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Nine Turnovers Soak Spartans by Dan O’Neal

SAWMILLS, NC (November 3, 2017)…South Caldwell head coach Marc Kirkpatrick told his players recently that you can beat anybody on any given night. However, he also reminded them that the opposition can do the same to you.

At the 1:49 mark of quarter number one, the scoreboard at Jack Clarke Field read like this, South Caldwell (Home) 14 Alexander Central (Visitor) 7. In a span of five minutes during that period, sophomore sensation Austin Raynor snagged two touchdown catches from two different quarterbacks, Jason Martin and senior Jesse Connor to account for the lead.

Then along came the second period. Then down came the rain and up went the umbrellas in the stands occasionally blocking the view of those working in the press box. And from there, then came the fumble-bumbles. Then came the next seven Cougars scores and from there, they did not look back. The result, a 57-14 thrashing of the Spartans on Senior Night. This game also marked the return of former Spartans head coach Butch Carter. The win also sealed the Northwestern 4A/3A Conference championship for Alexander Central and their being seeded at number three in the 3AA Western Region of the state playoffs.

Leading the way for the Spartans offense was Harley Sullivan, who gained fifty-nine yards on eight carries. Sullivan would also be the game’s leading tackler with seven solo tackles and two assisted and Raynor also stood out on defense with an interception.

With their 1-10 record, many would have thought this would be the final game for South Caldwell this season. Because all conferences with all enrollment numbers classifications (4A for the Spartans), with the win over McDowell and their losing to Freedom, South Caldwell not only qualified for the 4A state playoffs but also received a first-round bye.

Hence, on November 17th, South will face the winner of Hickory Ridge/West Charlotte, whose game is this Friday night. Regarding their playoff opportunity, Coach Kirkpatrick spoke to the way South Caldwell can now put on their best “Clark Kent’s”. And regardless of the commentary blowing up on message boards, all the Spartans can do is go out there and give it everything they have.