High school football: South Iredell comes from behind again, beats West Rowan in double OT
By Brian Meadows
TROUTMAN — The price of admission to a high school football game in North Carolina is $7. A lot of fans shelled out that dough to attend Monday night’s key North Piedmont Conference matchup between South Iredell and West Rowan.
“They got their money’s worth,” South Iredell coach Scott Miller said. “…It was a great game by two good teams. Fortunately, we were able to come out on top in the end.”
The Vikings overcame four turnovers and rallied from 14 points down in the fourth quarter to force overtime. They completed the comeback, prevailing, 48-41, in double OT.
The teams traded field goals in the first extra period. With the game knotted at 41, South Iredell got the ball first in the second overtime.
It looked like the Vikings might be settling for another Cody Hazelton field goal try, but they came up big on third down and goal from the 10. Quarterback Holland Dowdy connected with a fairly well defended Cullen Smith in the far left side of the end zone. That touchdown pass allowed South Iredell to pull ahead.
“It’s one of those old backyard football plays where you throw it up there to someone you feel can make the play and may the best man win,” Miller said. “Cullen made a great catch off of a great throw from Holland.”
KEY DEFENSIVE STAND
Darius Smyre sealed the victory with his game-ending interception on West Rowan’s double-overtime possession. Smyre picked off quarterback Payne Stolsworth’s throw in the end zone.
The Falcons were in desperation mode at that point. South Iredell’s Caleb McCubbin tackled running back Jaden Perry for a two-yard loss on West Rowan’s first play from the 10.
South Iredell’s Derrek Dulin sprang free on the ensuing play, and he chased down Stolsworth, sacking him for an 18-yard loss. That made it third and goal from the 30 and set up Smyre’s INT.
“I just came off the ball fast like the coaches tell us,” Dulin said. “Luckily I got through untouched.”
NOT THROWING IN THE TOWEL
South Iredell turned the ball over three times in the first half. The Falcons converted two of those into 14 points, jumping ahead 21-3 with 8 minutes, 44 seconds to go before the break.
It was 24-10 at halftime, and West Rowan led 31-17 entering the fourth quarter.
But just like the previous game at Statesville, the Vikings found a way to overcome a two-possession deficit in the fourth quarter. They won that Oct. 5 contest with the Greyhounds 20-19 in regulation after trailing 19-6.
Asked what the back-to-back, come-from-behind wins against two fellow NPC title contenders says about the defending champion Vikings, Dulin said, “That we’re tough and we’ll fight back.”
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Each team had players selected as the N.C. Farm Bureau Offensive and Defensive Players of the Game.
For the Vikings, they were Dowdy (offense) and linebacker Jermie Greene (defense). For the Falcons, they were receiver Davis Tadlock (offense) and linebacker Baiden Suddarth (defense).
Dowdy was the second backup quarterback used by the Vikings after starter Ty Everhart went down injured in the first quarter. Dowdy got the job done, completing 12 of 19 passes for 129 yards and two TDs. He also gained 40 yards on the ground with a pair of TDs.
Alterek Adams led the Vikings’ rushing attack with 105 yards on 16 carries. His 50-yard run led to the touchdown that brought South Iredell within 31-24 early in the fourth quarter.
Smith caught five passes for 42 yards. In addition to his game-winning TD, he made a 12-yard scoring catch in the third quarter. Smyre had team highs in receptions (six) and receiving yards (56).
Tadlock hauled in a game-high seven passes for a game-best 132 yards. His TD receptions for West Rowan covered 30 and 39 yards.
Perry carried the ball 30 times and highlighting his 181 yards rushing was a 55-yard TD jaunt to open the scoring in the first quarter. Perry had a pair of rushing TDs.
Stolsworth completed 14 of 28 passes for 211 yards and three TDs, but the Vikings intercepted him twice.
South Iredell (4-4, 2-0) travels to Granite Quarry on Friday to face East Rowan. West Rowan (4-4, 1-1) hosts North Iredell that same night.
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