Red Raiders Take Care Of Business...Pound Knights, 49-0

October 26, 2014

South Point returned to action Friday night, a week following a costly loss at the hands of a conference rival. The matchup against the Lake Norman Charter Knights was not expected to be a competitive contest and in fact was not. The tenuous position of needing help from other conference foes to sustain the Red Raiders' title hopes had little bearing on the intensity that South Point brought to the field against Lake Norman Charter. It was evident early on that motivation would not be lacking, rather the picture was clear that the Raiders brought in the superior talent and would not be denied the victory. The stats and flow of the game left little doubt as to how this one would turn out. The description that follows will attempt, by design, to recreate the efforts and events on the field that led South Point to victory. But perhaps the most valuable content of this submission could be a recount of the high quality and character of the South Point Red Raiders, their coaches and fans.

In a game that seemed to assure opportunities for backups to see action, South Point opened the scoring early. With the opening kickoff, the Raiders drove eighty yards in just under two minutes to take the 7-0 lead. The Raiders offense opened with a pitch to Tanner Muse, followed by a pitch to Jeffrey Pearsall, and then a pitch to Muse who then passed to Pearsall, and the Raiders drove quickly downfield. Fullback Ryland Etherton carried to the Knights' thirty-nine and quarterback Jaquan Brooks took over from there. His 39 yard jaunt opened the scoring and the drive set the tone for the game. More appropriately, the initial drive set the pattern for the game as while the participants may have changed, the results were usually the same. The Red 'D" forced a quick three-and-out series for Lake Norman Charter and the Raiders offense took the field for the second time. The Knights defense had turned up their intensity but doing so only served to let the Raiders showcase their athletic ability. A couple of scrambles by both Muse and Brooks sustained the drive before Etherton broke through for a 29 yard run for a touchdown to advance the Red advantage. Max Neisler's extra point was true and the Raiders led 14-0 with 5:39 remaining on the first quarter clock. Once again Lake Norman Charter could muster nothing against the Raiders' defense and were forced to punt. In control, South Point continued to pound the ball on the ground and picked up positive yardage on consecutive plays. But then an uncharacteristic miscue (for this game, anyway) a Red Raider fumble gave the Knights a spark of hope from their own fifteen. The spark was quickly extinguished though, as the Raiders defense gave up zero yardage in a possession that lasted under 2 minutes. The first quarter clock read 1:31 and South Point would need but 1:20 to score their third touchdown of the stanza. A fourteen yard pass, catch and run from Brooks to Pearsall put the Raiders up 21-0 and had the backups warming up on the sidelines.

To begin the second quarter, the Knights were desperate to establish a measure of momentum that had eluded them for most of the contest's early moments. Their desperation caused them to turn to unconventional attempts to swing momentum as they tried to convert a fourth and four from their own thirty-five. The running play needed four yards but gained three and the Raiders took over. Nolan Wilson came in under center and the substitutions began. With the short field to his advantage, Wilson engineered a drive that picked up a first down and ended with his 24 yard pass completion to split end Davis Ray for the touchdown. Both players exhibited outstanding concentration as Wilson was hit from behind as he released the ball and Ray made a dive back toward the field of play to haul in the catch. The touchdown put the Raiders up 28-0 with over nine minutes remaining before the half. They would get the ball back in familiar fashion, following a three-and-out possession by Lake Norman Charter. South Point continued to pick up yardage, yet as is the nature of high school football, anything can happen. The Raiders could not be stopped by the Knights but they could stop themselves and when penalties forced a 32 yard field goal attempt, the kick, in the opinion of the officiating crew, sailed marginally wide right. South Point "clung" to the 28-0 lead, but was given another chance after forcing the Knights to turn the ball over on downs with their next possession. Wilson and company again benefitted from a short field and took advantage. To end the scoring in the first half, Wilson pitched to Muse for a 14 yard touchdown run and a 35-0 halftime lead.

On their first drive of the second half, Etherton became Wilson's "go-to" ball carrier. Etherton obliged by carrying on consecutive plays from the South Point thirty to the Knights forty yardline. Then with a quick pitch to Muse, the remaining forty yards were quickly covered. The touchdown pushed the lead to 42-0 and at this point the game would continue under the "live clock" situation. The clock would continue to run without regard to the normal stoppages according to the plays on the field. With the ensuing possession, the Knights mustered a little offense but were forced to settle for a 51 yard field goal attempt. The kick was true, striking the center post, but was short and South Point took over. The Raiders were forced into their first punt of the contest as the third quarter ended.

The continuous roll of the clock sped the game, but left enough time for even more backups to experience play on the varsity level. After forcing a Knights punt to begin the final quarter, Junior Varsity call-up Scottie Lee and several of his teammates spearheaded the attack. Lee, fullback Ty Tinker, and wingback Mario Brandon combined behind the solid blocking of the offensive line to score the Raiders final touchdown of the contest. Lee's pitch to Brandon was caught, dropped, and caught again (all in stride) as the speedy Brandon raced 39 yards for the score. On the play, the football appeared to bounce perfectly into Brandon's hands as if it were meant for the freshman to add his name to South Point football scoring history! Several of his teammates jokingly claimed to have never seen the running back run so scared, but this was an accusation the confident back eagerly denied! South Point had long sense put the contest away but the heart of the team was yet to be revealed.

Leading 49-0 and time remaining in the contest, the coaches continued to clear the bench. Following a Red 'D' sack, the South Point sidelines erupted in cheers. Players were shouting and running toward the edge of the sidelines near the coaches. The play was indeed special but what was about to take place defined the character and quality of the young men that make up the Red Raiders team, the coaches that help build that character, and the fans that support without fail. Trotting onto the field for his first varsity action was defensive lineman Herman Gregory! Gregory is a very distinguishable player standing next to his teammates; the soft spoken young man dwarfs many of his teammates (and coaches) and his shoulder pads seem hardly enough to provide protection for his massive frame. On his first of two plays, Gregory lined up over center, pushed his counterpart, and followed the play which was an incomplete pass. Noticeably excited that the pass fell incomplete, Gregory applauded the effort of his defensive teammates and once again took his position for the ensuing punt. This time, and with apparently little effort, Gregory used his strength and size to lead the push into the Knights backfield. All the while, the cheers of encouragement never subsided from the sidelines and stands! The messages of hard work and compassion rang clear.

South Point ran off the remainder of the clock and won the contest easily. And even though the game provided little that the Raiders could use to learn about the strategies involved in football, they, and we, were able to witness the most admirable characteristics evident in team sports…perhaps in life. The excitement, support, and indeed the love that the team and community displayed greatly diminish the perceived importance of football, victories and championships. The actions of the team Friday night adequately marked our boys in Red as true CHAMPIONS!!!

North Gaston and Stuart Cramer remain on the regular season schedule.

Got Get 'Em, Red!

Notable Facts & Thoughts

South Point still has an outside chance of sharing the conference crown. The team continues to be encouraged by the coaching staff to accomplish the tasks that are at hand and worry over nothing else. One down, two to go and this finely tuned "Big Red Machine" (appreciation due to Mr. Joe Messer) will be playing their best football as the playoffs approach.

South Point gets win on forfeit

JV Report by Calvin Craig

The South Point JV squad had an easy time of it this week as they gained a forfeit from Lake Norman Charter. The win moves the Red Raiders to 3-2 in the conference and 4-4 overall.

The JV team will be back in action next Thursday night at North Gaston.

Varsity Reports - Archives

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Crest Game 2014

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Playoff Game 1 2014

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