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Mountaineers’ QB, Front Seven Short Circuit Spartans by Dan O’Neal

KINGS MOUNTAIN (August 24, 2018) — It was the second contest of a two-game series between South Caldwell and Kings Mountain High School out of Cleveland County, considered by many a local sports fan a major hotbed for high school football.  This has been proven true given the number of state football championships won by two of Cleveland County’s finest, Shelby and Crest respectively.

Kings Mountain 42   South Caldwell 6

The Mountaineers over the last ten years have enjoyed success under the leadership of their head football coach, Greg Lloyd.  For the last two seasons, Kings Mountain actually has a two-game winning streak against Crest.  Last year, the Mountaineers came to the Jack Clarke and cruised to a 56-6 win over South.  Spartan Nation was hoping for a different kind of outcome at John Gamble Stadium this past Friday night.

Things did not turn out as the South fans had hoped, as Mountaineers senior quarterback Kaylon Wade threw for four touchdowns on 12 of 17 passing for 277 yards.  Senior wideout Chris Brittain was on the receiving end of two passes and ran one in for the game’s first score.

Prior to the game, not only did Spartans head coach Marc Kirkpatrick pay high compliments to the Mountaineers offensive skill set; he was even more complimentary of the Kings Mountain defensive front seven.

He had reason to be so complimentary as South only amassed seventy-three yards of total offense for the entire contest, with their lone score coming at the 8:40 mark of the fourth period as sophomore Avery Raynor threw a twenty-two-yard strike to junior tailback Spencer Piercy.  Overall, it was not as if Kings Mountain made any super big-time plays; they simply made the plays they needed to make to score touchdowns and stymied the Spartans’ backfield, both offense and defense.

As Coach Kirkpatrick emphasized following the game, there is the need to dwell on the positives- the Spartans defensive front held the Mountaineers to ninety-five yards rushing overall in the first half and made matters difficult for potential Division I recruit Ricaylen Mack as he only gained forty-six yards on five touches. They also managed on one play to sack Wade for a nine-yard loss in the first quarter.  Return specialist Malakei Sumner did very well in returning kickoffs and the Spartans did very well in protecting the football as they had absolutely no turnovers and were only penalized twice.

There was also the demeanor of the players, coaches and fans after the game that appeared to be really positive.  Many players were having photos taken with their families with smiling faces.  There was not any rush to exit the stadium that is usually typical following a loss.

Though Spartan Nation did not enjoy the outcome, there seems to be some optimism toward the remainder of the 2018 season.  In the words of Avery Raynor, “every game we play is big.  We are making many, many improvements.  We go back to work on Monday and get it done the next week.”

Next game will have the rematch between South and East Rutherford from the Southwestern 2A Conference.  The Spartans hope to avenge a 47-7 loss to the Cavaliers in Bostic from the previous season.  Kickoff is 7:30 at the Jack Clarke Field.  Here Come Your Spartans!

Sights, Sounds, Etc from the Spartans home openers:

1- Kudos to Nick Everhart as he scored twice on runs of seven and two yards as the Spartans Junior Varsity lost a close one to the Kings Mountain Jayvees in their home opener, 20-14.

2-Two significant announcements that came from the press box during the Junior Varsity game, a) Mason Spradlin is said to be opening up a dance school and b) Athletic Director Jeff Parham and wife Mandy are supposedly now providing pet grooming services.  Mandy indicated that she received a phone call inquiring about these services.  Would love to see if someone would bring the Parhams a porcupine to groom..no thrills there or is that quills??

3-Hand dipped ice cream now being sold at the concessions.  Watch your step there friends; then again, is it better to trod through a melted ice cream spot or smokeless tobacco spit?  And I thought such was prohibited, oh well, LOL I see only the game and hear only that which pertains to the game.  That is as much as any of you readers NEED to KNOW from Dan O’Neal.  See what those geniuses in the press box have got me typing, uggggggghhhh!