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High school football returns to Stanly as Rebel Bulls host South Davidson

The long wait for high school football fans for the 2020 season finally ended two months into 2021 when South Stanly hosted South Davidson Thursday night.

In front of a small crowd of fans of the Rowdy Rebel Bulls, South Stanly got behind early but rallied quickly to earn a 58-12 win over the Wildcats.

A relieved Ryan Ochier, head coach for the Bulls, talked about finally being able to get on the field and play a game.

“I told the guys going in, ‘You’re never going to face adversity like you’ve done over the last year.’ With all the unknowns, all the uncertainties…just go out there and have fun,” Ochier said.

The Bulls’ coach added he and his staff tried to impress on the players that not only could every game be their last but to play every play like it was their last.

The win was South Stanly’s 13th in a row over South Davidson as the Bulls now stand 26-2 lifetime against the Wildcats.

South Davidson (0-1, 0-1) took the opening kickoff and went 50 yards down the field for a touchdown, but South Stanly quickly answered. Freshman quarterback Drew Gaddy scampered 52 yards down the visiting sideline to tie the game.

The Bulls scored 52 points in a row over the next three periods, including four touchdown passes from Gaddy. Malik Kluttz hauled in three touchdown tosses, with Jaderian Smith catching one late in the third quarter which put South Stanly’s lead over 42 points and started a running clock for the rest of the game. 

Smith, running back Devin Green and backup quarterback Trevor Tucker also had rushing touchdowns for the Bulls in the win. Wide receiver Quavi Caraway also added a 51-yard touchdown run in the first quarter which put South Stanly ahead for good; he also led the Bulls with 72 rushing yards and had a 70-yard punt return called back on a penalty. (Sports Editor’s Note: The previous sentence was added as a correction after this article ran in print.)

Through the air, Gaddy did not have an interception and used his speed on the ground to scramble multiple times for first downs, keeping scoring drives alive.

“He played like he was a junior or senior,” Ochier said.

Regarding the touchdowns from various players, South Stanly’s coach said his team “does not have just one guy we need to go to. We have got several guys that can be the man at any time.”

“We came out a little flat. It was like we were uncertain of what we were supposed to be doing. After that first drive, we settled down and played ball,” Ochier said.

South Stanly will host North Rowan Friday night at 6:30 p.m.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored twice by the North Carolina Press Association.

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