Prep Football: A.L. Brown 61, Cox Mill 7
By Paul Hershey
KANNAPOLIS ó On its fifth offensive play of the game, Cox Mill connected on a fluky 55-yard touchdown pass to tie A.L. Brown at 7-7.
That, however, was the one and only surprise that occurred on the Memorial Stadium field Friday night. The rest was the one-sided mismatch that you didn’t have to be Nostradamus to see coming.
After the Cox Mill score, the Wonders racked up 34 more points by halftime and the only suspense left was the exact final score.
It ended up at a somewhat merciful 61-7, thanks to a running clock for most of the second half.
“You never want to try and embarrass anybody, but these kids bust their tails at practice so they’re going to go out and play hard, and I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Kannapolis head coach Ron Massey said.
The Wonders collected their fifth straight win ó the last four coming by overwhelming margins ó and running backs Travis Riley and Antwoine Jordan padded their season stats.
Riley accumulated 211 yards and four touchdowns on just 13 carries ó all in the first half ó while Jordan added 69 yards and two scores in a barely over two quarters of action.
The Wonders totaled 290 rushing yards by halftime and finished the game with 438.
“Obviously they’re undermanned as a first-year school and we were able to play a lot of people. We’ve still got to work on what we can do. I thought we blocked well and we ran the ball hard.”
Cox Mill (0-6, 0-2) was playing its third game in eight days ó the Chargers were forced to play a makeup against Mount Pleasant on Tuesday
“I don’t know how I would prepare for it,” Massey said. “And I know their kids are worn out.”
Unfortunately for the Chargers, it showed in their tackling, or lack thereof.
Riley broke at least a half-dozen tackles by himself in the game and on one 34-yard run carried multiple Cox Mill defenders for almost 20 yards.
But the bruising junior also had plenty of easy running too. On the first play from scrimmage, he raced untouched for a 65-yard score that was called back for a holding penalty ó one of three Brown touchdowns negated by flags.
Three plays later, Riley was back in the end zone after a 48-yard run.
Then came Cox Mill’s one big moment as Wonder defensive back Kaleel Hollis tipped a pass over the middle up in the air and receiver Kyle Hunter hauled it in behind him and took it the distance, stunning the home crowd.
“We were in position to make a play and just didn’t make it,” Massey said. “Those things will happen. It was probably good for us. It may have woke us up a little bit more.”
Order was quickly restored for Brown with Riley’s 34-yard burst, followed on the next play by Jordan’s 32-yard touchdown run.
The Wonders were flagged for 12 penalties in the game, most of them were on offense, but they still moved the ball at will, scoring on seven of their next nine possessions after taking the 13-7 lead.
Riley had consecutive touchdown runs of 5, 14 and 4 yards before Tevin Jones caught a 20-yard pass from backup quarterback Michael Church that made it 41-7 just before halftime.
The Wonders’ defense didn’t find the end zone for a fourth straight game, but a 47-yard interception return by Ryan Blackmon set up Xavier Stanback’s 9-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Hollis also atoned for his part in Cox Mill’s lone score with a pair of fumble recoveries.
“Other than one series on defense I thought we did a good job shutting down their veer (offense),” Massey said.
Beyond that, though, Massey was left unsure about just how much his team is progressing after another noncompetitive game.
“We’ll look at the film and just check it out and see,” he said. “It’s tough because we need to play good competition, but (Cox Mill) coach (Greg Neuendorf) has done a great job over there with what he’s got. They’re very well-coached in what they want to do. They’re just undermanned right now.
“Hopefully nobody got hurt and we’ll move on to next week.”
NOTE: Kannapolis may be tested a bit more by Mount Pleasant and Hickory Ridge the next two weeks before the Oct. 30 showdown at Northwest Cabarrus that is expected to determine the SPC title.