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Prep Football: West Montgomery 28, North Rowan 0

By David Shaw
dshaw@salisburypost.comMOUNT GILEAD ó North Rowan took a big step in the wrong direction Friday night.
The Cavaliers had four turnovers ó two that led directly to touchdowns ó in a deflating 28-0 YVC loss at West Montgomery. The setback likely cost North a chance to host a playoff game.
“Not only that,” coach Tasker Fleming decided. “We lost a little bit of pride. For the first time in 1A competition, we let someone outplay us.”
With a chance to slide comfortably into second place in the conference standings, North (4-6, 4-2) offered a swing-and-a-miss performance. The Cavs managed only three first downs and 30 yards total offense, including negative-three on the ground. Quarterbacks Jesse Rudisell and T.J. Allen were sacked five times. And North’s deepest penetration all night was the West 24-yard line, a drive foiled when it coughed up the ball following a productive run.
“We just weren’t on the same page tonight,” senior lineman Keith Reid tried to explain. “There were mistakes and miscommunications on the line and in the backfield. Some people were coming off the ball and some weren’t.”
Sounds like a recipe for disaster, which this game quickly became. The second-place Warriors (7-3, 5-1) took the opening kickoff and executed an 80-yard touchdown drive that consumed more than six minutes.
“They have a great defense, one of the best in our conference,” West’s Landon Jordan said after rushing for 82 yards and a pair of TDs. “The thing they didn’t do very well tonight was wrap up. They didn’t tackle well and we were able to drive the ball down field.”
West doubled its lead to 14-0 before the first quarter ended. Facing second-and-long from his own 15, Rudisell was chased into the end zone where he fumbled and WM’s Kelsey Atkins recovered.
“They had a great first quarter and we had no answer,” Fleming said. “They beat us up front. This game played out very similar to the South Stanly game (a 16-14 win on Sept. 25). We were down 14-0 in that game too. This time we got an opportunity and didn’t finish. That’s an opportunity we won’t get back.”
Fleming was referring to North’s best scoring threat early in the third period. Running back Vince Shropshire ripped off an 11-yard gain to the West 39 before teammate Cameron Mallett drilled into the secondary for 15 more, only to fumble the ball away.
Two possessions later it was 21-0, thanks to quarterback Jaquil Capel’s 20-yard score on quarterback draw. Allen relieved Rudisell in the fourth quarter and threw an interception on his first pass attempt. Later, another North fumble ó this one on its own 3-yard line ó helped West score the game’s final touchdown with 10:22 remaining.
“Both of those fumbles were huge,” said winning coach John Pate. “The breaks went our way tonight.”
West, the 1A state champion in 2007, confused North’s defense with its hurry-up offense and 11 different formations. The Warriors rushed for 151 yards and Capel passed for 98.
“What we can’t do is point fingers,” North defensive lineman Greg Melton said. “We’ve faced adversity before and we’ll face it again. We just got to put this behind us.”
Fleming called it “a flat effort,” and added: “We won’t beat anyone in the playoffs if we play like this. We’ve got to take a deep breath and realize where we are and kind of regroup like we did when we were 0-4.”

NOTES: North’s Dominique Mead (left ankle) and Eric Robinson (chronic shoulder) were both injured in the fourth quarter. … The Cavs’ defense did not force any turnovers. … NR closes its regular season next Friday at home against South Davidson.

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