The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

September 15, 2013

North Stanly football rallies for win over West Stanly

Comets overcome 19-0 deficit; Antonio Williams TD with 1:23 left lifts North to win

By Charles Curcio, Sports Editor

Sunday, September 15, 2013 — The world of social media website Twitter has created a new forum for high school football aficionados, including fans, media and school officials to be able to share their passion for the sport.

Twitter has also created a new word for Webster’s Dictionary called hashtag, which has a pound sign (#) plus a phrase after it for people to express ideas using fewer letters.

A sign hanging on the fence Friday night behind the North Stanly football team’s bench at R.N. Jeffery Stadium had the following hashtag: #CTC, which stands for Change the Culture.

The Comets took a big step in doing just that as North rallied from a 19-0 deficit to earn a dramatic 26-25 win over county rival West Stanly on Friday.

Antonio Williams, who entered the night as the leading rusher in Stanly County, had not found the endzone in the first two games, but his touchdown with 1:23 left in the contest lifted the Comets (2-1) to the victory.

The loss for West Stanly (1-3) wraps up the Colts’ three-week schedule against the other football teams of Stanly County, with the Colts going 1-2 in those games.

Turnovers hurt West in the game Friday as the Comets recovered four fumbles and one interception, cashing in two of those takeaways for immediate points.

“We just have to take care of the ball; a dropped pass and fumbles killed us,” West head coach James Johnson said.

Missed conversions after touchdowns came back to make an impact in the game as West failed to add points three times on conversions and North did the same twice.

The Colts could not have gotten out to a better start Friday night. On the second offensive play of the game, senior running back B.J. Hill exploded down the West sideline 73 yards for a touchdown. Brady Ennis’ extra point put the Colts up 7-0.

West’s third drive of the game was a masterful, time-consuming scoring drive indicative of the veer offense that Johnson and the Colts employ this season. The drive started on the West 6-yard line with 3:46 left in the first and ended 17 plays later with 7:32 left in the second on Ryan McCormick’s nine-yard touchdown run. A bad snap on the extra point kept the score 13-0.

North’s only turnover of the game turned into instant points for West when Meleek Thomas tried a swing pass to running back Antonio Williams. Hill rose into the air and picked the ball off, taking it 38 yards for the touchdown.

Trailing 19-0 late in the first half, Lacey Riggins gave North a huge boost with a 54-yard run down the Comet sideline to the West 7-yard line. Three plays later, Thomas pushed the ball across the goal line on a quarterback sneak. Dylan Blalock’s extra point made the halftime score 19-7.

North came out in the second half moving the football well after having managed just 65 rushing yards on 16 carries in the first half. Williams, who was held to 20 net yards in the first half, gained 34 yards on his first four carries of the third quarter as the Comets drove to midfield but turned the ball over on downs.

Riggins once again provided a lift for North four plays later when Matt Price fumbled the football and Riggins picked the ball up and returned it 46 yards for the touchdown. Blalock’s PAT pulled the Comets to within five 19-14.

North head coach Ralph Jackson said that Riggins is “a kid that’s bought into what we are doing. He’s one of those kids that gave it up all offseason. He wants to play; he wants to win.”

The Colts responded on their next drive with points, going 80 yards in 12 plays and taking 5:37 off the clock, capped off by a 15-yard touchdown run for McCormick, his second of the game and fifth touchdown run of the season.

North answered West’s scoring drive with one of their own, kept alive with two pass interference calls and a Jai-len Harris recovery of a fumbled fair catch attempt on a punt. Thomas and Kasey Caulder connected for a 20-yard pass on a 4th and 19 on the drive, and Thomas then found Blalock for a 14-yard touchdown pass with 6:44 left in the game, topping off the 14-play, 65-yard drive that took just under six minutes. The extra point went wide left, and the Comets trailed West 25-20.

The Colts’ running game had been effective all night along as West finished the game averaging 5.9 yards per carry. Leading by five late, West looked to put the game away by keeping to that tactic.

Starting from the 20, West earned two first downs and pushed the ball to midfield, but the Colts fumbled again and Caleb Thomas recovered at the Comet 45.

A pass interference call on 3rd down and seven at the Comet 48 kept North’s drive alive, then Thomas found Blalock for a 25-yard pass play to the Colt 17.

Three plays later, the Comets’ sophomore sensation at running back, Williams, picked an opportune moment to score his first touchdown of the season, a 15-yard sweep to the left side of the Comet line. The run by Williams put the Comets up by one point after the extra point attempt was no good.

Regarding Williams’ run, Jackson said that him stepping up and scoring when he did is “what champions do.,” adding, “When you are a good player, (the opposition) may contain you, but they should never be able to stop you. (Williams) took some licks tonight, but he came through when we needed him, and that’s a champion.”

West had all three of its timeouts remaining and got the ball back at the Colt 25 with 1:15 left on the clock. After Cedric Hinson broke up a Matt Price pass, Riggins again came up with a huge play, sacking Price back to the Colt 16. West then threw two more incomplete passes, North got the ball back and ran the clock out to preserve the victory.

Jackson talked about the motto CTC, saying that “we’ve been talking about CTC for a long time; they are living it, changing the culture” referring to the Comet players.

The North coach also talked about the importance of Friday’s win over West.

“We haven’t been 2-1 in a long time; this is a good victory for us, a county rival, but it’s going to be short-lived because we have to get into conference play.”

North Stanly has not been 2-1 on the season since Greg Ganfield was head coach in the 2007 season.

The Comets’ first game in the Yadkin Valley Conference will be this Friday night when the Comets host South Davidson (0-4).

West Stanly hosts Central Cabarrus (3-0) on Friday night, the Colts’ final non-conference game before opening up Rocky River Conference play Oct. 4 at Piedmont.

WS    7    12    6    0    25

NS    0    7    7    12    26

WS ­– B.J. Hill 73 run (Brady Ennis kick), 11:05, 1st

WS ­– Ryan McCormick 9 run (kick failed), 7:32, 2nd

WS – Hill 38 interception return (run failed), 2:18, 2nd

NS – Meleek Thomas 1 run (Dylan Blalock kick), :17, 2nd

NS – Lacey Riggins 46 fumble return (Blalock kick), 6:13, 3rd

WS – McCormick 15 run (kick failed), :36, 3rd

NS – Blalock 14 pass from M. Thomas (kick failed), 6:44, 4th

NS – Antonio Williams 15 run (kick failed), 1:23, 4th

Team Stats

    WS    NS

1st Downs    17    14

Rushing    40-253    37-107

Passing    8    105

C-A-I    1-7-0    7-15-1

Punts    1-39.0    3-35.0

Penalties    8-82    11-100

Fum.-Lst.    5-4    0-0

3rd Down    2-7    4-11

4th Down    1-2    1-3

TOP    23:10    24:50

Individual Statistics

Rushing: WS  – McCormick 17-98, 2 TD; Hill 7-109, TD; Barbee 4-15; Price 12-13. NS – Williams 24-88, TD; Riggins 3-50; M. Thomas 10-(-31), TD.

Passing: WS – Price 1-7, 8 yds. NS –  M. Thomas 7-15, 1 TD, 1 int.

Receiving: WS – Rowe 1-8. NS – Blalock 4-78, TD; Caulder 3-27.