South Stanly rallies for win on emotional homecoming night
Published 10:17 am Saturday, September 16, 2023
South Stanly entered Friday’s homecoming football game needing a win to climb over the .500 mark for the first time since 2019.
The Bulls also rallied around one player this week, Micah Davis, dealing with the tragedy of his sister’s passing.
South hosted the 2A Wheatmore Warriors, who were ranked 294 overall in the state by MaxPreps, while the Bulls were ranked at 343 overall.
South’s defense forced turnovers in key moments while the offense found pay dirt in the final minutes to lift the Bulls to an 18-12 upset win.
South quarterback Kaleb Richardson found Tristen Patterson on a stop-and-go route on fourth down with 2:44 left in the game for a 35-yard touchdown.
“I needed to be patient. I needed him to bite,” Patterson said about running the route. “I said, ‘This is my chance,’ and I hit the gas.”
Patterson sped towards the end zone and was wide open as Richardson’s pass floated into his arms.
South sealed the win when Jake Hazlett picked off a Wheatmore (2-3) pass on the visitors’ last drive of the night. The Bulls ran out the clock to improve to 3-2 for the first time since Sept. 27, 2019.
“The win means a lot. We have a lot of players out with injury,” Hazlett said.
After the game, family members, players and coaches gathered to show their support for Davis, whose sister was the victim of a domestic related homicide (https://www.thesnaponline.com/2023/09/15/albemarle-homicide-suspect-turns-self-in/).
South Stanly led for most of the first half on an early Richardson TD pass of 41 yards to Jasiah Holt three minutes into the game. The Bulls stopped one drive deep into South territory by forcing a fumble, and stopped the Warriors two times on fourth down to lead at halftime 6-0.
During homecoming festivities, Emma Curlee was named Homecoming Queen and Dillon Luther Homecoming King. Mary Ryan Hinson won 2023 Miss Merry Christmas, while the homecoming court representatives were Madelyn Tucker (freshman class), Ashelyn Tucker (sophomore) and Jasmine Lee (junior).
In the third quarter, a bad snap led to a blocked punt and later a short touchdown run by Wheatmore’s Jonathan Kelly.
The Warriors then took over on a short South punt midway through the third and Kelly scored straight down the middle of the field from 27 yards out to give the visitors a 12-6 lead.
Special teams paid off in the fourth quarter for South after costing the team points earlier. Jasiah Holt picked up a Wheatmore punt off the ground and returned it 41 yards for a game-tying touchdown to start the fourth quarter.
South will return to the gridiron Sept. 29 at Mount Pleasant to open conference play.