Prep Football: North Rowan 35, Chatham Central 6
By Duckj Duckson
BEAR CREEK - North Rowan entered Friday evening's Yadkin Valley Conference matchup against Chatham Central without the services of starting quarterback Alexis Archie, but Jareke Chambers proved to be more than an adequate backup, scoring twice while directing a punishing ground game that rushed for 366 yards, as the visiting Cavaliers rolled to a 35-6 triumph to spoil Senior Night for the Bears.
The winners improved to 6-3 overall and 4-1 in the league standings while Chatham Central fell to 3-6 for the season and 1-4 in the conference with its fifth loss in the Bears' last six outings.
With Archie sidelined as the result of an injury suffered in last week's loss to league-leader Albemarle, Chambers ran for a game-high 140 yards while teammates Denzel Price and Jalen Sanders added 106 and 86 yards respectively on the turf as North Rowan managed to overcome three first-half turnovers and a dozen penalties to remain in the thick of the conference race.
Meanwhile, the Cavalier defense limited Chatham Central to only 137 yards of total offense and didn't allow the Bears to dent the scoreboard until late in the fourth quarter.
"Too many penalties and early turnovers really hurt, but the defense showed up the first half and kept us in the contest," said North Rowan coach Joe Nixon.
"Jareke is normally our starting tailback but he stepped in tonight and did a fantastic job at quarterback," added Nixon. "He mixed his plays well and looked very comfortable leading team."
"Defensively we pride ourselves in running 11 helmets to the football and we're well blessed with speed on the edge, which allowed us to pretty much contain Chatham Central the entire night."
Bears' coach Bob Pegram felt like his team came into the contest with a good game plan but never could get anything to work consistently on offense.
"The speed of North Rowan's defense was twice that of our offensive line and they did an excellent job keying on the edge to keep us from getting any room on the outside," Pegram said.
The Cavaliers grabbed a 7-0 advantage when Kasaun Coney fielded a short Chatham Central punt at the Bear 35 and scampered down the far sideline to paydirt before Trae Clark added the first of his five successful PATs.
The remainder of the first half turned into a defensive struggle until North Rowan put together an eight-play, 80-yard scoring drive.Chambers scored from 13 yards through a gaping hole.
The Cavsled 21-0 when Sanders broke a pair of tackles on a 16-yard scoring jaunt.
Exactly three minutes later Chambers capped a four-play, 48-yard march by bulling his way over left guard from three yards out to put North Rowan ahead 28-0.
The Cavaliers' final score came with 7:51 to play when Price climaxed a four-play, 68-yard drive by tight-roping his way 57 yards down the near sideline to the goal line.
Chatham Central then managed to avoid a shutout as the Bears mounted a 12-play, 71-yard scoring drive, highlighted by a pair of crucial fourth-down conversions, and tallied with 3:37 showing on the clock when Zack Burke darted the last four yards up the middle to account for the final margin.