Cardinals Defeat Mustangs in Football
Sometimes when you see the storm on the horizon, you just have to buckle down and ride it out.
That’s how North Moore coach Greg Simmons and his charges approached their football season opener against visiting Union Academy Friday night.
The big and swift Cardinals scored in just about every way possible in taking a 51-0 win over the Mustangs.
“We saw on film that they were playing at a high level,” said Simmons, who is entering his second season directing a program that has struggled in recent years. “They are at a higher level than us. But I told the guys that it’s not about them, it’s about us.
“We just have to forget this and continue working. We’ll get there.”
The Cardinals ran only one offensive play from the line of scrimmage in building a 27-0 lead with 7:42 left in the first quarter.
That one play came on the opening play of the game when Cardinal quarterback Tyree Drakeford found a streaking Jermany Anthony for a 56-yard scoring toss.
Then the wheels came off the young and inexperienced Mustangs. The biggest thorn in the side of the Mustangs was Rasheed Rushing, who provided a 33-yard punt return and a 30-yard interception return for scores before punctuating his outburst with a nine-yard jaunt into the end zone to put the visitors up 34-0 with 4:18 remaining in the first quarter.
In between Rushing’s returns for score, the Cardinals’ Ian Stanley picked up a Mustang fumble and rumbled 22 yards for a touchdown.
Devin Black provided the extra-point kicks after four of the five scores. The Mustangs blocked the one kick he missed.
On the first play of the second quarter, Drakeford scored from seven yards out, and the Cardinals led 41-0.
The Mustangs finally got something going on their next possession, putting together a sustained drive that was highlighted by quarterback Luke Auman finding Billy Person for a 39-yard completion that put the ball on the Cardinals’ 26-yard line.
But the drive fizzled out when Auman’s fourth-down pass was intercepted by Jalan Lockhart at the goal line.
“We thought we could get something going in the running game,” Simmons said, “but when you start like we did, it’s hard. We calmed down a little bit and did a few things.”
Hard-charging running back Darius Green was one highlight for the Mustangs. He banged and battled for every one of the 63 yards he gained on 17 carries. The defense settled in after the tough start, holding the Cardinals to just one score in the second half. The Cardinals collected a safety late in the game to round out the 51-0 score.
For the contest, Union Academy, a charter school in Monroe, ran 18 times for 180 yards, with Rushing finishing with 60 yards on six carries. Drakeford completed all three of his pass attempts for 99 yards and a score. The Mustangs ended with 113 yards of total offense.
“It’s tough,” Simmons said. “We had some guys tonight playing their first football game — not first varsity game — but first football game they’ve ever played. But I told the guys that this is like a book we’re writing — that was just the first chapter.”
The next chapter for the Mustangs comes Friday when Union Pines travels to Robbins for the latest installment in a long-running intra-county rivalry.
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