West Stanly, Albemarle go to double overtime

Published 3:26 pm Saturday, September 2, 2023

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West Stanly took to the football field at Albemarle Friday night without its head coach.

Brett Morton could not coach Friday’s game because of health related reasons as West looked to make it nine straight wins over Albemarle while staying undefeated this season.

Charles Edwards served as head coach as the Colts and Bulldogs went to double overtime, with West prevailing in the 46th football game between the two schools, 20-12.

West (3-0) took the lead on the first play of the second overtime period. Quarterback Jett Thomas found Austin Eudy in the end zone on the first play of the period. Rene Salazar added a two-point conversion to put West up by eight.

Thomas said the coaches and players “really decided to lock it in because we needed to win the ballgame” after West did not score in the first overtime period.

“We could not go to a third overtime. We had to win it,” Thomas said.

Eudy, a 6-foot-6 tight end, said, “every time my name is called, I’m doing my job. That’s for everybody. You go out there and do what you need to do to win.”

Thomas said the win was “mandatory” for Coach Morton. “We had to win tonight for him.”

“(The coaching staff) really didn’t have to say anything,” Edwards said about wanting to win for their head coach.

Edwards credited the West defense for shutting out Albemarle through the second half and both overtime periods.

“We preach getting to the ball, trying to make good tackles. We didn’t tackle well in the first half,” Edwards said.

The win puts West at 2-0 in county games with one more left next week at North Stanly (2-1). Should the Colts beat North, who lost at Western Alamance in Week 3, West would have the Stanly Cup outright for the first time since the 2019 season.

Albemarle (0-3) had a chance to win the game with a 25-yard field goal attempt on fourth down in the first overtime period, but the kick was blocked.

The Bulldogs, in the second overtime period, had one pass dropped in the end zone on third down. Albemarle tried a fade route to the corner on fourth down, but the pass was just out of the reach of the receiver.

West won despite five turnovers in the game, four fumbles and an interception by Albemarle’s Christian Harris.

The Bulldogs struck first in the game, converting a turnover into points. Albemarle drove down the field and quarterback Ander Artis found Jaylen Pinkney for an eight-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was no good, leaving the Bulldogs up 6-0.

West capped off a long drive in the second quarter with Caleb Bumgarner’s one-yard plunge over the goal line. The Colts also missed the extra point attempt, leaving the game tied 6-6.

With 4:46 left in the first half, Albemarle took a 12-6 lead with a 37-yard touchdown run by Malik Watkins. The Bulldogs went for two and did not make it, so the hosts led 12-6.

Regarding his efforts, the West coach said Watkins “is a dang good ballplayer.”

After a scoreless third quarter, the Colts tied the game with 3:54 remaining in regulation on Breyden Lambert’s 16-yard touchdown run. Albemarle’s defense stopped West’s two-point conversion, and the game remained tied.

West threatened to score in the final minute, completing a long pass, but later fumbled at the Albemarle 20-yard line.

The Bulldogs also completed a long pass in the final seconds but were intercepted as the clock ran out.

The Bulldogs still lead the all-time series between the two schools, 23-22-1.

Albemarle hosts Anson County (0-3) in Week 4. The Bearcats lost at home to North Rowan (2-1), 38-28.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. 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 won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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