Prep Football: East Rowan 17, West Iredell 14
By Steve Huffman
GRANITE QUARRY ó It was East Rowan’s 50-year homecoming celebration Friday night, with present-day cheerleaders dressed in retro uniforms and “alumni cheerleaders” of the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s returning to prove they could still strut their stuff.
On the field, the Mustangs held up their end of the bargain, with Andrew May nailing a 26-yard field goal on the game’s final play to lift East to a 17-14 win against West Iredell.
“Yeah, it was good, right down the middle,” said May, a skinny senior who also plays center back on the school’s soccer team.
May’s kick set off a Mustang celebration that eventually included players, coaches, parents and girlfriends all gathered on the field’s eastern end.
“Five-and-one is a good season so far,” May said as he stood amid the celebration. “We’ll keep it going.”
The drive that led to the winning field goal began when the Mustangs (5-1, 1-0 NPC) took over at their own 18 with 3:37 remaining.
The Mustangs drove on the ground, with Chris Moore ripping off a 24-yard run, then following for 10 more yards.
Along the way, a roughing-the-passer call factored into East’s success, giving the Mustangs a first down at West’s 26.
On fourth and inches at the 16, East’s line opened a gaping hole as quarterback Jamey Blalock lunged for a first down.
That’s where things got a little complicated.
With 30 seconds remaining, East’s Quentin Sifford ran into the line for a short gain, but the clock didn’t start until after the play was blown dead. Officials called a timeout and had the clock reset to 20 seconds. Sifford took the ball again, this time carrying to the 9.
The field clock appeared to expire on the play, but officials said East had called a timeout, giving the Mustangs a single second for May’s kick.
West coach Mark Weycker argued the ruling.
“There’s a mystery timeout in the last 20 seconds, then a mystery timeout at the end of the game,” he said. “That’s just explaining the situation, not commenting on the officials.”
East coach Brian Hinson agreed that the clock should have been running as soon as the ball was snapped with 30 seconds left, but said the Mustangs were saving a timeout for May’s kick. He said that even if Sifford’s run to the 9 hadn’t been allowed, May’s leg was easily strong enough to have converted from another 5 yards out.
“They made the right decision, they know they did,” Hinson said of the officials’ call.
Hinson seemed thrilled by the win.
“Five-and-one is something no one expected,” he said. “We definitely played lights out.”
West had the upper hand in the opening quarter, driving 61 yards before quarterback Sayer Robinson carried in from a yard out.
East dominated the second quarter with a pair of long drives, Moore carrying for the Mustangs’ first score and quarterback Jamey Blalock following that with a two-yard scamper for touchdown.
East appeared to have self-destructed in the third period, with Blalock slammed for a 2-yard loss when the Mustangs tried to convert on fourth-and-1 at their 29.
But East’s defense stepped up, Tyler Bumgarner and Sam Sherman breaking through to drop West’s CJ Gibbs for a loss. On third down, East’s Sam Edmonds made a stop of West’s P.J. Clyburn, limiting him to but a 3-yard gain.
As a result, the Warriors couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity, eventually punting into the end zone.
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