Bears Spoil Mustangs' Homecoming
The North Moore football team’s regular-season finale and homecoming game went much like their season — very frustrating.
Squaring off against Yadkin Valley Conference foe Chatham Central, the Mustangs had 10 turnovers — five interceptions, four lost fumbles and a bad punt snap — leading to the visiting Bears’ 46-2 victory.
The Bears were led by junior running back Zach Burke, who rushed for 99 yards on 12 carries and scored three touchdowns on runs of 50, three and one yards. Fellow junior LaQuinn Mordecai also scored three touchdowns on a run of five yards, a 23-yard pass reception and a 37-yard punt return.
The Mustangs finish the season with a 0-7 conference record and 0-11 overall, while the Bears improved to 2-5 in the league and 4-7 overall and have secured a berth in the upcoming state 1-A playoffs scheduled to start Friday.
About the only bright spot for the Mustang nation was the crowning of senior Shannon Marley as homecoming queen during the halftime ceremony.
Actually the Mustangs started out well on defense. After giving up a 44-yard kickoff return by Burke to open the game, the defense forced the Bears to turn the ball over on downs. Then the frustration started on North Moore’s first offensive play, with the Mustangs first fumble turning the ball right back over to Chatham on the Mustangs’ 35-yard line.
It took the Bears five plays to go the distance with junior quarterback Chase Fuquay going the final seven yards for the score. Senior Victor Stinson booted the first of his four extra points, putting the Bears on the scoreboard with 6:26 showing on the first-quarter clock.
On the ensuing kickoff, senior Cody Vaughn returned the kick 13 yards to the Mustangs’ 31-yard line. Vaughn had four kickoff returns for 58 yards during the contest.
On the first-down play, North Moore coughed up the ball again and the Bears had excellent field position on the Mustangs’ 31-yard line.
With the aid of a Mustang penalty, the Bears scored in three plays, with Burke scoring from the one-yard line. The extra-point kick missed and Chatham led 13-0 with 5:17 left in the first period.
The Bears’ next score came just minutes later. It was set up by a bad snap on a punt, giving the Bears good field position once again at the Mustangs’ 23-yard line. On second down, Fuquay hooked up with Mordecai for a 23-yard scoring toss. Stinson’s kick gave the Bears a 20-0 lead with 3:08 left in the opening frame.
The Bears got the ball once again in the first quarter on their second interception of the game, but were forced to punt by a stubborn Mustang defense.
There was no return on the punt and the Mustangs had to start from their 15-yard line. A six-yard loss put the ball back on the nine-yard line and on the next play, the Bears’ Banks Burke picked the ball out of the air for the third interception of the game.
It took the Bears only one play for Zach Burke to go the five yards for the score and a 26-0 lead with 10:55 left in the first half.
Chatham Central added another touchdown with 5:58 left in the half on Mordecai’s 37-yard punt return, putting the Bears up 32-0. The first half’s final score came on Zach Burke’s three-yard run with 2:48 left, giving Chatham a 39-0 lead at the break.
The Bears’ lone touchdown in the second half came with 7:02 left in the third quarter when Zach Burke found an opening around the right side and streaked 50 yards for his third touchdown of the game. Stinson’s extra point gave the Bears their final 46-point total.
The Mustangs’ offense started to click, especially senior Kyle Kidd, who finished the game with 48 yards rushing.
Taking handoffs, Kidd helped move North Moore from its 28-yard line to the Bears’ 36. Then senior quarterback Xavier Richardson found a streaking Vaughn near the goal line where Vaughn made a jumping acrobatic catch, just inches from the goal line.
Then the turnover bug hit again, as the Mustangs’ lost their fourth fumble. However, on the next play, the Mustangs’ defense tackled the Bears’ runner in the end zone for a safety and the final margin of the contest.
Richardson finished the game hitting on two of six passes for 40 yards, while sophomore Kirby Lambert connected on four of eight passes for 23 yards. Senior Landon Auman had four receptions for 26 yards and Vaughn one catch for 36 yards.
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