Prep Football: Providence Grove 15, North Rowan 12

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 18, 2008

By Steve Huffman
shuffman@salisburypost.comSPENCER ó North Rowan did some things right Friday night ó making a good showing on defense and breaking two long plays for first-half scores.
But the end result was more of the same as the Cavaliers fell 15-12 to visiting Providence Grove. Despite some close games, North (0-8, 0-4 CCC) remains winless.
“It’s real difficult to come so close and not win,” said North’s Sam Mauldin a junior tight end. “We march up and down the field and then do something stupid like jump offsides. We’re a good team, we’ve just got to get a little better disciplined.”
Mauldin was responsible for one of North’s best plays, snaring a pass from quarterback Jesse Rudisell, then rambling 77 yards for a touchdown with five seconds remaining in the first half.
The pass staked the Cavaliers to a 12-7 lead, an advantage they maintained until late in the game.
Mauldin, who stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 210 pounds, broke one tackle, then outran a Patriot defensive back to the end zone.
“I’ll be honest with you, I go for a touchdown every time I touch the ball,” Mauldin said when asked if his score surprised him.
North’s other touchdown came in the first quarter when Cameron Mallett broke a 66-yard run, leaving a trail of Providence (4-4, 1-3) defenders in his wake. It was the only time Mallett touched the ball all night.
North coach Tasker Fleming said Mallett wasn’t hurt on the play, only that his number never came up again in the team’s play rotation.
“The desire is there,” Fleming said of his team’s effort. “It’d be nice to win. We’ll continue and try to get better.”
Providence scored on its first possession, driving 80 yards in 14 plays, all on the ground. The Patriots never attempted a pass on a night where rain made conditions more conducive to a gathering of ducks than North’s 50th homecoming celebration.
The ball was hard to control, Providence fumbling seven times and losing two. North fumbled twice, losing one.
“North’s defense impressed me a great deal ó both tonight and when I watched them on film,” said Providence coach Todd Shuping. “They’re young, they’re going through a learning process.”
North’s defense had some stellar moments, including an impressive goal-line stand in the first half.
On that drive, Providence moved to a first and goal at the Cavalier 3. But Eric Roberson and Terry Allen made key stops and a delay of game penalty moved the Patriots back to the 8.
On fourth down, Vince Shropshire dropped Providence quarterback Riley Comer at the 11.
After trailing 12-7 at halftime, the Patriots pulled to within 12-9 in the third quarter when a snap to North punter Jon Robertson sailed over his head. Robertson was tackled in the end zone.
Providence’s Comer scored his second touchdown with 5:25 remaining, carrying in from 3 yards out to cap a long drive and give the Patriots their first lead since halftime.
North generated virtually no offense in the second half, running just 15 plays and netting but a single first down.
“We need to figure out a way to get some first downs to help our defense out,” Fleming said. “We can’t expect them to win the game for us.”

NOTES: Lathan Charleston and Roberson recovered fumbles for North. … Both teams had punting troubles. While the Cavaliers gave up a safety on a botched snap, Providence handed the ball to the Cavaliers at the Patriot 27 when its punter bobbled a punt.