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SPENCER — North Rowan scored more than enough points to win but it was their stifling defense that carried the night Friday in the opening round of the state 2A play-offs.
On a night of multiple milestones, the Cavaliers skunked 15 seed Surry Central, 42-0, for their third shutout in a row, becoming the first North team in school history to go 12-0. They now advance to the second round at home against C.D. Owen High (9-2) next Friday night.
Offensively six different players scored touchdowns led by senior star Jareke Chambers with 137 yards despite being limited to just 4 carries due to illness and injury. But the last of those four runs was a dazzling 95 yard sprint for a score in the third quarter that made Chambers the single season rushing leader in North football history.
Cav quarterback Alexis Archie exploited the Golden Eagle secodnary early and often with 188 yards through the air and one TD pass.
But this win should still be credited primarily to the North defense, which has now recorded 14 consecutive shutout quarters.
“Our defense is just playing at a high level right now,” Coach Joe Nixon. “They are playing with great effort which gives us a chance to win every time.”
Surry Central Coach Monty Southern, whose team bows out with a 5-7 mark was equally impressed. “A lot of times you play a team where where you can find a weakness to exploit,” he said, “But their defense is just really good all over and their offense has several different ways to hurt you.”
North’s domination of this game was evident early as they led 12-0 before Surry had even run an offensive play. Lost fumbles on their first two possessions then a blocked punt by Cav Trae Clark propelled them to a 28-0 halftime lead. Surry Central had managed just 24 yards of offense by then and never challenged the rest of the way.
“We wanted to start fast tonight and we took advantage of some of the stuff they gave us throwing the ball,” Nixon said.
Chambers came in with a bad cold and left after one play when he was speared in the ribs. With their star runner out, North went to the air with Archie hitting Sakil Harrison twice and Shareef Walker once to move down the field. Clark took it in from the 12 for the opening score.
The Eagles muffed a short kick-off and Courtney Roseborough recovered for North to start them on a 53 yard scoring drive. Xavier Robinson made it 12-0 with a one yard dive.
Surry ran two plays then fumbled at their 40 with Mike Robinson recovering. Archie promptly hit Cameron Sifford for 23 yards to the 17. That set up a scoring dive by Kasaun Coney to make it 19-0, still in the first period. On the next possession, Surry was forced to punt and Clark broke through to block it at the 24. Raekwon Wynruit capped the short drive with a one yard run on the first play of the second quarter.
The Cavaliers closed out the first half with a 25 yard Dylan Auten field goal.
Surry made a couple of nice offensive drives in the third period behind quarterback Alex Martin but penalties and the stout Cav defense turned them back.
North only needed two explosive offensive plays to close out their scoring before turning it over to their Jayvee call-ups to perform mop-up duty. The first big play was a Archie pass to Harrison over the middle near the 50, the junior receiver then broke a tackle and eluded 3 defenders to score from 62 yards out.
On the next Cav possession, Chambers got his only carry of the second half but it was a special one. Following a Kenton Tatum interception, North was backed up their own 4 after a penalty. Logically they handed it to Chambers who juked and jived his way for a 96 yard TD jaunt that closed out the scoring.
Chambers came in with 1700 yards even and needed just 68 to surpass the late Nathaniel Hyde for the school’s single season rushing record. The 95 yard run did the trick with room to spare.
“It feels great to get a record like that,” Chambers said, then paid tribute to Hyde. “I was told he was a great football player with great power and lots of speed, the complete package,” Chambers noted. “So I am just happy to do what I did.”
The only true negative on the night for North was a rash of penalties including seven of the 15 yard variety. They totaled 15 infractions for a whopping 153 yards.
“We should do better than that,” quarterback Archie noted. “As we keep on progressing to the next rounds, penalties are going to cost us.”
Yet as long as the defense keeps pitching shutouts, a lot of problems can be overcome.

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