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Prep Football: South Stanly 34, North Rowan 0

By Marny Hendrick
sports@salisburypost.com
NORWOOD ó The game was billed as a battle of top contenders in the Yadkin Valley Conference.
By the end, it was a tale of two teams headed in opposite directions. South Stanly dominated all phases of the contest while the North Rowan Cavaliers self-destructed in a 34-0 loss.
Other than the score, the disparity was most obvious in the way the Rebel Bulls used their punishing wishbone attack to rack up 244 yards on 52 carries. By contrast, the Cavaliers managed only 50 yards of total offense and never genuinely threatened to score.
ěIt was just a poor showing on both sides of the ball for us,î said North coach Tasker Fleming. ěThere is not much positive you can say about a performance like that.î
The loss dropped North to 1-4 overall and 0-1 in their YVC opener. South Stanly bounced back from their disappointing loss to North Stanly last week, improving to 4-1, 1-0.
ěThe biggest issue for us right now is we need to have the desire to prepare to win.î Fleming said. ěYou canít just put on a game face and flip a switch. You have to be ready to win.î
Early in the contest, neither team acted like it wanted to win as a series of penalties and an exchange of fumbles resulted in a scoreless draw after one period. At that point, South Stanlyís Corey Craig decided to take control of the game. The bruising 225-pounder is the point man in the Rebel Bulls wishbone attack.
Northís defense seemed to key on Southís two speedy halfbacks Devante Hamilton and Jevonde Gramling so Craig took advantage. Early in the second period, Craig surprised the Cav defense by taking a pitchout right then pulling up and firing a 24 yard strike to tight end Jordan Starnes at the North 16. Two plays later, Craig powered in from the 4 to put South Stanly ahead 7-0.
It was the first ever pass for Craig. ěI guess I am 1-for-1,î he said with a grin. ěIt was a play we put in this week and it worked out good.î
After a quick 3-and-out for North, Craig capped a 41 yard drive by sweeping right end for a 21-yard score and a 14-0 lead just two minutes before the half.
North continued to self-destruct as they fumbled the ensuing kick-off at their own 32. But the defense held South on downs and all seemed well. But North fumbled the snap on the next play with 5.6 seconds left. South Stanly tried a long field goal that came up short as time expired, but frustrations continued for North.
North quarterback TJ Allen was unable to generate any offense and actually took scrambling sack losses of 17 and 22 yards late in the first half.
The Cavs then went with Pierre Givens to start the second half and he gave the team some life with its best drive of the night. A 13-yard reverse sweep by Johnny Oglesby and a couple of Givens runs put North at the Rebel Bulls 38. But a fourth down conversion try failed as Givens was stopped short by a yard. The rest of the contest was academic as the South Stanly running game chewed up yards and the clock.
Gramling, a senior speedster, scored two quick touchdowns in the second half, the first from 26 yards out after North botched a long snap on a punt. His second came early in the fourth as the team drove 60 yards and took advantage of a facemask penalty. Gramling scored from 11 yards to cap a 94-yard night as South led 27-0.
The final score came at 4:25 remaining as Craig notched his third TD of the night from 3 yards out. He racked up 87 yards on 17 carries.
ěWe took better care of the ball tonight and came ready to play, ě said winning Coach Luke Little. ěIt shows we are ready to compete for the conference championship.î
There likely will be no argument from North Rowan on that point.

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