Warriors Top Spartans in Seesaw Overtime Scoring Fest by Dan O’Neal
SAWMILLS, NC (September 29, 2017)…Tonight’s county match up between West Caldwell and South Caldwell was expected by many a high school football pundit to be a sizable victory by the Warriors. Guess what, let’s hope those experts didn’t throw down any cash on the point spread.
By far, the Spartans gave their very best game performance of the 2017 season. They ran the football for 329 yards on 54 carries and Jason Martin completed nine passes for 136 yards, having out gained the Warriors 465 to 348 in total yardage. The Spartans also made for twenty-one first downs to West Caldwell’s “whompin-stompin” six. Most teams with those numbers usually emerge victorious.
South’s 49-43 overtime loss was partly a result of the turnover debacle as well as missed assignments on defense although the Warriors Taye Dula can make matters difficult for any defensive unit. This was evidenced by the fact that the Dula highlight reel accounted for 197 yards rushing and five touchdowns. Also, for every time South turned over the football, the Warriors countered with four scores.
West struck first after a South fumble with Elijah Brooks recovering the football for a 68-yard score. South fumbled again on their next series resulting in Taye Dula’s 43 yard scoring run, putting the Warriors up 13-0.
The Spartans responded on their next series with a 56-yard touchdown pass by Jason Martin to Austin Raynor, cutting the score to 13-7 at the 11:10 mark of the second period. With 4:35 left in the first half, the Warriors scored again on a Taye Dula one yard plunge, putting West up at 19-7.
South responded with an eleven play eighty yard drive as Dustin Herman eleven-yard scamper to the house after Raynor recovered a Warriors fumble, making the count at 19-14. West responded on their next series with a Kade Clawson 37-yard field goal as the first half ended, making the score 22-14 at the half.
The Warriors scored again on their first series of the second half with one yard run by Dula after the returning the kickoff for 68 yards, increasing West’s lead at 29-14. Bu back come the Spartans as Herman scores again from four yards out followed by a Harley Sullivan 2-point run, cutting the Warriors lead at 29-22.
After defensive back Spencer Piercy broke up a potential Warriors scoring pass on their next series with 3:37 remaining in the third frame, the Spartans regained possession on their own twenty-seven. With long runs by Jesse Connor and Harley Sullivan, Connor called his own number and scored from six yards out with 1:13 left in the third followed by yet another Carlos Maysonet extra point kick, knotting the count at 29.
Alas, that pesky Dula guy does it again as he ran for three plays fifty-eight yards, resulting in yet another West lead, 35-29 just before the end of the third quarter. Okay, here we go, back come the Spartans with the “sophomore slingshot connection” as Martin threw another touchdown strike to Raynor, tying the score at 35 as Maysonet’s extra point attempt was blocked.
But back comes Dula with a fifty-yard touchdown run, putting the Warriors back in the lead at 43-35 and converting on their two pointer. After a three and out by both squads, South regains possession with 3:07 left in regulation. Thirteen plays later, Martin tosses another scoring pass to Raynor and Sullivan converting on another two-pointer, tying the game again with seven tics on the game clock. On to overtime we go.
South had first possession. On the first play, that fumble-bumble bug bit the Spartans offense again. West took over for their overtime series, culminated by a left sweep to the end zone by Brooks, resulting in the 49-43 final.
The Spartans were led on the ground by Sullivan as he gained 129 yards, along with Herman gaining 82 yards, Connor with 63, Raynor with 40 and Piercy with 16. Again, give the kudos to the players and coaches in making this rivalry and conference game very competitive and very enjoyable to watch. As Marc Kirkpatrick commented afterwards, “We were in the game all four quarters. We made great plays on offense but the turnovers did hurt. I’m very proud of these kids and the effort they gave tonight”.
Other sights and sounds:
Congratulations to the Spartans junior varsity on their 42-0 win over West Caldwell the night before in Gamewell.
You had to love and enjoy the “Rocky” pre-game theme music performed by the Spartan Regiment. Even better was their halftime performance titled “Coming Home”, resulting in a rousing standing ovation response from the capacity crowd. Along with everyone standing for the National Anthem with no kneeling or locked arms, the crowd was truly reminded of “what it is all about” with reference to Coming Home as one in the press box commented.
Special thanks always to Mrs. Hobbs and Mrs. Parham for their excellent hospitality in the press box.
The intensity was obvious by both squads as they accounted for sixteen total penalties. But hey, it’s a rivalry.
The Spartans travel to Marion this Friday evening to face the McDowell Titans and still seeking their first win. Kickoff is at 7:30pm.
Scoring by Quarters
WC 13 9 13 8 6- 49
SC 0 14 21 8-43
WC Brooks 68 fumble recovery, Clawson kick, 7:35 1st
WC Dula 43 run, kick failed, :35 1st
SC Martin 56 pass to Raynor, Maysonet kick, 11:10 2nd
WC Dula 1 run, run failed, 4:35 2nd
SC Herman 11 run, Maysonet kick, :32 2nd
WC Clawson 37 FG :00 2nd
WC Dula 1 run, Clawson kick, 11:01 3rd
SC Herman 5 run, Sullivan run, 6:10 3rd
SC Connor 6 run, Maysonet kick 1:13 3rd
WC Dula 2 run, kick blocked, :28 3rd
SC Martin 17 pass to Raynor, kick blocked, 9:20 4th
WC Dula 50 run, K. Dula run, 8:57, 4th
SC-Martin 14 pass to Raynor, :07 4th
WC Brooks 10 run, OT
First Downs SC-21 WC-6
Rushes Yards SC-54-329 WC30-315
Passing Yards SC-136 WC 33
Total Yards SC-465 WC- 348
Comp-Att-Int SC 9-17-1 WC 5-8-0
3rd Down Conv SC 5-9 WC 1-3
4th Down Conv SC 2-2 WC 0-1
Time of Possession SC 32:25 WC 15:35
Penalties Yards SC 8-110 WC 8-90
Fumbles SC 3 WC 1
SC: Rushing- Sullivan 17-129, Piercy 7-16, Raynor 8-40, Herman 13-82, 2TD, Connor 9-63, TD; Passing Martin 9-17-1 136, 3TD; Receiving- Raynor 5-128 3TD, Craig 2-10, Sumner 1- -2; WC- Rushing- Taye Dula 14-197 5TD, Brooks 8-76, Kaleb Dula 6-33, Ashley 1-2 Elleby 1-7; Passing K.Dula 5-8-0 33; Receiving- Hendrix 4-25, Elleby 1-8