Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 28, 2013

KANNAPOLIS — In their first 4A MECKA contest, the A.L. Brown Wonders played a balanced game, and took advantage of North Mecklenburg’s mistakes, in a 30-14 homecoming win over the Vikings.
Coming off an open week following three straight victories, the Wonders advance to 4-1 overall with the win.
Although Coach Mike Newsome called Friday’s victory “a good win against a very athletic team,” he said the Wonders could have played a stronger first half.
A.L. Brown racked up 63 rushing yards in the first half, with quarterback Andrew Ramirez completing six of 15 throws for 38 yards before halftime.
The Wonders’ best plays were solid and straightforward – what Newsome called “bread ‘n’ butter plays” in a postgame interview.
Both teams tried their best to find weak spots, including a bit of trickery.
In the closing seconds of the first half, on second down and 11, Ramirez tossed the ball down the line to wide receiver Johnny Delahoussaey, who lofted it downfield toward tight end Johnathan Bryant. The ball fell incomplete.
On the other hand, the Vikings managed to convert fourth down and eight with a fake punt toss to wide receiver Malik Byrd, keeping alive a drive that led to North Meck’s last touchdown of the night.
But, for most of the game, the Vikings were their own worst enemy.
The Wonders broke through the North Meck offense to sack quarterback Nolan Beasley eight times.
Those opportunities helped keep A.L. Brown’s momentum going throughout the game, in spite of their own miscues.
Case in point: When North Meck recovered a Kannapolis fumble with 3:22 to go in the second quarter, defensive end Denzel Sherer broke through on the next play and tackled Beasley for a six-yard loss.
On the next play, linebacker Christian Neal got by the Vikings and tackled Beasley for no gain.
On third and 16, Neal and linebacker Hayden Taylor got to Beasley yet again for a loss of seven, forcing North Meck to punt.
Late in the third quarter, Beasley was sacked on a crucial third-down play by Kannapolis linebacker Kyrell Williamson.
As the Vikings tried to punt it away on fourth down, the snap bounced into the North Mecklenburg end zone, and North Mecklenburg punter Robbie Quinlan knocked the ball out of the back of the goal for a safety.
The Vikings fall to 2-3 overall with Friday’s loss.
A.L. Brown travels to Charlotte to take on the Vance High School Cougars next week.
Newsome, who coached against Vance during his time at Butler, said the Cougars “are very athletic, they know how to win.”
He said the Wonders’ win Friday against North Mecklenburg gives his team “kind of a springboard” toward that match, but that it will take preparation and determination to continue their winning streak.