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Cougars Trounce Spartans in Home Opener…by Dan O’Neal

SAWMILLS, NC (09-02-2016)…Even though the effects of Tropical Storm Hermine (or was it Hermie, like that elf in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer that looks like Blake Hanson from WSOC-TV) had very little effect on the weather conditions, it was an unusual early September sky as the fans were blessed with cooler weather and not a drop of rain; guess the full house at Spartan Stadium was relieved that they were not in the storm pathway.

In sitting between the radio crews from Kicks Country and WACB 860 AM, there was much commentary regarding Alexander Central head coach Butch Carter returning to the site where he won 104 games in fifteen seasons. Anytime that happens, there will always be that media hype.

There was also the question asked by WACB announcer Rick Gilbert as to the exact location of South Caldwell High School. The response he received was Sawmills (see above) yet the school has a Granite Falls telephone prefix but a Hudson address. Might there be a case of “identity crisis” here?

Though there may not be an identity crisis among the South Caldwell varsity football team, it can be said that they are still seeking some type of identity in their approach to the game of football. When there is a significant change in the offense style, learning to adapt to the new scheme can prove to be challenging. For years, Spartan football has been about run and block and Butch Carter employed that style at South and is doing the same at Alexander Central. New Spartans head coach Sean McMenomy implements the spread offense, and though it has been a struggle, freshman quarterback Jason Martin is learning quite well even with the 0-3 start to the season as well as the other ten guys on offense. Keep in mind this is a younger Spartan squad.

Alexander Central junior tailback Bryson Godfrey proved to be a thorn in the Spartans defense as he ran for 166 yards on twelve carries as well as a 66-yard kickoff return for a score to lead the Cougars to a 54-7 win, their first over South Caldwell in five seasons. Overall, the Cougars offense accumulated 490 yards and five of their scores were rushing touchdowns.

For the Spartans, Martin connected on 22 of 33 passes, nine of those throws were to Ryder Martin for 97 yards along with Tyler Goins with five catches, Karson Hilton with four, Austin Raynor with three and South’s lone touchdown came at the 7:39 mark of the third period as Martin tossed a five yarder to Malakei Summer followed by a Carlos Maysonet extra point. Even with two pickoffs by the Cougars, Martin continues to improve in each outing. And kudos to Nate Monroe on the excellent 64-yard kickoff return. Look for him to take one of those to the end zone before long.

“Though I’m disappointed with the 0-3 start, I’m very proud of my guys. They keep going after it. We need to start making more plays and overcome our misreads on offense. The first third of the season is done and we need to get that new rhythm going. I have great faith in the coaches and players here and these guys are working hard to become more consistent” commented Coach Mac.

South Caldwell has a bye this coming Friday. The next contest will be at home against Class 2A Maiden High School. Kickoff is, as always, at 7:30pm and South will still be seeking their first win.

Sights and Sounds from Friday Night: A very moving tribute to Ginger Shelby, always and ever Mrs. Hospitality in the Press Box, sadly passed away a few months ago. South Caldwell Principal Chad Smith, Athletic Director Jeff Parham, along with Robby Shelby and the other family members were presented with a plaque to honor and remember her faithful service to the South Caldwell community…Granite Falls, Hudson, and Sawmills. Spartan Nation will miss her greatly.

So very pleased to see “fire-breathing” twirling batons back in high school marching bands. Mr Childers always does an excellent job with the band students, both in marching and concert. Justin Faulkner gave an excellent rendition of Eric Church’s “Homeboy” during the pregame along with band members Matt Moore, Bailey Gillen and Elizabeth Keever.

Very few infractions in this contest. Though any time Alexander Central and South Caldwell meet will have intense play on the field, players and coaches seemed to keep it all in proper perspective. It is merely about going out each Friday night and making plays. If you were to have this discussion with either coach, making plays and getting the win when the zeros are on the scoreboard are what matter the most to them.

Scoring Summary

AC Godfrey 67 run, Gast kick, 11:45 1st
AC Anderson 70 pass to Godfrey, Gast kick, 10:00 1st
AC Wooten 64 Int return, Gast kick, 7:46 1st
AC Parson 49 run, Gast kick, 4:53 1st
AC Weiss 4 run, kick blocked, 11:55 2nd
SC Martin 5 pass to Summer, Maysonet kick, 7:39 3rd
AC Godfrey 66 kick return, Gast kick, 7:27 3rd
AC Weiss 35 run, kick failed, :39 3rd
AC Calhoun 2 run, Gast kick, 7:58 4th

Game Stats AC SC
First Downs 9 14
Rushes-Yards 36-383 24-43
C-A-I 4-6-0 22-33-2
Passing Yards 107 197
Total Yards 490 240
3rd Down Conv 2-5 2-11
4th Down Conv 1-1 2-5
Penalties/Yards 4-50 3-34
Time of Poss 19:53 28:07

Individual Stats

Rushing

SC: Goins 21-62, J. Martin 3- -19

AC: Godfrey 12-166,TD, Weiss 12-95, 2TD, Calhoun 5-33,TD, Anderson 3-34, Parson 2-51,TD, Wooten 2-4

Passing

AC: Anderson 4-6-0, 107, 1TD

SC: J. Martin- 22=33-2, 197, TD

Receiving

AC: Godfrey 1-70,TD, Weiss 2-15, Parson 1-22

SC: R. Martin 9-97, Goins 5-53, Hilton 4-22, Raynor 3-30, Summer 1-5,TD


Story and all statistics provided by local sportswriter Dan O’Neal…