Prep Football: North Rowan loses a tough one
MT. GILEAD — North Rowan played one of its better games of the season on Friday but still lost at West Montgomery, 20-13.
The game was a struggle for second place in the 1A Yadkin Valley Conference. West Montgomery’s star running back Damon Rhone Jr. put the ball in the end zone three times to beat the Cavaliers, who fell to 7-3 overall and 4-2 in the YVC. West Montgomery is 8-2 and 5-1.
Rhone entered the game with 1,617 rushing yards. He scored his 28th, 29th and 30th touchdowns of the season for coach Danny Akins, who also had some battles with North Rowan when he coached at Albemarle.
“West Montgomery is obviously a very good football team, two great running backs and a shifty quarterback, and we knew that would be the case when we went down there,” North Rowan coach Ben Hampton said. “West Montgomery went to the wire with North Stanly in their only league loss, and we knew we’d have our work cut out. I thought we gave maximum effort. Unfortunately, we failed to get the execution to match that effort.”
The YVC gets two automatic playoff berths. They’ll go to North Stanly and West Montgomery. North Rowan will be in the 1AA West bracket as a wild card.
The stakes were high last night. A lot of chips were on the table.
“Things like a first-round bye and a potential second-round home game are off the table now,” Hampton said. “But I’m not sure a bye was the best way to start the playoffs, anyway.”
North got an early touchdown pass from Willis Mitchell to Logan Stoner. The PAT failed.
“We saw some things we liked, executed and went right down the field,” Hampton said. “After that, it kind of turned into a defensive struggle.”
Rhone’s first touchdown came on a 40-yard burst, and West Montgomery led 7-6 after a quarter.
When Rhone scored on a 20-yard touchdown late in the second quarter, the Warriors took a 14-6 lead to the break.
North got stops in the third quarter, but the offense couldn’t cash in.
“We muffed a punt and we struggled with little things,” Hampton said. “They have a lot of guys playing both ways and we had some success with uptempo stuff, but then we fumbled a hurry-up snap to turn a second-and-1 into a third-and-14. That hurt.”
After Rhone broke a 30-yarder with 9:35 left, the Cavaliers were down 20-6.
Jaleel Webster scored on the ground for the Cavaliers with 2:33 remaining to cut the deficit to 20-13.
North had only one timeout left, so it had little choice other than to attempt an onside kick.
“We didn’t get a good bounce out of it,” Hampton said. “It stayed low. They were able to scoop it.”
West Montgomery pounded for one first down and was able to run out the clock.
North closes the regular season at home with Senior Night next Friday against South Davidson (2-8). That will be North’s eighth win unless something amazing happens.
‘When we execute, we’re a pretty darn good football team,” Hampton said. “We know we can do something in the playoffs. We just have to clean up our mistakes and we have to be ready to play no matter where they send us.”
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