SOCCER PLAYOFFS: Gray Stone advances to third round

Published 4:31 pm Friday, November 3, 2023

In high school soccer playoff games Monday, Gray Stone hosted East Wilkes while Albemarle and West Stanly were on the road.

1A Playoffs

Gray Stone

The Knights, having won the Yadkin Valley Conference championship for the fifth straight season in 2023, entered the 1A West Region as a No. 3 seed, hosting the 30th seeded Cardinals (9-13).

Gray Stone scored twice in the first 10 minutes and went on to the easy 9-0 win.

The Knights (16-2-2) were led by Desmond Bullard, who had two goals and four assists, while Tucker Emerson added two goals and one assist. Five other Knights added a goal each: Michael Burleson, Anthony Varbanov, Walker Bullard, Nick Eppehimer and Arkyn Pethel.

Collin Cape played the first half in goal for Gray Stone, earning the win and shutout, with Matt Lappin and Alex Clark each adding scoreless time between the pipes.

The Knights then hosted Union Academy Thursday night and earned a 2-0 victory to advance to the Sweet 16.

Bullard and Emerson scored the two goals for Gray Stone (17-2-2).

With his penalty-kick goal Thursday, Bullard now has 110 career goals, having set the school’s record for career goals for the men’s soccer program. The previous record was 108 goals, which was held by Chase Viscomi.

Gray Stone will host No. 6 seed Piedmont Community Charter Patriots on Monday. The Patriots advanced to the third round with a 2-0 win versus Starmount.


The Bulldogs finished the season 8-8 overall having reached the playoffs as the No. 32 seed, losing at No. 1 Thomas Jefferson (17-0-2) by the score of 5-1.

Albemarle finished the regular season in third place in the YVC standings.

2A Playoffs

West Stanly

The Colts, having finished fifth in the Rocky River Conference, were seeded 30th in the state playoffs and traveled to No. 3 Salisbury.

West (9-14-1) led after one half, 1-0, but two second-half goals lifted the Hornets (21-0-2) to a 2-1 win.

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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