Prep Football: North Rowan 20, West Montgomery 14, OT
By Marny Hendrick
SPENCER - For most of the night, North Rowan was locked in a tense defensive struggle with YVC foe West Montgomery. At the very end, however, a flurry of dramatic plays secured a thrilling 20-14 win in overtime for the Cavaliers.
It was senior night at Eagle stadium so it was fitting that two of North's top seniors, Oshon West and T.J. Allen came through in the clutch. West caught a pair of touchdown passes from Alexis Archie, including the deciding 10 yard score on the first play of overtime. For Allen, a cornerback, it was a different kind of experience as he went from goat to glory in a matter of a few plays. He allowed the tying touchdown on the final play of regulation yet when it really counted Allen nailed Warrior runner Tirea Sims at the half yard line to secure the victory.
"I knew he was close to scoring but I felt like I owed my team since I gave up that touchdown," Allen said. "I just had to make that play"
North Rowan (7-3, 5-1) broke a 7-7 deadlock on the final play of the third period when Archie found West behind the defense and hit him for a 45 yard scoring pass. The 14-7 lead seemed to be secure as the visiting Warriors were backed up to their own 40 on third down and just 21 seconds left. But that was when West Montgomery QB Caleb Drake and his wide receiver Sims decided to stage some drama of their own.
A scrambling Drake hit Sims for 36 yards to the North 24 with just 12 seconds left. Then after spiking the ball to stop the clock, Drake found Sims again streaking across the end zone on a post pattern, right in front of North's Allen. The clock read 0:00 as Warrior kicker Walker Harrison tied the score at 14-14 to force overtime.
North got the ball first in OT with four chances to score from the 10. They only needed one, however, as Archie found West wide open in the end zone for the 20-14 lead. The Cavs tried for two points on the conversion but Archie's pass to Jarek Chambers was off the mark, opening the door for West Montgomery to steal the win.
The North defense, led by West, Matthew Tucker and Allen stuffed the Warriors on three plays to bring up 4th down from the 10. West Montgomery ran a "wrinkle" play with an end around reverse to Sims who seemed certain to score. Allen grabbed Sims by the shoulders and slung him out of bounds inside the one yard line to secure the win.
Warrior Coach Nick Eddins said it wasn't one play that beat his team but felt they gave a strong effort. "There is nothing I can say to make them feel better, " he said. We just came up a little short."
West (5-5, 3-3) actually outgained North both rushing and passing but an interception by Kasaun Coney and fumble recovery by Mike Robinson helped the Cavalier cause. The Warriors also missed on two long field goal tries.
"I knew it woud be a dogfight." North coach Joe Nixon said. "They are a quality team and we had our hands full. Our defense was able to contain them when it counted."
NOTES: T.J. Allen not only saved the game for North but earlier in the day he voted for the first time since turning 18. He noted he was proud of both achievements.