North Rowan guts out win at East Davidson
By Carlton Hurt
The Lexington Dispatch
THOMASVILLE — With the season approaching its stretch run and another conference championship well within his team’s grasp, North Rowan football coach Joe Nixon isn’t concerned how his team wins. He’s only concerned that it does win.
The Cavaliers overcame a spirited effort from East Davidson on its homecoming night, scored a touchdown on special teams and defense and eventually pulled away for a 27-10 victory.
“Hey, we’re not in it for style points,” said Nixon. “Any time you can come on the road, in a conference game, in front of a packed crowd and beat a team that is coming off a big win, then it’s a good win.”
The Golden Eagles were ready to make a serious charge at the Cavaliers (7-2, 3-0 CCC) after cutting their lead to 20-10 late in the third quarter and then recovering the ensuing onside kick.
Officials ruled East Davidson touched the ball before going the mandated 10 yards, and the Cavaliers connected on a TD pass on the final play of the third quarter.
“North Rowan is one of the best teams in the state and I am real proud of my guys,” said East coach Vance Hanner. “Yeah, we lost, but it was an outstanding effort.”
East Davidson took the opening kickoff and marched inside the Cavaliers’ 10 before the drive stalled. Ryan McIntire nailed a 23-yard field goal to put the Eagles ahead.
The lead lasted merely a few minutes when Trae Clark fielded McIntire’s squib kick, weaved his way through the Golden Eagles’ defenders and raced to the end zone to complete a 74-yard kickoff return.
On the first play of the second quarter, the Cavaliers’ defense rose up. Cornerback Jaleel Hitchens intercepted East Davidson quarterback Toby Craven and took it 22 yards for a 14-3 North Rowan lead.
With quarterback Alexis Archie struggling a bit and standout running back Jareke Chambers being bottled up, the two non-offensive TDs were welcome.
“They had a good defensive game plan,” Nixon said. “We tried to stay underneath, run the ball and take what they gave us.”
North Rowan extended its lead to 20-3 in the second quarter, thanks in large part to Chambers’ 57-yard run, by far his longest of the game. That set up North Rowan with a first-and-goal at the East Davidson 4, and Archie plowed in on a quarterback sneak.
Chambers carried the ball 14 times for 121 yards.
In the third quarter with North Rowan up 20-10, Archie guided his team down the field for the decisive score. He hooked up with Shareef Walker twice during the drive, the last was a touchdown on a 24-yard catch and run.
“We were able to keep Chambers pinned in and overall the defensive staff did a great job,” said Hanner. “But they have other people who can make plays.”
Archie was 8-of-9 through the air for 139 yards in the second half. He finished the game 10 of 16 for 156 yards and a touchdown.