STATESVILLE STOPS SOUTH POINT 2-POINT CONVERSION FOR FIRST ROUND WIN
By: Anthony Perkins
Statesville – The Statesville Greyhounds hosted the South Point Red Raiders in the first round of the NCHSAA football playoffs on Friday night and advanced to the second round of the playoffs with a 28-27 victory.
The first half of the contest was controlled by the Greyhounds by limiting the South Point ‘red bone’ offense to only 14 plays from scrimmage that allowed only 44 yards. Statesville jumped out to an early lead on the opening possession that covered 69 yards and was capped off with a 9-yard run by fullback Mekiaun Davis. A failed point after attempt left the score at 6-0. South Point went three and out on their first possession and Statesville was unable to gain a first down on their next possession as well. South Point’s second possession was a carbon copy of their first turn with the ball (three and out) before Statesville started their third turn with ball at their own 17. After advancing the ball to near mid-field and on the last play of the first quarter Davis broke into the secondary on the right side of the field and after crossing the 50 the ball was knocked loose and linebacker Kam Crawford scooped up the ball for the Red Raiders and rambled down the left side of the field for a 55-yard touchdown. Charlie Birtwistle added the PAT to give South Point a 7-6 lead.
The Greyhounds surged back into the lead on their next possession when Tryeek Carter scored on a 23-yard run up the middle to finish off a 72-yard, six play drive. Ke’trell Mock’s two-point conversion run was successful and the Greyhounds took a 14-7 lead that would hold up for the rest of the first half.
The Red Raiders took the opening kickoff to start the second half and their offense finally started to click. They went on a 13-play drive that covered 65-yards and consumed over half of the third quarter. Fullback Harrison McKinney who was the workhorse on that drive (seven carries for 45 yards), put on the finishing touch with a 9-yard jaunt that tied the score at 14-14 after Birtwistle’s kick.
The Greyhounds answered on their next drive that covered 74-yards in 10 plays that ended with Davis’s second touchdown of the evening on a 5-yard run. A two-point conversion run attempt failed leaving the score at 20-14 in favor of the Greyhounds.
The Red Raiders started their next possession with less than two minutes left in the third quarter and had moved inside the Greyhounds 40 by the time the quarter ended. South Point scored a go-ahead touchdown less than two minutes into the fourth quarter on a 19-yard touchdown run by McKinney and another Birtwistle extra point.
Trailing by a single point, the determined Greyhounds scored on their next possession that covered 55-yards in only 55 seconds. Statesville’s final score was the result of a 31-yard pass from QB Tre’ Turner to Davin Clarke and Turner ran in a two-point conversion to push Statesville out to a 28-21 lead with just over nine minutes left in the contest.
After the ensuing kickoff the Red Raiders set up shop at their own 23-yard line with plenty of time left to mount one final drive. South Point’s final drive was a 12-play effort that covered 62-yards with Patrick Blee covering the final 26-yards on a QB keeper with only two minutes left on the clock. With the score at 28-27 it was now decision time for South Point – do they go for the tie or the win. After both teams took a time out the Red Raiders lined up for a two-point attempt and they drew the Greyhounds offside to put them only 1 ½ yards away from taking the lead. The Statesville defense dug in and stopped the South Point attempt just shy of the goal line to preserve the win.
For the game South Point totaled 238 yards with 227 yards rushing and 11 yards passing. They had 12 first downs, no turnovers and they were penalized six times for 35 yards. Statesville piled up 361 yards on offense with 210 yards rushing and 151 yards passing. The Greyhounds moved the chains 21 times, lost one fumble and they were penalized one time for 10 yards.
For South Point it’s on to basketball but the Greyhounds will travel to Boiling Springs next week to take on the number one ranked team in the 3A division, the Crest Chargers.