Steady First, Dominant Second…Red Raiders Turn Back Wolves, 42-20
August 30, 2015
The perfect script to a block buster horror movie could have been written last Friday night on Von Ray Harris field in Lincolnton. With the full moon, the occasional howl of wolves, and the resemblance of a Jekyll-Hyde performance by South Point, the only things lacking in the contest were a Hollywood production company and Halloween costumes. The Red Raiders kept pace with a ball-controlling Wolfpack offense in the first half and then ripped the villain to shreds in the second half for a 42-20 triumph! Possessions were at a premium to begin the contest as throughout the first two quarters, both teams scored each time they had the ball. The exception was South Point's drive that began with 34 seconds remaining before the half. The Red Raiders would maintain their pace in the third quarter and the defense manhandled Lincolnton in the second half to claim the win.
Lincolnton won the toss and elected to receive the opening kick. A drive of nearly six minutes (5:45) marched the Wolves to the game's opening score. The play of the Red Raiders defense did not match their standard, but neither was it so poor that Lincolnton would seem able to control the game for the entire four quarters of play. In fact, the bone-crushing hits by the Red D eventually took its toll on the Wolves ball carriers. The opening Lincolnton drive took fourteen plays and ended with a 7-0 lead. South Point immediately answered with a 67 yard drive that ended with a 17 yard touchdown run by quarterback Diontrea King. Thomas Lampereur's PAT split the uprights and the Red Raiders drew even at seven. On the drive, fullback Ryland Etherton picked up a fourth and four conversion with a second effort gain of four yards. With four conversions in as many chances against Crest, South Point's streak of converting on fourth down plays stretched to five consecutive.
The Wolves regained the advantage with another time-consuming drive that extended into the second quarter. The possession took over seven minutes off the clock leaving the Raiders with just over six minutes to tie the game before the half. South Point was up to the challenge. The Red Raiders continued to pound out the yardage on the ground. Once again, facing a fourth and six, Etherton took a quick handoff and burst up the middle through a gaping hole opened by the offensive line, Jacob Justice, James Granson, Connor Owenby, Matt Mellette, and Larry Dowdy. The burst covered 38 yards and tied the score, 14-14 with 4:31 remaining in the half. Etherton pointed to a good week of practices as the reason for the Raiders success adding that the O-line deserved credit for the potent ground attack. "Our offensive linemen realized what they had to do and they were opening up holes all night long", he said. The play of the offense was a key early on as Lincolnton held the advantage by scoring each time they held the ball in the first half. They would notch another six points on the ensuing possession, but the Raiders gained a glimmer of hope going into the half. The Wolves lined up to kick the extra point but attempted a fake for a two point conversion. Linebacker Tyler Hall wasn't fooled as he took a perfect angle to the ball carrier and made the tackle four yards short of the goal. South Point trailed by six (20-14) at the intermission.
The Red Raiders took the third quarter kick and immediately established momentum. Beginning at their 35 yardline, South Point crossed midfield in two plays. Then on the ninth play of the drive, wingback Nolan Wilson took a pitch and cut back from the six into the endzone for the touchdown. Wilson helped to complete the scoring as he also held the ball for the PAT. Complimented for his effort as the holder, Wilson insisted that if the ball is near him he expects to make the good placement for Lempereur's kicks. He credits the Raiders with "playing more as a team…and getting everybody involved" following the opening loss to Crest. His score to open the second half would prove to be the difference as the Red Raiders defense went into "lockdown" mode once South Point grabbed the lead!
The inspired play of the Red D coupled with the punishing hits they made in the first half turned the tide of the game completely in the Raiders favor for the remainder of the contest. The Wolves would punt on their only possession of the third quarter and South Point continued to pull away. Another solid drive, including another successful fourth down conversion, would lead to an Etherton five yard touchdown run. The Red Raiders pushed the lead to eight at 28-20 and they gave no signs of letting up! Lincolnton would take the final possession of the third into the final refrain only to see things get worse for them and better for the Red Raiders. With a drive that began at their 35 yardline, Lincolnton could muster little to no positive yardage against South Point. Then with eleven seconds gone in the fourth quarter, linebacker Nick Muse dropped back into coverage and made a leaping grab of a Lincolnton pass, returning the ball to the Wolves 5 yardline. On the ensuing offensive play, Etherton would cross the goal line again and the Red Raiders advantage grew to double digits at 35-20. Another Lincolnton punt and another Raider fourth down conversion enabled South Point to score once again. King carried over from four yards out for what would be the final margin. The Red Raiders claimed the 42-20 victory!
The absence of Halloween costumes and a Hollywood presence is all that kept last Friday's contest at Lincolnton from being the perfect horror movie setting. The moon was full, the Wolves howled (early) and the Raiders defense performed a Jekyll-Hyde change. The effort garnered the season's first victory for South Point and evened their record at 1-1. By their own admission the Red Raiders are now playing more as a team. And now armed with an understanding of what it takes to control a ballgame, the Raiders will continue to work hard to "run the table" to greater success! The Shelby Golden Lions will take their shot next week at Lineberger Stadium. Last week Wolves, this week Lions, a perfect opportunity for the Raiders to continue their dominance over the animal kingdom!
Go Get 'Em, Red!
Notable Facts and Thoughts
South Point has proven an uncanny proficiency on fourth downs through two games this season. The Red Raiders converted four times against Crest and mustered five fourth down conversions against Lincolnton. And given that many of those have been outside of four yards to gain is quite a confidence boost to the Red O. Go Big Red!
JV Report by Calvin Craig
August 27, 2015
JV South Point rally too late in loss to JV Wolves, 36-29
Red Raider quarterback, Scottie Lee scored on a 27 yard touchdown run in the 1st quarter to begin the game's scoring, but Lincolnton scored the game's next four touchdowns and built an insurmountable lead.
The Red Raiders would continue to fight back as John Deason scored in the second half on a 20 yard touchdown run and Patrick Guzeman scored on a 4 yard touchdown to get the Red Raiders back in the game at 36-22.
The late rally began as the Red Raiders took a late fourth quarter drive from their own 48 and capped it with a 23 yard Deason touchdown run. The drive was highlighted with a Lee pass to Caleb Gibson who took a strong hit from the Lincolnton defender, but managed to haul in the pass for a 13 yard gain.
Following Deason's touchdown and the extra point kick to bring the score to 36-29, South Point would try for the onsides kick only to see Lincolnton recover. The Red Raiders had one last chance forcing the Wolves to punt, but a fumble on punt return sealed the Red Raiders fate on the night.
South Point returns to action next week at Shelby.