losing streak as they defeated the Colts by the count of 24-20. The Comets were paced by very familiar freshman tailback Antonio Williams with 138 yards on 25 carries along with senior Hunter Lunsford with his three touchdown passes.
Tonight, the crowd at the Colt got to see an onside kick exchange between both squads. North would begin the opening kickoff with an onside kick which was recovered by West. West would follow suit as they began with their own version of the onside kick which they recovered and move the football to the Comets 29, where placekicker Diego Solorio would miss a 41 yard attempt. The kicking game would prove to be difficult for both squads as extra points were frequently blocked.
As neither team would score in the first quarter, the second frame would be Comets domination as Lunsford would throw three touchdown strikes, one to Clay Fesperman for 11 yards, another to Dylan Blalock for 6 yards and another 48 yarder to Williams, making the count 18-0 going into the locker rooms. Comets defensive back Adrian Brown would ensure this lead as he intercepted a “jump ball” thrown by Colts quarterback Spayne Furr.
In the second half, not only sparked by the opening onside kick but also an interception fest by Colts junior linebacker Colton Hathcock, who would return one interception for 74 yards, followed by a five-yard touchdown smash by Colts dynamo B.J. Hill. Hill would follow the six-pointer with a two-point conversion, cutting the Comets lead to 18-8 at the 4:44 mark of the third quarter. Hathcock would complete his pickoff fest on the Comets next series, however, their next offensive drive stalled their own 44 yard line. Comets junior defensive tackle Caleb Griffin made key tackles during this series enabling them to maintain their lead going into the final frame.
During the fourth quarter, the Comets and Colts would trade licks throughout. Both squads were determined to emerge victorious. The Colts would begin by throwing the first punch on a beautifully thrown ball to junior running back Ryan McCormick, who took it to the house for 48 yards, bringing the Colts closer at 18-14.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Colts attempted another (here it is again) onside kick, only to be recovered by the Comets' Fesperman, who ran the kickoff 43 yards to the Colts 9-yard line. What made the situation worse was a personal foul penalty which moved the Comets closer to paydirt. That Williams guy would throw the next punch by scoring on a four yard right sweep to the end zone, increasing the Comets lead to 24-14 with 8:49 left in the game.
The Colts were not done trading licks yet. On their next series, West drove 76 yards on 15 plays where McCormick would score his second touchdown of the night on a two yard plunge into the end zone, drawing within four points of the Comets lead. Overall, West Stanly's McCormick and Hill would run the ball for a total 105 yards and two touchdowns.
From there, North would maintain possession for 3:27 driving 24 yards until the Colts burned all their timeouts, preserving the 24-20 win.
“We thought it would be an even matchup. We're very pleased to finish the season with a win, ” Comets head coach Ralph Jackson said following the game.
From the Colts sideline, Hill and McCormick commented, “We were a young team this year. We battled back in the second half and executed on offense much better. We look forward to next season.”
With McCormick and Hill returning for their senior seasons, certainly the Colts will be exciting to watch.
This would complete the regular season for both the Comets and the Colts. Sadly, neither school was able to qualify for the state playoff next week. Congratulations to both schools on a hard-fought contest and for their displays of excellent sportsmanship.
NS 0 18 0 6 24
WS 0 0 8 12 20
NS – Clay Fesperman 11 pass from Hunter Lunsford (kick failed), 11:41, 2nd
NS – Antonio Williams 48 psas from Lunsford (conv. failed), 5:57, 2nd
NS – Blalock 6 pass from Lunsford (kick failed), :08, 2nd
WS – Hill 5 run (Hil l run), 4:44, 3rd
WS – Ryan McCormick 43 pass from Spayne Furr (conv. failed), 9:03, 4th
NS – Williams 4 run (kick failed), 8:49, 4th
WS – McCormick 2 run (kick failed), 3:42, 4th
1st Downs 10 13
Rushing 29-157 47-121
Passing 154 79
C-A-I 9-15-2 6-15-1
Punts 0-0 4-37.0
Penalties 11-80 10-105
3rd Down 2-9 6-15
4th Down 1-2 3-3
TOP 19:03 28:57
Ret. Yds. 83 64
Rushing: NS – Williams 25-138, TD; Lunsford 3-8; Cox 1-11. WS – Hill 17-56, TD; McCormick 12-49, TD; Furr 8-12; Shutt 5-(-9); Long 3-9; Broadaway 2-4.
Passing: NS– Lunsford 9-15-2, 154 yds., 3 TD. NS – Furr 6-13-1, 79 yds., TD; Hill 0-2-0, 0.
Receiving: NS – Blalock 3-46, TD; Almond 2-42; Caulder 2-7; Fesperman 1-11, TD; Williams 1-48, TD. WS – McCormick 2-47, TD; Morgan 2-16; Dulin 1-16; Outen 1-0.