Vikings Top Mustangs in Football
UP at NM: Cross County FB Clash
The Union Pines Viking football team picked up a 48-13 victory over the North Moore Mustangs in a nonconference cross-county football contest, Friday in Robbins. Photos by Philip Taylor.
Union Pines moved to 1-1 on the season with a 48-13 victory against North Moore Friday in a cross-county pigskin clash.
By halftime, the visiting Vikings led 34-0 as head coach Ryan Riggan’s team snapped an eight-game losing streak.
“All week as a coaching staff, we stressed to the guys they had a great opportunity tonight,” Riggan said, “but that they needed to jump out and play hard.
“We could not afford to come off the bus flat because North Moore has some solid players in the backfield who could take advantage of a slow start from us. So I was pleased with our intensity and play from the onset.”
The Viking offense scored touchdowns on each of its first five possessions of the game.
Junior quarterback Braxton Ross got Union Pines on the board with a seven-yard bootleg run to the left. Kyle Rakers’ ensuing extra point made the score 7-0 with 8:15 remaining in the first quarter.
An A.J. Ritter 12-yard run gave the Vikes another touchdown with 2:34 left to play in the frame. Later, Ross connected with Zak Rodriguez in the end zone for a 31-yard touchdown toss. Another successful kick by Rakers built the Vike edge to 21-0 with 2:11 left to play in the opening period.
Ritter scored for a second time on the ground at the 9:05 mark in the second quarter. The 21-yard touchdown run pushed Union Pines’ lead to 27-0.
The senior running back led the Vikes on the night with 121 rushing yards on nine carries, while McMillan used 12 carries to tally 91 yards on the ground.
Parris Manning capped off Union Pines’ five-touchdown opening half with a 15-yard run. The point after touchdown by Rakers split the uprights with 3:28 left to play in the first half.
“I think all of our (running) backs did a much better job hitting the line of scrimmage tonight,” Riggan said. “I felt like our line got a good push up front (on offense) and as a unit we limited mistakes early when we had the ball, which helped us on the scoreboard.”
North Moore had a hard time getting into an offensive flow in the first half, as the Mustangs allowed four sacks, made five muffed snaps and totaled six fumbles.
Still the Mustang offense did not turn the ball over, and did manage to get in the red zone one time via a 62-yard scramble by junior quarterback Luke Auman.
The play ultimately set up a 34-yard field attempt but the kick was blocked by the Viking defense.
After the game, North Moore head coach Greg Simmons described the tilt as a “tale of two halves.”
“When we get down — like we did in the first half — we (start to) expect things to go wrong because as a team we have not had much success,” said Simmons. “Then we start getting down (on ourselves) and questioning ourselves and it snowballs.
“Still I thought our kids did a great job of coming out in the second half. They managed to put everything else aside and decided it was time to play. It was almost like they were tired of complaining and thinking they were going to lose, forgot about what other people may think, and just played football.”
North Moore opened the third quarter with a sustained drive to get on the scoreboard — the Mustangs took the ball 66-yards down the field on 11 plays.
A 17-yard touchdown reception by Darius Green, on a toss from quarterback Luke Auman, was the capper.
“As a team we relaxed a little bit in the second half,” Simmons said, “and there really was a whole different demeanor on the sidelines.
“Coming into this game, we thought there were some things we could do. We just got so caught up with what went wrong that it took us a while to settle down. But the kids executed and stepped up in the second half. They played tough and started to make things happen.
“My hope is that this ‘train’ takes us to a good week of practice and leads to us staying intense and intent on making progress. I believe we can get better — I would not be out here if I did not believe that — the kids have to keep working hard and believing too though. If they can do that and keep believing we will keep getting better and better.”
Union Pines found pay dirt on its second drive of the half. John McMillan put the exclamation mark on a nine-play, 69-yard drive with a seven-yard scoring scamper and Rakers’ kick gave the Vikings a 41-6 edge.
North Moore got on the board again when Auman hit Billy Person with a strike on a slant for a 19-yard touchdown.
The scoring connection capped off a 68-yard, 10-play drive, while a successful extra point kick by Trevor Dunlap made the score 41-13.
Auman had a strong second half throwing the ball, completing 10 of his 11 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown. On the night, he finished with 145 total yards from scrimmage for the Mustangs.
The Viking defense scored the final points of the night on a fumble recovery returned 37 yards for a touchdown by Phillip Hall. Rakers forced the fumble on the play.
Hall collected four sacks in the tilt.
Union Pines entertains 3-A Cardinal Gibbons (1-1) next week, while North Moore (0-2) has a bye.
Union Pines 21 13 0 14 — 48
North Moore 0 0 6 7 — 13
Scoring: (UP) Ross 7–run (Rakers kick); (UP) Ritter 12-run (Rakers kick); (UP) Rodriguez 31-pass from Ross (Rakers kick); (UP) Ritter 21-run (failed kick); (UP) Manning 15-run (Rakers kick); (NM) Green 17-pass from Auman (failed kick); (UP) McMillan 7-run (Rakers kick); (NM) Person 19-pass from Auman (Dunlap kick); (UP) Rakers 31-fumble recovery (Rakers kick).
Team stats: Rushing – UP 32-308, 5TD; NM 33-77; Passing – UP 2-2 44yds TD; NM 12-13, 128yds 2TD; First Downs – UP 16; NM 11; Penalties –UP 9-60; NM 3-15; All-Purpose (Total) – UP 443; NM 287. Fumbles/Lost – UP 1/0; NM 9/1.
Individual stats: Rushing – (UP) Ritter 9-121, 2TD, McMillian 12-91, TD, Manning 6-64 TD; (NM) Green 7-26; Auman 15-27, Passing – (UP) Ross 2-4-44 TD; (NM) Auman 11-12-128, 2TD; Receiving – (UP) Rodriguez 2-44 TD; (NM) Green 5-71, TD Person3-37, TD.
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