SOUTH POINT DEFENSE SHINES IN 27-7 THIRD ROUND VICTORY
By: Anthony Perkins
Belmont – The Forestview Jaguars invaded Lineberger Stadium on Friday night for the third round of the NCHSAA 3A football playoffs with the intention of erasing the memories of a regular season, overtime, 17-14 loss to the South Point Red Raiders but it did not happen on this night.
The Red Raider defense forced a punt on the first Jaguar possession after a three and out and a shanked punt gave the home standing Red Raiders a first and ten at the Jaguar 34. Six plays and two and half minutes later the Red Raiders cashed in on the short field when fullback Tyson Riley scored on a three-yard run for an early 7-0 lead.
Forestview got back into the fray on their next possession with an 80-yard drive that took just over five minutes off the clock. Jacob Neely capped off the drive with a one-yard run and Plamedi Warinsky’s point after knotted the score at 7-7 and it appeared that this would turn into a shoot-out with the winner being the last team to score.
South Point’s offense added another score in the second quarter on a seven-yard run by quarterback Elijah Phifer with just over five minutes remaining in the half for a 14-7 lead. Meanwhile the Red Raider defense had dug in and didn’t allow the Jaguars to cross mid-field for the rest of the first half.
The Red Raiders held a 14-7 lead and had the first possession of the second half. After a drive that started at mid-field and consumed almost half of the third quarter the Jaguars defense, aided by several South Point penalties, forced a 31-yard field goal attempt. Charles Birtwistle was accurate with the kick and the South Point lead grew to 17-7.
On Forestview’s next possession they were facing a fourth and one at their own 34 and they decided to go for the first down. Austin Parker dropped back to pass and the South Point defense swamped the scrambling quarterback for a 14-yard loss and took over on downs at the Forestview 21. South Point wingback Cam Medlock got to the edge on a sweep left and rambled into the end-zone on the first play from scrimmage and the South Point lead had quickly ballooned to 24-7.
In the fourth quarter, Birtwistle added another field goal (23 yards) for South Point with just under five minutes remaining in the contest for the final score of 27-7.
The entire South Point defense turned out to be the stars of this show. In the second half they held the Jaguars to -8 yards rushing on nine carries and only 26 yards passing on four completions out of eleven attempts while allowing only one first down.
For the game the South Point offense totaled 226 yards with all of it coming through their rushing attack. They attempted three passes but had no completions. They moved the chains 14 times, had no turnovers and they were penalized four times for 40 yards. Fullback Tyson Riley had the most yards (95 yards, 23 carries) but he was a special focus of the Jaguar defense for the evening. Riley said, “Because they were focused on me it opened up opportunities for the wingbacks (Cam Medlock and Ashton Harris) and the quarterback (Elijah Phifer),” which accounted for the additional 131 yards on 32 carries.
The Jaguars totaled 47 yards rushing on 26 carries and quarterback Austin Parker completed 7 of 21 passes for an additional 48 yards to bring their total offensive output to 95 yards. Forestview moved the chains 7 times, had no turnovers and they were penalized seven times for 55 yards.
Jaguar head coach Chris Medlin was naturally disappointed in the loss but he spoke highly of his team and the accomplishments they had made this season. He said, “We responded well after South Point took the lead but after that they (South Point) got back into the lead and we had a few possessions to go bad for us and it just went downhill. They are good at what they do and we just didn’t have the answers tonight.”
After the game, South Point head coach Adam Hodge gave out compliments to the coaching staff and all supporting personnel that are necessary to “produce a winning program.” He added, “Every week our goal is to play one more week and it’s always fun to be practicing on Thanksgiving.”
Next week, in round four, the Red Raiders will travel to Boiling Springs to take on another conference foe, the Crest Chargers, who defeated North Davidson by a score of 35-14.