By Charles Curcio, Sports Editor
Tuesday, November 6, 2012 —
One of the great axioms in the vast encyclopedia of coaching aphorisms in sports is the difficulty of beating a team a third time in basketball or a second time on the football gridiron.
Such was the case Friday night for South Stanly in the opening round of the 1A state playoffs when the Rebel Bulls hosted fellow Yadkin Valley Conference opponent Chatham Central.
The Bulls built a 29-point lead in the game but the Bears rallied and nearly pulled to within one possession of tying the game as South Stanly prevailed at K.L Young Stadium by the score of 29-20.
Turnovers and penalties were prevalent throughout the game as South Stanly (9-2) threw two interceptions as a team, one that came back immediately to change the complexion of the fourth quarter, along with a fumble. The Bulls were also whistled for 12 penalties, totalling 102 yards.
Chatham Central (4-7) fared even worse in both of those statistical categories as the Bears threw four picks, lost one fumble and had 14 penalties for 104 yards.
Both teams threw interceptions in the first quarter but neither team capitalized on the mistake and the two teams fought through a scoreless first period.
South’s defense set up their offense with a short field early in the second quarter when Todd Garland recovered a fumble at the Bears’ 38-yard line. Three plays later, a perfect play-action pass froze the Chatham defense as Russ Weiker connected with Juwan Johnson for the score.
Later in the second, Jordan Starnes tipped a Chase Fuquay pass to himself and picked it off at the Chatham 23-yard line, where Devante Hamilton scored two plays later to make it 15-0 South after a two-point conversion.
Zack Burke then nearly broke the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, getting caught at the South 17. However, a penalty and three defensive plays by South kept the Bears out of the endzone.
Taking over on downs with just over 30 seconds left in the half, head coach Tasker Fleming stayed aggressive deep in his own territory and Weiker completed an 87-yard pass to Connor Ford down to the Bears’ 5-yard line. Hamilton scored on a one-yard plunge two plays later.
South pushed out to a 29-0 lead on their first offensive possession of the second half when Hamilton broke through the middle of the Chatham defense for a 71-yard touchdown run.
The Bears finally got on the board after recovering a South fumble in the third as Chatham marched 82 yards in four plays for a touchdown, assisted by 38 yards in penalties. A missed extra point by Chatham would prove costly later in the game.
Leading 29-6 with 3:33 left, South cleared the bench and put in to the game some JVs pulled up to the varsity for the playoffs.
Chatham continued to press and forced quarterback Kolby Morton into an errant pass which Mitchell Camen returned 25 yards for a touchdown. The two-point conversion was no good which kept the Bears three possessions away from tying or taking the lead.
The Bears recovered the onside kick and scored three plays later with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Laquinn Mordecai. A successful two-point conversion pulled Chatham to within nine. South recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock for the win.
“We were sluggish the way we started. Our defensive played well; we got our cushion and got play the second string and the kids we brought up. Give a lot of credit to Chatham; they didn’t quit,” Fleming said.
The Bulls travel to the East Columbus Gators on Friday night.
CC 0 0 6 14 20
SS 0 22 7 0 29
SS – Johnson 20 pass from Weiker (Granados kick), 8:35, 2nd
SS – Devante Hamilton 24 run (Johnson pass from Weiker), 3:55, 2nd
SS – Anthony Smith 1 run (Granados kick), :07, 2nd
SS – Hamilton 71 run (Granados kick), 11:42, 3rd
CC – Burke 17 pass from Fuquay (kick failed), 7:00, 3rd
CC – Camen 25 interception return (run failed), 2:36, 4th
CC – Mordecai 27 pass from Fuquay (Garner pass to Camen), 1:37, 4th
1st Downs 18 12
Rushing 34-52 38-217
Passing 212 107
C-A-I 17-29-4 2-7-2
Punts 3-26.7 3-36.0
Penalties 14-104 12-102
Fum.-Lst. 2-1 1-1
TOP 26:19 21:41
Rushing: CC – Burke 15-26; Mordecai 7-30; Fuquay 7-(-4); Garner 3-(-7); Stinson 2-2. SS – Hamilton 11-154, 2 TD; Smith 7-34; Lee 7-30; Weiker 5-5; Horton 3-6; Morton 1-10; Burris 1-2; Lewellen 1-0; M. Johnson 1-(-3); Smith 1-(-4).
Passing: CC – Fuquay 16-28-4, 208 yds., 2 TD; Stinson 1-1-0, 4 yds. SS – Weiker 2-6-1, 107 yds, TD; Morton 0-1-1, 0 yds.
Receiving: CC – Stinson 5-53; Burke 5-78, TD; Mordecai 4-64, TD; Elkins 1-12; Arcinieaga 1-4; Kerr 1-1. SS – Ford 1-87; Johnson 1-20, TD.