Prep Football Playoffs: West Montgomery 45, North Rowan 6
By Marny Hendrick
MOUNT GILEAD ó For those familiar with West Montgomery football, versatile quarterback Jaquil Capel is the straw that stirs the drink. Friday night he was more like a blender on high speed.
Thanks to Capel and a strong Warrior defensive effort, North Rowanís journey in the 1-AA playoffs was all too brief. In the 45-6 rout of the Cavaliers, Capel ran for three touchdowns, passed for another while the defense sacked beleaguered Cav quarterback Pierre Givens seven times.
ěThat Warrior defense just kept coming and kept coming, ě Givens said afterward….îit just didnít wind up the way we had hoped.î
Despite a soggy field from an all-day rain, the surefooted Capel deftly guided the Warrior offense from his shotgun position. He ran for 124 yards to go with his three TDís, including a backbreaking 79 yard scoring sprint early in the third period. Capel only hit 5 of 12 passes but that was good for 106 yards and a TD pass to receiver Ben Creger.
ěCapel is a special player,î said Warrior head coach Nick Eddins, adding in the understatement of the year…îI wish he was a freshman.î
The Warriors, now 9-2, head into a second round 1AA playoff game with a full head of steam. They get another home game thanks to a stunning win by Central Academy of Monroe over 2nd seed Mt. Airy.
ěThis what we prepare for.î Eddins said. ěWe want to be peaking at this time of the year. We donít care who we play, we are just happy to still be playing.î
For the North Cavaliers, a season of twist and turns with lots of key injuries, ended at 4-8. Coach Tasker Fleming was disappointed in the outcome Friday but had praise for 12 seniors he is losing. ěI am proud of every one of those seniors, ě he stated. ěWe played through a lot of adversity but they played hard right to the end.î
North hurt their cause with a rash of penalties, 13 total for 105 yards, and could find little offensive rhythm due to the relentless Warrior defense. Diminutive noseguard Trenton Harris (155 pounds) led the effort along with linebacker Matt Harkins They stopped North three times on downs and also picked off Givens on a fake punt passing attempt.
Capel got the Warriors untracked on offense with scoring runs of 6 and 12 yards in the first period. Walker Harrison added a 24 yard field goal for West with just 3:24 left in the first half to up the score to 17-0.
North responded with their best effort of the night thanks to a 50 yard pass from Givens to Kenyatta Thomas down to the West 23. Despite having only 10 players on the field for a couple of plays, North still capitalized when Givens scrambled 20 yards to the end zone with just 44 seconds remaining in the first half. The PAT try hit the upright but North was back in the game at 17-6, at least for a few seconds.
West moved 57 yards in just three plays thanks to a pair of perfectly executed option pitches to Tevin McAuley that put the ball on the North 8. On the next play Capel hit a diving Ben Creger in the end zone and a 24-6 lead with just 3 seconds left..
North still has a golden opportunity early in the third period when a low snap on a punt gave them possession at the Warrior 18. But two plays later Givens bobbled the snap and the pesky noseguard Harris recovered at the 21.
Capel then sealed the deal on the very next play with a 79 yard sprint to make the score 31-6. McAuley added an 8 yard run early in the 4th period then the Warriors closed out the scoring with a 28 yard run by freshman Rachem Robinson in the final three minutes of mop up time.
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