May 25, 2024



By: Anthony Perkins

Gastonia – The South Point Red Raiders and the Forestview Jaguars clashed on the gridiron on Friday night for sole possession of third place in the Big South Conference and a potential playoff spot in the upcoming NCHSAA football playoffs.

This was a defensive contest from the start as both defensive teams held their opponents in check all night long.  All of the scoring in regulation came in the first half and after being given a short field by turnovers.  Forestview got on the board first with 5:03 left in the first quarter on a two-yard quarterback keeper by Austin Parker.  The touchdown was set up by Jaguar Jesse Osborne’s interception of South Point quarterback Elijah Phifer.  Osborne corralled the pick at the South Point 27 and returned it to the one-yard line before being dragged down.  Parker punched it into the end-zone on second down after a first down run was stopped for a one-yard loss.

At the end of the first quarter South Point was forced to punt from the Forestview 47 and as the punt fell to the ground it took an odd bounce and hit the backside of a Forestview player that setting up to block for a return.  South Point fell on the muffed punt at the Forestview 18 just before the first quarter ended to give them and excellent opportunity to knot the score.

Three plays later and now in the second quarter, the Red Raiders were facing a third and three when Tyson Riley broke into the secondary and scooted into the end-zone for an 11-yard touchdown run.   Charles Birtwistle was true on the point after and the score was tied at 7 apiece.

After the South Point score Forestview controlled most of the second quarter and put together the longest drive for the contest of 65 yards but it stalled at the South Point 35-yard line and a Forestview punt penned the Red Raiders at their own three with just over two minutes left in the half.

The second half was more of the same, a defensive struggle for both teams with most of the possessions being three and outs.  Forestview once again put together one long drive of 54 yards but it stalled near midfield before South Point forced another punt. 

Regulation play ended with the score still tied at 7-7 and the Jaguars won the toss and elected to go on defense first.  South Point took possession at the 10 and on a third and goal from the two Tyson Riley took the handoff for what looked like a fullback dive but the middle was clogged up so he juked to the left and went around the end and into the endzone to give South Point their first lead of the game.  Birtwistle was accurate once again on the point after and the visitors held a 14-7 overtime lead. 

It was then Forestview’s turn to try to tie the game up again.  Running back Camury Reid was stopped at the line of scrimmage on a first down run but on second down he mimicked his opponents run and scored on a ten-yard run around the left end.  Plamedi Warsinsky booted the point after through the uprights and the score was knotted again at 14-14.

In the second overtime the Jaguars had the ball first.  Reid was given the ball once again on a first down run that netted two yards and a second down run that lost a yard.  Facing a third and goal from the nine quarterback Austin Parker dropped back to pass and rolled left.  His receivers were covered and he circled to his right to look for another target but the Red Raider defense was closing in and he came face to face with defensive lineman Aiden Ramirez.  He tried to backpedal but Ramirez caught up with him and when he finally made the tackle it was for a 14-yard loss.  What would have been a short field goal was now a 41-yard attempt and it sailed wide left.

South Point now had the ball at the ten and Coach Adam Hodge wasted no time in getting Birtwistle on the field to attempt a game winning field goal.  Birtwistle was accurate once again from the 17-yard line and the Red Raiders escaped with a hard fought, exciting 17-14 win.

After the game he was asked by another reporter why he didn’t even run a play.  His answer was simple, “We have a good kicker and I had the confidence that he would make so why take unnecessary risks.  He put it through the goal posts and we finally won a close game.  We’ve had a bad run with close games lately and it felt good to finally win one.”

Forestview coach Chris Medlin said after the game, “You really hate to lose a game like this one, it hurts, we played good enough to win but we just came up a little short.”

Both coaches were complimentary of their opponents for the evening and they thought both teams played well.

Next week South Point will be at home against North Gaston and Forestview will travel to Stuart Cramer.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: