SOUTH POINT POSTS A COME FROM BEHIND WIN IN CONFERENCE OPENER
By: Anthony Perkins
BELMONT – The South Point Red Raiders hosted cross-town rival Stuart Cramer and escaped with a 28-21 victory in the conference opener for both team on Friday night at Lineberger Stadium.
The Red Raiders took the opening kickoff and set up shop at their own 13-yard line for their opening possession. Eight plays later fullback Tyson Riley capped off a nine-play drive with a six-yard burst up the middle to give South Point an early 7-0 lead that took just over four minutes off of the clock.
The South Point lead was short lived because Storm quarterback Justin Rocquemore capped off the opening drive for Stuart Cramer with a brilliant 66-yard pass play to Damien Bentley. That drive took only six plays and 59-seconds. Nick Wilson’s kick (3-3 on PAT’s) knotted the score at 7-7. The Storm defensive unit stiffened on the next Red Raider possession and forced a South Point punt. Following the punt, the Storm started their second possession at their 32-yard line. Six plays later wingback Myles Hamilton went around the left side, gained the edge and went 33-yards for the second Stuart Cramer score and a 14-7 lead.
The Red Raiders had moved the ball across the 50 on their next possession when quarterback Cam Medlock was hit by a defender while attempting a pass. The dead duck pass was picked off by Storm defender Damien Fernandez at the Stuart Cramer 45 and returned the ball inside the South Point 20 but he fumbled the ball while being tackled and South Point defensive end Dylan Owenby recovered at the South Point nineteen. After all the dust settled from that play the Red Raiders were starting over but about 20 yards further down field than when they originally started.
Stuart Cramer eventually forced another South Point punt and started their next drive from their own 20. Seven plays later, Rocquemore capped off the 80-yard drive with a nine-yard quarterback keeper to give the visiting Storm a 21-7 lead with just over three minutes left in the first half.
South Point got a shot in the arm on the ensuing kickoff when a short pooch kick landed in the arms of Frank Vickers at the 25 yard-line. Vickers ran straight up the middle of the field and he escaped several would be tacklers around the 35-yard line. After breaking through the crowd he ran down the right sideline for a 75-yard kickoff return touchdown to get the Red Raiders back into the game before the half ended.
The South Point defense came to life in the second half and on Stuart Cramer’s second play from scrimmage Red Raider cornerback Frank Vickers picked a Rocquemore pass and returned it to the Storm’s 7-yard line. Three plays later Riley scored on a two-yard fullback dive play. The point after knotted the score at 21-21.
The Cramer offense was unable to advance the ball on their next possession that started at their own 20 and a 13-yard punt gave the Red Raiders excellent field possession at the Storm’s 33-yard line. Three minutes later fullback Tyson Riley pushed the Red Raiders into the lead with another 2-yard fullback dive. Charles Birtwistle completed a perfect night on point after attempts with the kick and the Red Raiders held a 28-21 lead which turned out to be the final score.
Following the game South Point head coach Adam Hodge said, “It was a good win even though it might not have been what fans were expecting. We will be working hard this week during practice to finish plays. There were just too many plays tonight that we didn’t finish. We got down but we didn’t quit tonight and you have to admire that about my boys.”
South Point finished the game with 309 yards rushing on 62 attempts. Tyson Riley was the Red Raider’s workhorse and amassed 243 yards rushing with 44 attempts. Quarterback Cam Medlock completed one of three pass attempts for an additional 34 yards to push the total offensive output for the Red Raiders to 343 yards. They moved the chains 18 times, were assessed 100 yards for 9 penalties and they had one interception and lost one of 2 fumbles.
Stuart Cramer finished with 93 yards rushing on 22 attempts. Quarterback Justin Rocquemore garnered 81 of those yards on nine carries. Rocquemore completed 6 of 16 passes for 143 yards. His favorite target for the night was Dameian Bentley with four catches for 133 yards. The Storm collected 10 first downs, they were penalized twice for 10 yards, they suffered three interceptions and they lost one of two fumbles.
Next week South Point will travel to Gastonia to face Hunter Huss and Stuart Cramer will travel to Boiling Springs to take on Crest.