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Prep Football: West Montgomery 38, North Rowan 7

By David Shaw
dshaw@salisburypost.com
MOUNT GILEAD ó North Rowan fancies itself a 1A playoff team this season ó even if it offered little evidence Friday night.
Using a cut-and-paste lineup, the beat-up Cavaliers turned the ball over five times, allowed three ballcarriers to eclipse 100 yards rushing and dropped a 38-7 YVC decision at West Montgomery.
ěWeíre a lot better than what weíve shown,î senior linebacker Jake Becker said. ěIf we learn how to execute we could be a great team.î
North (3-7, 2-4) struggled to connect all the dots in what could have been a prescription-strength victory against an elite team. Instead, it watched an early 7-0 lead dissipate into the cool evening air.
ěWe made five trips into the red zone and only scored once,î said Cavsí coach Tasker Fleming. ěWe moved the ball. We got some first downs. We just didnít finish. We could have made a ballgame of it, but do the math. That tells you everything.î
The numbers told a gloomy story. West Montgomery (7-2, 5-1) ó a team vying for the conference sash ó used its multi-pronged option weave to rush for 464 yards. Senior quarterback Jaquil Capel did the most damage, zigging and zagging his way for 153 yards and three touchdowns. Teammates Tyquan Little (148 yards) and Devante Gainey (107) also topped the century mark.
ěTheyíre not an easy team to stop or defend,î said Northís Tyler Watlington. ěThat quarterback could take off any time he wanted to.î
The Warriorsí offense flowed like water from a tap ó but not until NR scored on its first possession. Quarterback T.J. Allen directed an impressive 12-play, 72-yard scoring drive off the opening kickoff and gave the guests an early lead when he spiraled a 25-yard TD pass to Watlington.
ěWe seemed to have more composure in the first quarter,î Watlington said after making his third touchdown catch. ěAfter that, I donít know. We know how to start the game. But finish? We need to work on that.î
WM drew within 7-3 on Walker Harrisonís first-period field goal before the gameís momentum shifted for good late in the second. It began when Northís Parker Smith had a 35-yard field goal attempt smothered at the line of scrimmage.
ěThatís something Iíve been preaching all week long,î said first-year WM coach Nick Eddins, a former assistant at Richmond County. ěOur defense was going to have to create turnovers. Thatís how itís been all year ó someone always steps up and makes a play.î
Westís pound-and-ground attack produced the go-ahead score when Little barrelled into the end zone on a 1-yard run with 4:05 to play in the half. Then, after Allen threw the first of his three interceptions, Capel raced 57 yards for a pivotal touchdown with 1:10 on the clock, providing a 10-point halftime edge.
ěThe defensive end (Northís Will Robertson) was being over-aggressive all night,î Capel reported. ěSo we put him on an island all by himself. We ran two guys at him at once ó me and a running back. Either way, he was going to be wrong.î
North never recovered. Its best chance to score the rest of the night came late in the third quarter when it reached the West 1-yard line. A lost fumble ended the threat and two fourth-quarter turnovers cemented the outcome.
ěWeíre still a playoff team,î Fleming indicated. ěBut weíve got to be better than this. When you get to the red zone you need points, not turnovers.î

NOTES: Allen completed nine passes for 120 yards, but North managed only three yards rushing in the second half. …Beck made his fifth fumble recovery of the season in the second quarter. … Capel has drawn interest from a number of top collegiate programs including Appalachian State, North Carolina, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Louisville.

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