Cavs Blast Vikes on Senior Night
Southern Lee spoiled senior night for Union Pines, upending the Vikings 57-25 in front of the largest crowd of the season Friday at Woodrow Wilhoit Stadium.
The visiting Cavaliers’ offense found pay dirt on three of its four possessions in the first half, while Southern Lee’s defense countered with three touchdowns as well.
A lopsided 43-19 Southern Lee lead at intermission was the ultimate result after two quarters of football.
With the league loss, Union Pines has now dropped 12 consecutive 3-A Cape Fear Valley Conference (CFVC) games. The Vikes record slipped to 2-7 overall and 0-5 in CFVC play, with just two games remaining this season.
An inauspicious start to Friday’s tilt saw Southern Lee (6-3, 3-2) recover the game’s opening kickoff after a successful onside kick.
The Cavs then used five plays to cover 47 yards and take an early lead. Quarterback Mitchell Showalter connected with wide receiver Quentin Ingram on a 19-yard scoring strike to cap off the drive. The pass play gave the visitors a 6-0 lead with 9:34 remaining in the first quarter and Freddie McCollum’s extra-point kick made it a 7-0 margin.
Union Pines answered with a sustained scoring drive that spanned 67 yards. Vike senior signal caller Zak Rodriguez found junior wide out Devonte Williams for a 13-yard scoring toss on a slant from the left side of the field. The play was the 15th of the Vikes drive that consumed 6:20 of the clock,. Union Pines still trailed 7-6 with 2:41 remaining in the first period, after a botched snap on a failed extra-point conversion.
From there, the Cavs used a quick drive and two defensive touchdowns on their way to building a commanding 28-6 edge. With the score 14-6 in favor of Southern Lee, and the home team facing third and six at midfield, senior Ace Chalmers intercepted a pass by Rodriguez in the flat and took the ball to the house for a 51-yard touchdown return for the Cavs.
On the third play of the Vikes’ ensuing possession, linebacker Michael Reives recovered an unforced fumble in the backfield and raced his way to a 27-yard return for another Southern Lee defensive touchdown. McCollum’s kick made it a 28-6 margin for the visitors with 10:25 remaining in the second quarter.
Showing some strong resolve, the Vikes fought their way back into the game with a pair of touchdowns.
The first came on a 20-yard scamper by Rodriguez when he tucked the football away and turned up field to put the cherry on top of a 16-play Viking drive. The second score came after Union Pines’ defense stopped the Cavs from converting on a fake punt on fourth down.
The defensive stand gave the home team the ball back at the Southern Lee 34. Five plays later, Rodriguez sneaked the ball pass the goal line for six points and a successful try by kicker Evan Lindsay brought the score to 28-19 with 2:09 remaining in the opening half.
In the final two minutes of the half, Southern Lee scored a pair of touchdowns that combined to serve as the effectual knockout blow in the battle.
With 1:09 left on the clock, Showalter struck again, connecting with Aaron Turner on a short pass over the middle that turned into a 74-yard touchdown. The “fait accompli” for Union Pines came 20 seconds later, when a Rodriguez pass was intercepted and returned 33 yards for a touchdown.
Southern Lee’s third defensive score of the night made the score 42-19 and another McCollum kick gave the Cavaliers a commanding 43-19 advantage, at halftime.
In other CFVC Friday action, league-leading Douglas Byrd (9-0, 4-0) topped Pine Forest 56-12 in nonconference action. Meanwhile, Gray’s Creek (8-1, 3-1) was a 31-7 winner over Western Harnett (2-7, 1-3), while Overhills (3-5, 3-1) eked out a 13-10 win over Westover (2-7, 1-3) in the night’s two conference contests.
Union Pines travels to Pittsboro next week, to play the 2-A Northwood Chargers (2-6) in a nonconference game, before closing out the season the following week against Douglas Byrd in Fayetteville.
Southern Lee 14 29 7 7 — 57
Union Pines 6 13 0 6 — 25
Scoring: (SL) Ingram 19–pass from Showalter (McCollum kick); (UP) Williams 13-run (failed conversion); (SL) Chalmers 3-run (McCollum kick); (SL) Chalmers 51-interception return (McCollum kick); (SL) Reives 27-fumble return (McCollum kick); (UP) Rodriguez 20-run (failed kick); (UP) Rodriguez 1-run (Evan Lindsay kick); (SL) Turner 74-pass from Showalter (Chalmers run); (SL) Shawn McLain 33-interception return (McCollum kick; (SL) Ingram 25-pass from Showalter (McCollum kick); (UP) Parris Manning 8-pass from Braxton Ross (failed kick); (SL) Joshua Brewington 5-run (McCollum kick).
Team stats: Rushing – SL 32-182 2 TD; UP 51-155 2 TD; Passing – SL 9-13, 158 yds 3 TD; UP 8-15, 105 yds 2 TD; First Downs – SL 14; UP 12; Penalties – SL 4-20; UP 6-55; All-Purpose (Total) – SL 473; Union Pines 293. Fumbles – SL 3/2; UP 2/1; Individual stats: Rushing – (SL) Chalmers 6-106 TD, Brewington 8-57 TD; (UP) A.J. Ritter 24-80, Lee Barber 15-72; Passing – (SL) Showalter 8-11, 158 yds, 3TD; (UP) Rodriguez 5-10, 59 yds, TD 3 INT, Ross 3-5, 46 TD; Receiving – (SL) Turner 1-74 TD, Ingram 2-44, 2 TDs, Reives 1-27, Chalmers 5-14 (UP) Shakeem McRae 3-43, Williams 3-28, TD, Rodriguez 1-26, Manning 1-8 TD, Barber 1-5.
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