MONROE REDHAWKS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF KINGS MOUNTAIN TURNOVERS FOR BIG PLAYOFF VICTORY
By: Anthony Perkins
Kings Mountain – Friday night at John Gamble Stadium in Kings Mountain the Monroe Redhawks took advantage of four Kings Mountain turnovers in the first half to secure a 35-21 win in the second round of the North Carolina 3A playoffs.
On the third play from scrimmage Kings Mountain quarterback Ethan Reid dropped back to pass from the 12-yard line and Monroe defensive back Elliot Reid shot in front of a would be Kings Mountain receiver at the 20 yard line, gathered in the errant toss and raced untouched into the endzone for a sweet pick-6 for the visiting Redhawks. Before a minute had ticked off the clock and before the offense ever took to the field Monroe had gained a 7-0 lead which they never surrendered for the contest.
After the ensuing kickoff the Mountaineers were able to gain a first down before being forced to punt the ball to the Monroe offense. However, the Kings Mountain defense rose to the occasion and forced a three and out for the Redhawks and started their third possession at their own 22 following a Redhawks punt. Disaster struck again for the Mountaineers on the next snap when a mishandled exchange resulted in a fumble that Monroe recovered at the Kings Mountain 20.
The Redhawks struck again on their first play from scrimmage when quarterback Khamoni Robinson hooked up with Shaleak Knotts on a 20-yard toss to push Monroe out to a 14-0 lead just a shade over four minutes into the game.
Still leading 14-0, Monroe started their fourth possession of the first quarter with just under three minutes left on the clock at their own 25. After using three plays to gain a first down, the Redhawks pushed their lead to 21-0 when fullback Jack Crump broke one up the middle for 61 yards and it looked like a rout was on.
The Mounties first score came on their next possession that spilled over into the second quarter when fullback Jaylen Mims scored on a 14-yard run with 11:25 remaining in the second quarter. Kings Mountain tried to make a game of it but another lost fumble and an interception on their next two possessions did little to help their comeback attempt.
Following the previously mentioned fumble the Redhawks answered with another Robinson to Knotts connection, this time for 31 yards to cap off a 71-yard drive and Monroe enjoyed a 28-7 lead midway through the second quarter.
Kings Mountain tightened things up again with only eight seconds remaining in the half when Reid tossed an eleven yarder to Peyton Fisher but they went into the still trailing the visiting Redhawks by a 28-14 margin.
The second half turned into a defensive battle with each team managing only one score.
Kings Mountain scored on a 21-yard pass play when Reid connected with Peyton Fisher for his second touchdown just before the third quarter ended breathing new life into the Mounties however, they never mounted another scoring threat in the final quarter. Monroe added an insurance touchdown midway through the fourth quarter on another Robinson to Knotts 31-yard connection to propel the Redhawks into the third round with a 35-21 victory.
Monroe accumulated 157 rushing yards on 34 carries and Robinson completed nine of twenty-six passes for an additional 238 yards for a total offensive output of 395 yards. The Redhawks moved the chains 15 times and they were assessed 70 yards for 10 penalties.
Kings Mountain’s rushing attack netted 115 yards in 38 attempts and quarterback Ethan Reid completed seven of twenty-four passes for 103 yards but he allowed two interceptions. Total offensive output for the Mountaineers was 218 yards. Kings Mountain also had 15 first downs and they were penalized one time for five yards.
On a side note: Friday was a rough night for all three Cleveland County schools involved in the playoffs. In addition to Kings Mountain’s loss, the reigning four-time 2A State Champion Shelby Golden Lions went down to the Hendersonville Bearcats 33-31 and the Burns Bulldogs lost to the Salisbury Hornets 10-7.