A.L. Brown overwhelms South Rowan in 65-7 victory

Published 12:59 am Saturday, August 27, 2016

By David Shaw

KANNAPOLIS — It took A.L. Brown’s football team all of eight seconds to get up to speed Friday night — and it never slowed down.

The host Wonders recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff, then scored touchdowns on nine of their 10 possessions in a 65-7 non-conference rout of South Rowan.

“We expected it to be like this,” senior quarterback Zac Williamson said after turning his first varsity start into a back-to-school party. “Every game we play, all we’re ever thinking about is Mallard Creek. We just closed our eyes and imagined that’s who we were playing.”

Brown (2-0) won’t meet its MECKA conference rival until Oct. 21, but it already looks playoff-ready. The Wonders — who outscored Concord a week ago — rushed for 367 yards and scored all of their TDs on running plays.

“They were very quick,” said South linebacker Tyler Belk. “It was nothing we couldn’t handle. We just didn’t have a good game.”

South (0-2) was limited to four first downs and 85 total yards and scored its only touchdown following Austin Hyde’s first-quarter interception. It’s defense, meanwhile, yielded 458 yards and was routinely exposed by big plays. The game’s last 21 minutes and 38 seconds were played with a running clock.

“I personally feel we were in the ballgame all the way into the third quarter,” second-year South coach Daniel Yow said. “From that point out our kids kind of decided the outcome was in hand and just went through the motions. I wasn’t too happy about that.”

There was little for SR to applaud, though the Raiders found themselves within 14-7 when quarterback Austin Chrismon threaded a perfectly placed, 20-yard touchdown pass to wideout Daevonne Harris in the right corner of the end zone late in the first quarter.

“I looked at him in the huddle and said, ‘Go get this,'” Chrismon recalled. “Go get this ball. And he did. It was as simple as that.”

Brown responded as soon as it got the chance. Just four snaps later the Wonders regained a two-touchdown lead when halfback Shymere Scott took a handoff from Williamson, maneuvered around the left flank and took off on a 75-yard TD sprint. Williamson was quick to credit the work of Brown’s offensive line — a 1,260-pound wall of muscle manned by Malachi Lyles, Jeremy Davis, Chandler Teal, Mason Goetting and Aaron Smith.

“There was some great blocking tonight,” Williamson gushed after passing for 91 yards and rushing for 66. “The guys on the line were strong and consistent, just doing what they had to do.”

If South had any chance of getting back into the game it was muffled just 1:11 into the second quarter. Chrismon’s fourth-and-long punt from the goal line was blocked by Brown junior Najee Williams and tumbled out of the end zone for a safety.

“The whole play blew up right in my hands,” Chrismon said. “There was nothing I could do.”

Brown extended its lead to 44-7 by halftime and when Steven Howie scored early in the third period, football’s mercy rule went into effect. Afterward the Raiders were searching for an explanation, but to their credit, not an excuse.

“We know this was a really good 4A team against a 2A team,” Belk said. “A game like this will make us tougher, make us fight a little harder when conference play begins. A.L. Brown is the best team we’ll face all year, no doubt.”

Chrismon, who completed 5 of 8 passes for 49 yards, provided an honest reflection. “It hurts,” he said. “But it’s over. Now we’ve got to look forward to next week.”

Of course, South is idle next Friday. “That’s a good thing,” Yow concluded. “Now we know some more of the things we’ve got to work on for next time. We can take a step back, work on fundamentals and reset ourselves.”

NOTES: South opens its SPC season Sept. 9 at Northwest Cabarrus. Brown hosts those same Trojans next Friday in its final pre-conference tune-up.