Prep Football: Concord 13, A.L. Brown 10

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 6, 2009

By David Shaw
dshaw@salisburypost.comKANNAPOLIS ó A.L. Brown’s football team picked a bad time to play a bad game.
The host Wonders lost their shot at an unblemished conference season ó and a two-year hold on the coveted rivalry bell ó with a 13-10 loss to Concord on Friday.
“We couldn’t get any rhythm going,” coach Ron Massey said after Kannapolis (9-2, 6-1 SPC) offered a well-meaning but clunky performance. “We’d make a play and they’d come back and undo it. Everybody’s tried to stop our running game all year and we’ve been able to adapt. We just didn’t do it tonight.”
A standing-room-only crowd watched Concord (5-6, 5-2) blank the Wonders in the second half and close the regular season with its fifth straight win. Kannapolis rushed for 190 yards óincluding 116 by junior back Travis Riley ó but that was more than 100 below its weekly average. And despite averaging 38.5 points per game, the Wonders were limited to a first-quarter touchdown and a second-period field goal.
“I think mentally we weren’t ready for them,” linebacker Desmond Gray explained. “We thought we would blow them off. This is what happens when you take someone lightly. They were the bigger men tonight.”
They were. If this game had been a fish, the Wonders would be obliged to throw it back. They were three-touchdown favorites and never even held a lead.
“This wasn’t supposed to happen,” 255-pound right guard Tavis Bailey said in the despondent K-town locker room. “Not in my senior year. I didn’t even think about losing this one. But here’s what happened: we played a really bad game.”
Offensively, Concord did just enough to prevail. The Spiders had only 12 first downs and 76 yards rushing. But they won the line-of-scrimmage battle and kept the Wonders chasing a carrot they never could catch.
“It was a great win against a great program,” said CHS coach Glen Padgett. “I think in the second half we were able to win field position and that was a key. We contained (Riley) and our offense made a few big plays.”
All the scoring came in the opening half. Concord struck first when wideout Jacquise Moore caught a 43-yard TD pass from freshman quarterback B.J. Beecher, spinning away from Kannapolis defensive back Quin Gill and down the left sideline. It was the longest play of the game and put the Spiders ahead 7-0 late in the first quarter.
“We made too many mistakes,” linebacker Terrance Johnson said. “They might have been lucky on the first touchdown, but everybody on offense and defense could have done a better job.”
The Wonders answered immediately with their most productive drive of the game. Quarterback Martel Campbell steered them 78 yards in nine plays for a game-tying touchdown. Key plays were Antwoine Jordan’s 20-yard run into Concord territory and Riley’s 11-yard burst to the 23. Then on fourth-and-6 from the Concord 19, Campell flipped a short pass to Tevin Jones in the left flat. Jones promptly pitched the ball to Riley, who hurdled a couple of defenders and scored on a 15-yard run.
“We have to be able to run the ball to be successful,” Massey said. “We didn’t do enough of it. It’s not hard to figure out.”
Concord regained the lead in the second quarter, aided by a shovel pass that gained 8 yards on an anticipated field goal attempt. Moments later Gray blocked a Concord punt on the 9-yard line, presenting a golden opportunity for the Wonders to take the lead just before halftime.
Instead their short drive fizzled like Coca-Cola and they settled for Brenden Brown’s 23-yard field goal.
“Our defense gave us a chance and we didn’t get in the end zone,” Massey said. “Those guys kept us in the ballgame. The defense really played well and gave us decent field position throughout the second half. We just didn’t get it done offensively.”
Johnson watched intently as Concord’s post-game celebration unfolded and the bell changed hands.
“Knowing we can lose may end up helping us,” he said. “Now we know we can’t lose again.”