Prep Football: A.L. Brown 35, Statesville 13
By Bret Strelow
KANNAPOLIS ó Tyler Gilmore started at receiver, and an injury forced a position switch two plays into A.L. Brown’s first offensive series of the season.
Travis Riley rushed for 150 yards and three touchdowns as the Wonders, who used four quarterbacks, earned a 35-13 victory against visiting Statesville in a lightning-interrupted opener Friday night.
A.L. Brown (1-0) stopped a fake punt in the first two minutes and junior Martel Campbell, making his first start at QB following the graduation of star Jamill Lott, didn’t return after taking a hard hit to the head on a 15-yard scramble to Statesville’s 1.
Gilmore moved from receiver to quarterback and handed off to Riley, who scored with 9:31 remaining in the first quarter. Gilmore’s 13-yard pass to Tevin Jones accounted for the Wonders’ next touchdown.
“I’ve been trying to catch them, not throw them,” said Gilmore, a senior who was a backup quarterback last season. “Since Martel got hurt, I knew I had to step up. I wasn’t nervous at all.”
Campbell, who was briefly unconscious after going down near the right pylon, sat on a training table with his helmet off for most of the first half. He eventually removed his shoulder pads.
Campbell came out for the second half wearing just a jersey over his undershirt. Gilmore finished with three completions in eight attempts for 34 yards, and his one interception occurred in the closing seconds of the first half.
“I thought Tyler stepped in and did a good job of running the offense,” head coach Ron Massey said.
A.L. Brown depended heavily on the running of Riley, Antwoine Jordan and Xavier Stanback, but Gilmore completed two passes on a 95-yard drive that pushed the Wonders ahead 14-0 with 1:45 left in the first half.
Riley exited the lineup after gaining 2 yards on a fourth-and-1 carry from the Wonders’ 40, and Gilmore threw a successful fade to Jones on third-and-goal. The 15-play march lasted more than seven minutes.
A.L. Brown’s Mike Robinson started the second half with a 53-yard kickoff return ó teammate Andrew Leslie fell on Robinson’s fumble ó and the 205-pound Riley raced in for a 30-yard touchdown two plays later.
“There was real good blocking up front,” said Riley, who had nine touchdowns last year as a sophomore. “We were able to make adjustments at halftime, and holes were just opening up.”
A 67-yard kickoff return by Statesville’s Stephen Chambers set up a touchdown run for Keyon Harris, and the Wonders offered another quick response.
Riley took the handoff from Gilmore on a third-down draw play and darted up the middle for a 65-yard touchdown.
“He’s got a lot of potential, but the offensive line and fullbacks deserve a lot of credit,” Massey said. “They got him to the second level.”
Damien Washington, a sophomore, led the first series after A.L. Brown went ahead 28-7 and came up short on a fourth-down keeper.
Gilmore was again at quarterback when the teams were pulled off the field because of lightning, which created a 40-minute delay. The Wonders used another quarterback, junior Michael Church, once play resumed.
Clark threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Jones on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Mark Goodjohn, Dana Moss and Dominique Phifer recorded sacks for the Wonders, who limited Statesville (0-1) to 139 yards of offense.
Goodjohn also recovered two fumbles.
“Just running down the field,” Goodjohn said. “You go hard the whole play and something will end up good.”