Spartans Fall In Season Opener by Dan O’Neal
SAWMILLS, NC (August 25, 2017)…The 2017 Fall Sports Season makes for a new quadrennium for conferences with the state High School Athletic Association. Though there are a couple of new additions, most of the South Caldwell opponents remain the same. Hence, it is safe to say that the administration at South is grateful they did not change conferences for the next four years (see the word quadrennium, duhhhhh,lol).
Marc Kirkpatrick begins his first season as head coach for the Spartans after serving as an assistant for several seasons. Friday evening, the Spartans opened the season against Kings Mountain, who is part of the newly aligned Big South 3A Conference encompassing high schools from Cleveland and Gaston Counties.
Kings Mountain completed the 2016 campaign with an 8-4 record while the Spartans finished with a 2-9 record and lost nine seniors to graduation. With that, nowhere to go but upward.
Even though the Mountaineers lost twenty-two from last year, they did return six starters on offense and defense, with their offensive line being anchored by Jonathan Rikard, an all-conference selection. Like all the other high schools in Cleveland County, the Mounties do not really rebuild, rather, they reload.
This was clearly evident at Jack Clarke field as the Mounties scored on the opening series with a seven play, sixty-three drive culminated with an eleven yard touchdown pass from Mounties junior quarterback Dameon Wilson to wideout Dontavious Hughes.
The Mountaineers followed their opening drive with seven consecutive scores, as Wilson would connect on six of eight passes, including another scoring pass to Ricaylen Mack, a sophomore who is said to be a Football Bowl Series recruit and distantly related to Kevin Mack, who played at Clemson and for the Cleveland Browns during the 1980’s. Kings Mountain also capitalized on a Spartan fumble recovered in the end zone on the first series of the third period. (See the scoring summary for individual performances as I seek to not be redundant).
There were some bright spots on the part of the Spartans. Coach Kirkpatrick gave high praise to this squad for their playing hard, especially their effort in the second half. Senior tailback Harley Sullivan was quite impressive with his eighty three yard run before stumbling at the 1 yard line. Two plays later, Sullivan broke through the line putting up six at the 8:33 mark of the second frame for the Spartans lone score. Sullivan would finish with 110 yards on twelve carries.
Other solid individual performances for South Caldwell include Spencer Piercy with forty-nine yards on eight carries as well as a twenty yard reception from Senior quarterback Jesse Connor, who returns from last season’s injury. Sophomore Austin Raynor also contributed with two receptions for twenty-four yards.
Though the final outcome of 54-6 is indicative of how Kings Mountain has a stronger football program, both squads played a very clean game as there were only five infractions called, which can be credited to quality coaching from both staffs. As Coach Kirkpatrick commented following the game, “Kings Mountain is a dang good football team, much better than we are. Though our kids played hard and we are a young team, we cannot be satisfied. We have to hold our heads high and keep getting better every week”.
The Spartans will be on the road for the next few Friday evenings and will begin the first of their of their travels to East Rutherford on Friday, September 1st at 7:30pm. The Cavaliers enter this contest with a 2-0 record and coming off of a 34-12 win over North Gaston. With this, here’s hoping senior tailback Nate Monroe returns really soon!
-Gracie Bowman and the Spartans Cheer Corps did not disappoint. They always bring it on with their aerial rolls, standing pyramids and sticking it spot on with their dismounts. These maneuvers are performed with great enthusiasm and precision.
-Mr Childers and Company put on an excellent performance as the Spartan Regiment always does; on the field as well as on stage. Also, very glad to to see the art of majorettes twirling the flaming patons. These makes for an excellent show under the Friday Night Lights.
-Fans on both sides of Spartan Stadium showed great class and support to their schools. One should appreciate the cordial display of sportsmanship and citizenship as everyone stood respectfully for the National Anthem.
-Am so glad the fight between MacGregor and Mayweather is over, or is it? Every sports talk pundit still appears to be keeping the rounds going with their incessant talk over the bout. Mayweather in 10, get over it already!
KM- Wade 11pass to Hughes, Randle kick, 9:11 1st
KM- Wade 31pass to Mack, Randle kick, 4:15 1st
KM- Wade 3run, Randle Kick, 1:54 1st
KM- Brooks 3run, Randle kick, 10:18 2nd
SC- Sullivan 1run, pass failed, 8:33 2nd
KM- Wade 12run, Randle kick, 5:48 2nd
KM- Brooks 19run, kick failed, 2:36 2nd
KM- Brown fumble recovery in end zone, Randle kick, 10:16 3rd
KM- Melton 34run, kick failed, 4:25 3rd
First Downs KM-14 SC-6
Rushing Yards KM- 35-300 SC 36-160
Passing Yards KM- 135 SC- 50
Total Yards KM-435 SC-210
Comp-Att-Int KM- 7-9-0 SC 4-8-1
Penalties KM 3-25 SC 2-15
Time of Possession KM 19:09 SC 28:41
Rushing: KM- Mack 8-61, Wilson 6-69,2TD, Brooks 7-59 2TD, Osborne 6-37 , Melton 4-55 TD, FHerman 4-5, Connor 6- -9, Martin 2- -10, Faro 1-7, Sumner 1-9;
Passing: KM- Wilson 6-8-0 127, 2TD, Melton 1-1-0 8; SC- Connor 3-6-1 44, Martin 1-2-0 6; Receiving: KM- Hughes 3-60 TD, Mack 1-31 TD, Brittain 2-36, Paysour 1-8; SC- Raynor 2-24, Piercy 1-20, Herman 1-6