Cavaliers sting Jackets in CCC opener
LEXINGTON — Two touchdowns on consecutive snaps — including an interception return — early in the third quarter sent North Rowan on its way to a 35-12 win over winless Lexington on Friday at Philpott Memorial Stadium.
The game was called off with 1:50 left in the third quarter because of lightning.
Lexington held leads of 6-0 and 12-7 before trailing 14-12 at halftime.
“Momentum is a big snowball and that ball got started at the top of the mountain,” said Lexington coach Chuck Henderson, whose team fell to 0-7. “Then in the second half, that pick-six, it hurt us. It was deflating.”
Shrine Bowl selection Jareke Chambers rushed for 126 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries.
“They came out and executed their game-plan well,” said North Rowan coach Joe Nixon. “We knew Lexington was better than an 0-6 football team. We challenged our guys at halftime. We had guys in position to make plays in the first half. We made some plays in the second half.”
North Rowan took the second half kickoff and drove 57 yards on just five plays, most of them on a 35-yard jaunt by Andre Cowan. Chambers scored from the Lexington 5 and extended the Cavaliers’ lead to 21-12 with 9:37 left in the third quarter.
Disaster then struck for Lexington.
On the first play from scrimmage after the kickoff, Jaleel Hutchins jumped the route on a short pass by Lexington quarterback Devin Cross, intercepted it and raced 28 yards for a touchdown. It was a backbreaking play for the Jackets.
Chambers, who went over 4,000 yards for his career, added a 5-yard touchdown with 5:24 in the third quarter.
“He’s a special player,” Nixon said.
Play was halted by lightning at the 1:50 mark of the third quarter and the stadium was evacuated. After a brief conversation involving Henderson, Nixon and the officials, the game was declared over.
To start the game, the Jackets moved smartly down the field after taking the opening kickoff. Cross scored on a 1-yard keeper to cap a 10-play, 60-yard drive. A bad snap led to a failed two-point conversion pass attempt, leaving Lexington with a 6-0 lead.
North Rowan picked up big chunks of yardage on its first two possessions but Lexington held on downs, both times inside the 30.
It took just three plays for North Rowan to finally break through on its fourth possession. A 23-yard run by Chambers, a 27-yard keeper by quarterback Alexis Archie and a 3-yard touchdown run by Chambers put the Cavs on the board. Brian Reyes’ PAT kick gave North Rowan a 7-6 lead with 8:27 left in the first half.
Lexington came right back with a 65-yard drive after Reyes kicked off out of bounds. The bulk of the yardage came on a 40-yard reception by Nidarious Welborn to the North Rowan 25. Cross scored on a 1-yard keeper on fourth and goal as Lexington took a 12-7 lead with 6:20 left in the half. Daniel Reid-Bennett was stopped just short of the goal line on the try for two.
The Cavs’ defense limited Lexington to 88 yards rushing on 32 attempts.
Chambers scored on a 7-yard run to put the Cavs up 14-12 with 3:57 left in the first half.
At that point, things still looked OK for Lexington.
“We talked about creating our own momentum and making good things happen,” Henderson said. “We had two good drives in the first half, we were enthusiastic about and it and we scored two touchdowns.”