Second Half Dooms 'Stangs
Visiting North Rowan pulled away from the North Moore football team in the second half of Friday's game en route to a 42-14 conference win.
North Moore (0-7, 0-3 Yadkin Valley Conference) played perhaps its most complete half of football in the opening 24 minutes and entered halftime with a 14-14 tie on homecoming night. The Cavaliers (3-4, 3-0 YVC) ripped off 28 unanswered points in the second half to earn their third-straight YVC victory.
Billy Person and Sterling Barrett each had a touchdown reception for the Mustangs.
"We're not used to being in big games and being in a position to win," North Moore head coach Greg Simmons said. "I just think we kinda just waited for something bad to happen."
The game got off to an electrifying start when the Mustangs' Jamar Brower returned the opening kickoff about 70 yards down to the Cavs' 3-yard line. On the next play, Tyler Wallace hit Person for a 3-yard touchdown. Xavier Scotton scored the two-point conversion to put North Moore ahead 8-0.
But North Rowan's Sam Starks created a little special teams magic of his own on the ensuing kickoff, returning it 85 yards for a score with 11:28 to go in the first quarter. The Cavs' two-point conversion attempt failed.
The Mustangs held onto the 8-6 lead until there was 10:05 remaining in the second quarter. On fourth-and-1, North Rowan's Amani Bates broke loose on a 58-yard touchdown run. The Cavaliers picked up the two-point conversion to put them ahead 14-8.
The Mustangs pulled even with 5:41 to go in the half when Scotton connected with Barrett on a 70-yard bomb that sent the large homecoming crowd into a frenzy.
Scotton and Trevor Farquharson each intercepted Cavalier quarterback T.J. Allen in the first half.
"That first half, I couldn't have been prouder of the way those kids competed," Simmons said.
But the highlight reel stopped for North Moore after the intermission.
After the North Moore defense halted North Rowan on its first drive, Wallace shanked a punt deep in Mustang territory giving the Cavs the ball at the 11-yard line. Two plays later, Allen hit Bates for a 10-yard score.
The Cavaliers forced a fumble on the next Mustang possession, recovering the ball on the North Moore 2. Allen connected with Starks on a 1-yard TD toss open the lead to 27-14 with 2:17 to go in the quarter.
North Rowan then blocked a North Moore punt. Scotton saved a touchdown by kicking the ball through the endzone, resulting in a safety. North Rowan's final two touchdowns came on pass from Allen to Pierre Givens and a run by Denzel Price.
The North Moore offense struggled in the second half, managing only one first down, which came on a pass interference penalty. Conversely, the North Rowan offense took advantage of its great field position, as each of its second-half scoring drives started inside the Mustang 25.
"I still think our defense is playing as good a defense as we can play," Simmons said. "We're playing lights out defensively. We put the defense in some bad spots tonight and they responded."
Simmons said his team continues to improve with each week and it will continue to stay the course.
"Whoever stays the course with us is going to be rewarded in the end," he said. "I don't know when the end is going to be. I don't know when that reward is going to come. But, it's coming and we're going to stay that course."
Senior Rachel Garner was named North Moore's 2010 homecoming queen at halftime. She was escorted by her brother, Ethan.
Contact John Krahnert III at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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