South Stanly football ends losing streak to Albemarle

Published 1:52 pm Saturday, October 7, 2023

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The 53rd meeting between the football teams of Albemarle and South Stanly took place Friday night as the host Bulls renewed the county rivalry with the Bulldogs.

South Stanly had lost 10 straight games to county opponents, including a playoff loss, and had not beaten another Stanly team since a 34-6 win over Albemarle in 2018.

The Bulls ended both the county streak and three losses in as many seasons to the Bulldogs by shutting out Albemarle in the second half en route to a 26-12 win.

With the win, South Stanly (4-3, 1-1 YVC) takes the lead among the three 1A teams in the Yadkin Valley Conference competing for the guaranteed berth into the 1A playoffs.

Jasiah Holt had three touchdown receptions for South, including one to take an early lead. When Albemarle (2-5, 0-1) had a tipped pass picked off by Carter Callicutt at the Albemarle 20-yard line, the Bulls scored several plays later. Sophomore quarterback Kaleb Richardson found Holt in the end zone for a 10-yard pass, putting South up 6-0.

Albemarle answered on the ensuing drive when Ander Artis found Jason Wall in one-on-one coverage down field and connected with him for a 49-yard TD pass, tying the game 6-6.

The Bulldogs took their only lead of the game midway through the second when Artis threw a swing pass to Kaine McLendon for an eight-yard touchdown and a 12-6 advantage.

The second of Holt’s TD receptions came with 42.8 left in the first half. Holt got past his defender and Richardson threw a strike to him for a 68-yard touchdown, tying the game just before halftime 12-12.

South took the lead for good midway through the third when Mahari Caple scored an eight-yard TD run, putting his shoulder down and bouncing off a tackler for the score.

The two-point conversion was no good and South went up 18-12.

In the fourth, South went up two possessions when Holt took a wide receiver screen pass, avoided two tacklers and sprinted down the home sidelines 45 yards for the score.

“I had to talk to (the team) for a little bit (at halftime),” Holt said about the defense shutting out Albemarle in the second half. “I told them we had to go out here and win because it’s rivalry week.”

Albemarle had one last chance late in the game when South had a poor exchange on a handoff. The ball bounced right into the hands of the Bulldogs’ Tyquan McDonald, who returned the fumble to the South 20-yard line.

However, two plays later, Artis rolled to his left and had the ball knocked away from him by Capel, recovered by South, who then ran out the clock for the win.

“We just had to prove a point…to prove that South Stanly is really back on top,” Capel said.

“(The win) brings value to the work we’re putting in,” South head coach Terry Shankle said. “These guys persevere through tough times. Every game we’ve lost has been a blowout. We got down by six tonight and we had to fight.”

He said the team is all about being family, adding, “We look after one another. We protect one another.”

Shankle also credited his assistant coaches, saying, “They put the time in and the players trust them.”

The defense in the second half, Shankle said, was about not giving up the big play.

“We cracked down and played good defense in the backfield and protected the end zone. We got timely turnovers.”

South faces the second of three county games Friday night at home hosting North Stanly (5-2, 1-0). The Comets won big at home Friday against Lake Norman Charter in a non-conference game, 59-20.

“We have to not have turnovers and take care of the ball. (We have to) do well on special teams and play good defense. We can score against anybody…so if we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot, we’ll stay in the game. As long as we stay in the game, anything can happen,” Shankle said.

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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