HUSS DEFENSE TOO MUCH FOR KINGS MOUNTAIN’S HIGH POWERED OFFENSE
By: Anthony Perkins
Gastonia – The Hunter Huss Huskies entertained the Kings Mountain Mountaineers on Friday night for a Big South Conference showdown and the prize for the winner would be the inside track on a conference championship. The Mounties entered the game with an offense that was averaging just under 49 points per game and many figured the Huskies would be just another notch in the King Mountain musket when all was said and done but the Huss defense had just a little to add to the conversation.
The Huskies fielded a defense that seemed to be in the backfield of the Kings Mountain offense all night long with quarterback sacks, quarterback hurries and tackles for loss. The Huss defense also benefited from four turnovers, three interceptions and a fumble recovery that ended Kings Mountain drives.
Hunter Huss took the opening kick-off and set up shop with excellent field position at their own 40 yard and in six plays captured an early 7-0 lead when quarterback Zo Wallace capped off the drive with a four-yard run. Kings Mountain appeared to poised to tie the score on their first possession but Rashaard Brooks fumbled the ball on a bad exchange from the quarterback at the Huss 30 to end the threat and their first drive.
The Huskies added to their lead on their first possession of the second quarter when Wallace connected with Malik Corry on a 26-yard completion but a bad snap and an incomplete pass resulted in a failed extra point attempt and kept the score at 13-0.
The Mountaineers offense found a groove on their next possession and moved 80 yards in eight plays with Ricaylen Mack covering the final two yards on a fullback dive play and Austin Browning’s point after closed the gap to 13-7 with 4:15 remaining in the half. The Kings Mountain defense rose to the occasion with a three and out on the next Huskie possession that set up a most exciting conclusion to the first half. After the Huskies punted the ball away to the Mountaineers they started their next drive at their own 48. Six plays later Orlando Odums gathered in an 18-yard pass from quarterback Ethan Reid to give the visiting Mountaineers a 14-13 lead after Browning’s extra point kick.
With only 31 seconds remaining in the half the Huskies started the final first half possession at the Kings Mountain 45 after a series of kicks and penalties on both teams. On first down, Wallace completed a ten-yard pass to Vontray Ratliff and followed that up with an incompletion that saw only ten ticks on the clock. The final play of the half was a completion to Wallace at the Huss five but the ball was knocked loose by a defender picked up by another Huskie, fumbled again and rolled into the end-zone where Wallace fell on the ball for a touchdown as the clock ticked down to all zeroes. Luis Echeveria’s point after kick was true and the homestanding Huskies took a miraculous 21-14 lead into the half.
After the closing offensive fireworks of the first half the second half turned into a defensive battle for both teams. The only second half points went to Kings Mountain on a safety near the end of the third quarter when the Mountaineer defense forced a Hunter Huss punt from inside the Huss fifteen and a low snap caused the punters knee to touch the ground while he was standing in the end-zone.
Kings Mountain had an opportunity to kick a field goal near the end of the third quarter from inside the Huss ten-yard line but instead turned the ball over on downs after an incomplete pass. In the fourth quarter the Mounties tossed an interception inside the Huss 30 that ended a promising drive and on their next possession they had a first and goal after recovering a Huskie fumble at the Huss seven-yard line. After three plays had netted only one yard, Huskie defender Nick Sharpe took down the scrambling Kings Mountain quarterback, Ethan Reid for a 12-yard loss that ended another golden opportunity for the Mounties to take the lead but it just wasn’t meant to be thanks in big part to the swarming, determined Huskie defense.
Kings Mountain had one more opportunity but it ended at mid-field with an interception by Huss defender Jacob Brackett with less than two minutes remaining in the contest and Hunter Huss ran out the remainder of the clock to preserve a hard fought 21-16 victory.
Next week Hunter Huss will face a surging Crest at Crest while Kings Mountain will be at home against Ashbrook.