• 59°

THOMASVILLE — Add Thomasville to the list of teams chasing North Rowan this season.
The visiting Cavs’ looked every bit like the state’s top-ranked 2A team in Friday’s 40-0 CCC romp.
“This feels so good,” junior Jareke Chambers beamed after another field day for unbeaten North. “All we want to do is make history and get a ring.”
This victory was a significant step in the right direction. North (10-0, 4-0) clinched at least a tie for the conference championship with command performances on both sides of the ball.
“We thought it was gonna be a tough game,” said winning coach Joe Nixon, who celebrated his 33rd birthday with an easier-than-expected nod. “They’re a team with great tradition and a hall of fame football coach (Allen Brown). We were prepared for a battle.”
Instead, North spent the first three quarters using the Bulldogs as a chew toy. In the scoreless fourth quarterback Alexis Archie directed the offense like he was conducting the Boston Pops, melting nine minutes and 27 seconds off the clock on a single, 11-play drive.
“Right down to the end, we got the job done,” senior linebacker Xavier Robinson said. “We thought they were going to give us a dogfight. But Coach Nixon said to put the game away early and we don’t have to worry about it.”
Archie saw to that. The left-handed junior capped North’s first possession by lowering his right shoulder and barreling over a Thomasville defender on a 7-yard touchdown run.
“We talked about starting fast tonight,” Nixon explained after North totaled 268 yards rushing and zero passing. “The defense gave us a three-and-out and then we put a good drive together offensively.”
Before the opening period expired North was up 14-0, thanks to a film-at-11 play by its relentless defense. Thomasville (4-6, 3-1 CCC) was in punt formation on fourth-and-5 from its own 21. A poor snap eluded punter Brett Hokerson — whose first two punts netted minus-four and 11 yards. As the ball flip-flopped around the end zone, he desperately tried to kick it out of play. But Kenyaun Coney, North’s ball-magnet hybrid defender, alertly plucked the ball out of midair for a defensive TD.
“I thought (Hokerson) would jump on it for a safety,” Coney said. “When I saw him kick the ball I was surprised, but I have pretty good reflexes and it came right to me. I looked around and I was standing in the end zone.”
The party continued in the second quarter when Chambers (16 carries for 157 yards) busted a 71-yard run for the first of his two touchdowns. On third-and-10 he took a handoff from Archie and was seemingly stopped for a short gain.
“It was a draw play up the middle that I thought was broken up,” Chambers said. “But No. 23 (Thomasville’s Tommy Rodgers) was blitzing off the edge and only got a piece of me. Then No. 16 (Akeem Davis) was grabbing for the ball. So I put on a little spin move, got to the outside and turned on the jets.”
His romp down the left sideline left defenders tumbling like bowling pins and gave the Cavs 20-0 lead early in the second quarter. Chambers scored again on a 16-yard sprint late in the period following a perfectly executed fake punt. Just one snap earlier North was facing fourth down from its own 38 — but on gutsy call by assistant coach Josh Sophia — upman Robinson took the snap and raced 46 yards for a first down in Thomasville territory.
“Coach Sophia always gives me opportunities to make plays happen for the team,” said Robinson, who scored a third-quarter touchdown as a running back. “He says to go hard and play physical, and we have.”
Camouflaged in the flurry of offense was a lockdown effort by North’s defense. It limited Thomasville to two first downs and 67 total yards. The Bulldogs gained only seven yards in the second half.
“Coach Nixon told us not to sleep on this team,” said Coney, who also scored a TD in a Week 4 win against Davie County. “I study film. I study tenencies. The whole thing is don’t be scared to make a play. If it comes your way, rise to the occasion.”
North has been doing that all season.

NOTES: The Cavs clinched the CCC’s top seed in the playoffs and can secure the league title with a victory next week against Salisbury. … NR’s Kasaun Coney intercepted a pass in the second quarter and teammate Isiah Corpening recovered a fumble on Thomasville’s first snap of the fourth quarter.

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

Dennis Rivers joins Salisbury Police Department in new homeless advocate position

Cleveland

Rockwell, Faith, Cleveland adopt 2021-22 budgets; East Spencer officials to receive budget next week

Sports

Brind’Amour gets contract extension with Hurricanes, wins coach of year honors

Local

West Rowan grad wins two national masonry competitions

Local

Quotes of the week

Education

Rowan, Kannapolis students below state average for federal aid applications

High School

High school baseball playoffs: Raiders roll past Oak Grove

News

3 dead, 2 still missing after tubers go over Dan River dam

Coronavirus

County, state officials work to increase vaccinations as concern over Delta variant grows

News

Cooper no fan of energy bill

BREAKING NEWS

Hexagon Agility to expand Salisbury facility, invest $28 million, create 75 new jobs

Crime

Blotter: Two men rob convenience store at gunpoint

Business

Brewery, second-floor restaurant planned for downtown China Grove

Local

Sonny Allen, former mayor of Salisbury, dies at age 90

Education

RCCC names Student Excellence Award finalists

Local

City approves permit for child care center near downtown

Landis

Landis removed from Local Government Commission’s watch list

Business

Deadline approaches to apply for Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Rowan program

Local

YSUP Rowan launches month-long drug use prevention campaign

Education

Shoutouts

Education

RSS reports man impersonating summer meals worker

Local

County ponders plumbing replacement to completely eliminate lead in Dukeville

High School

High school baseball: Round 2 for South, East

College

College baseball: Former East slugger Chandler Blackwelder commits to North Greenville