Prep Football: A.L. Brown 28, Mount Pleasant 7

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 16, 2009

By Paul Hershey
MOUNT PLEASANT ó The 21-point margin of victory doesn’t indicate it, but for the first time in a month, A.L. Brown was pushed on Friday night.
The Wonders faced their first deficit since the third game of the season.
And they led by just a touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter.
“It’s probably good,” A.L. Brown head coach Ron Massey said of his team being challenged.
The way his team answered that challenge was definitely good.
Antwoine Jordan’s short touchdown run provided some breathing room, and Jaques Deese’s interception return for a score put the game away as Kannapolis beat host Mount Pleasant 28-7.
“Give a lot of credit to Mount Pleasant,” Massey said. “I knew (Mount Pleasant) coach (Mike) Johns would do a great job. They were well-prepared and threw a few wrinkles at us and did a great job. But I was proud of our kids too. We put our backs against the wall early and came back and did what we had to do to win. It’s a long season. All of them aren’t going to be blowouts, all of them aren’t going to be pretty, but the key to this thing is finding a way to win. I thought we did that.”
Travis Riley rushed for 157 yards and two first-half touchdowns, leading the Wonders (7-1, 4-0) to their sixth straight win.
This one wasn’t nearly as easy as the previous three.
Mount Pleasant scored on its fourth offensive play and stayed with Kannapolis for the first three and half quarters.
Trailing 14-7 at the half, the Tigers (2-6, 1-3) had a chance for the tying score after mounting a drive of more than six minutes to start the third quarter. Using a combination of short passes and runs by several previously little-used rushers, Mount Pleasant set up first-and-goal at the Kannapolis 10.
However, the Wonders’ defense rose up and turned the Tigers away, thanks to a 7-yard sack by linebacker Desmond Gray on second down and a pass breakup by defensive back Quin Gill on fourth down.
“(Scoring) would’ve just pumped them up,” Massey said. “They used a lot of clock so for us to stop them was very big.”
It remained 14-7 until the Wonders put together its best drive of the game ó a 10-play, 77-yard march that was capped by Jordan’s 2-yard run with 7:10 left in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Martel Campbell, who had struggled most of the game, came up with two big completions to Tevin Jones to key the drive. The first was a 31-yarder over the middle on a third-and-10 play at the A.L. Brown 34.
Riley and Jordan followed with 12-yard runs and Campbell hit Jones for a 17-yard gain along the sideline, setting up Jordan’s score on the next play.
“We didn’t hit some passes early, but we hit a key one to keep a drive alive,” Massey said. “We battled. It was a good, physical football game. They played very physical and I thought our kids rose to the occasion and were very physical too.”
The Wonders iced it 41 seconds later when defensive back Josh Black tipped a pass and Deese hauled it in and sprinted down the sideline 32 yards for the touchdown ó the fourth score in five games for the Wonders’ ball-hawking defense.
“Just playing fast football, fundamental football,” Gray said. “That’s all it is. We make some mistakes, but we come back and just do our jobs, do what we need to do.”
Brown later got interceptions deep in its territory by defensive backs Quin Gill and Kaleel Hollis, and finished with four takeaways in the game.
“It felt pretty great (being in fight),” Gray said. “The first half was pretty bad. We were still up, but it wasn’t good enough so the coaches gave a good speech and we came out and did what we needed to do.”
Kannapolis limited Mount Pleasant to 70 total yards in the first half. But 48 of them came on a reception by receiver Chett Currie on the Tigers’ second offensive play. A 3-yard touchdown run two plays later gave the home team a surprising early lead.
“They throw the ball a lot,” Massey said. “You’ve got to contain them. They hit some long passes, but I thought our defense did a good job of containing them and making them throw underneath as much as possible.”
The Wonders’ defense atoned later in the quarter with a sack and a forced fumble that Gill recovered. Riley ran for a 30-yard TD on the next play. Brendon Brown’s extra point tied the game.
“That was big to give us a short field and stick it in real quick,” Massey said. “It took a little bit of air out and everything.”
The Wonders took the lead for good midway into the second quarter on Riley’s 46-yard dash up the middle.
Kannapolis missed a chance to add to the lead right before halftime. Jones took a short pass for 39 yards to the Mount Pleasant 16 with under 10 seconds left. The Wonders had one timeout, but tried to get closer and as Campbell overthrew a receiver in the end zone, time ran out.
“We thought with the time left on the clock we could throw one and then use the timeout,” Massey said. “We were just out of field goal range. We broke down on protection and it pushed him out of the pocket so it took a little bit longer.”
Jordan finished with 86 rushing yards, while Jones caught five passes for 96 yards. Campbell completed 9 of 17 passes for 122 yards, with one interception.