By Dan O'Neal, for the SNAP
Sunday, September 15, 2013 —
With the winning tradition in high school football that has been established by Albemarle High over the years, those who follow the sport at this level might have found it rather unusual for them to begin the season with a 1-2 record.
Given this fact, there could be the idea that Albemarle football is on a slight downward spiral. Should this be a follower’s mentality, think again.
Even though the Bulldogs are under new leadership and several players were lost to graduation, the very well-coached talent pool in the Albemarle Bulldogs program is very much intact, on the offensive side of the football and especially on the defensive side as the “Oak Tree” defense ensured a 41-0 Yadkin Valley Conference opener on the road over East Montgomery.
The win streak for Albemarle over the Eagles increased to 22 straight wins with Friday’s result.
Before the game Friday night, Bulldogs head coach Seth Smith spoke of the way the team needed to get off to a great start and improve up front on both sides of the football.
Though the Bulldogs had possession of the football for slightly over 11 minutes and netted only five first downs, their heads-up defense forced three fumbles as well as four interceptions with junior defensive lineman Lee Autry taking a pick-six for 30 yards to the house at the 9:17 mark of the third frame.
The defense’s efforts should not take anything away from the Albemarle offense either as the Bulldogs would gain 224 yards on 21 rushes, with senior quarterback Bryan Blanton gaining 131 yards on five carries, including an 80-yard sprint directly up the middle for a touchdown and a 39-yard touchdown run.
Junior tailback Larry Stanback also gained 56 yards on three touches and a touchdown. K.J. McKinney, who returned from injury, gained some very crucial yardage from scrimmage. Blanton also connected with wideouts Timmie White for an 85-yard bomb for a touchdown along with a slant bubble route to Rogers Brafford for a 20-yard touchdown pass.
All in all, Albemarle made huge plays that resulted in points on the scoreboard. However, East Montgomery certainly made a formidable challenge as the Eagles maintained possession of the football for over 30 minutes and would gain 223 yards of total offense from scrimmage.
“I just felt that we played well up front on both sides of the ball. It was also good to get K.J. McKinney back. His leadership alone on the field makes a huge difference,” Smith said.
Albemarle hosts Chatham Central on Friday night.
A 14 7 20 0 41
EM 0 0 0 0 0
A – Timmie White 85 pass from Bryan Blanton (Mason Krol kick), 6:26, 1st
A – Larry Stanback 4 run (Krol kick), 1:24,1st
A – Blanton 39 run (Krol kick), 10:06, 2nd
A – Blanton 80 run (Krol kick), 9:37, 3rd
A – Lee Autry 30 int return (kick failed) 9:17, 2nd
A – Rogers Brafford 20 pass from Blanton (Krol kick) 5:22,3rd.
1st Downs 5 14
Rushing 21-224 43-104
Passing 112 119
C-A-I 3-7-0 12-21-4
Punts 2-26.0 2-32.0
Penalties 6-60 7-45
Fum. Lst. 1 1
3rd Down 1-3 3-10
4th Down 1-1 2-7
TOP 14:04 33:56
Rushing: A – Blanton 5-131, 2 TD; Stanback 3-56; McKinney 9-31; Nivens 2-7; Mack 2-(-1). EM – Hill 21-62; Steele 13-31; Maynor 6-4; Bowden 3-7.
Passing: A – Blanton 3-7, 112 yds., 2 TD. EM – Maynor 12-21, 119 yds., 4 int.
Receiving: A – White 2-90, TD; Brafford 1-20, TD.