North Rowan routs West Montgomery, 46-7

Published 1:16 am Friday, October 26, 2018

By Marny Hendrick

SPENCER — Putting a demoralizing loss from last week in the rear view mirror, the North Rowan Cavaliers bounced back strong on Thursday’s Senior Night at Eagle Stadium, with a 46-7 rout of West Montgomery.

“It was definitely a bounce-back win,” said senior quarterback Willis Mitchell, who shredded the visiting Warriors for 189 yards and three scoring passes. “We were just terrible last week (a 43-8 loss to North Stanly), but tonight, we clicked and played as a team. But hey, now it is on to the next game.”

Mitchell’s big passing night was surpassed by his junior running back Malcolm Wilson with 202 yards and four rushing touchdowns, giving him over 1,400 yards and 19 scores for the season.

“I just kept my legs moving and kept running through everybody,” said Wilson, who used a series of stiff-arms and elusive cutback moves to rip off a number of long runs through-out the night. “I think my offensive line and my wide receivers had a lot to do with it with good blocking.”

The win improved North to 7-2 overall, 4-1 in the Yadkin Valley Conference to stay in second place a game behind North Stanly. West Montgomery fell to 4-6, 3-3 YVC in a rebuilding year for the former league powerhouse.

“We knew we needed to bounce back strong with three conference games left, including tonight,” said North coach Ben Hampton. “We set a new goal to go 3-0 over the last three weeks, to get the highest possible seed and make some noise in the playoffs.”

North made a statement right our of the gate last night as Mitchell found receiver Jaquis Clinding sprinting down a center seam wide open. The play covered 61 yards for a score just 14 seconds into the game then a two point conversion run by Quintous Smith made it 8-0.

The Warriors, who stayed almost exclusively on the ground throughout, responded with a quick 55-yard drive behind halfback Payton Coble to trim the margin to 8-7. Coble broke a 36-yard run, then capped the drive with a 6-yard run up the middle for the TD. He finished the first half with 108 yards, but sat out the second half with an apparent injury.

The Cavaliers turned it over to Wilson at that point, as he scored from 4 yards at 6:23 of the first period then added a 24-yard run for a 20-7 lead in the early second quarter. The second score was set up by a fumble recovery by Kaevon Smith at the Warrior 24. Wilson scored on the next play.

North and Wilson made it 26-7, just three minutes before halftime with a rapid fire 85-yard drive. Wilson broke a 40-yard, zigzag run to the West Montgomery 35, then caught a screen from Mitchell down to the 6. Wilson capped the drive with a 5-yard TD run.

Malcolm was just Malcolm tonight,” said Hampton. “He is a workhorse. The kid is a vocal leader on the field and a leader by example. We know he is going to give us everything he’s got when he steps on the field.”

The Cavaliers’ defense set the tone in the second half by holding the Warriors to a net 35 yards while posting two sacks and a blocked punt. At the same time, the offense rolled along with three more scores to turn the game into a rout.

Mitchell found Denerio Robinson open on the left side for a 15-yard scoring pass to make it 32-7 in the early third quarter. On the next series, Spencer Everhart broke through to block a Warrior punt at the 46. Wilson made it pay off with a 46-yard TD sprint on the next play to build the lead to 38-7.

Twice in the second half, Wilson had TD runs of 27 yards and 60 yards nullified by holding penalties, keeping a great night from becoming phenomenal.

Mitchell connected with senior receiver Shymek Lyles for a 61-yard bomb with just three minutes left in the game. Clinding added a two-point run to close out the scoring at 46-7.

“We went back to basics tonight on offense to try and do the things we do well and get better,” Hampton said. “We have a great group of seniors who came through for us.”

North will finish their regular season with road games at South Davidson next Friday and at North Moore on Nov. 9. West Montgomery will close out their season against Albemarle next Friday.

NOTES: North senior kicker JD Weaver missed the game due to personal reasons, causing the Cavaliers to go for two-point conversions after each of their touchdowns They were only able to convert two of them out of six tries.

Quarterback Mitchell revealed that the offense pulled a senior night prank on Coach Hampton on the opening play of the game when the entire offense jumped offsides. “Me and Stanton Bailey planned it, ” Mitchell said, “we just wanted to mess with coach on Senior Night.”

After the penalty Mitchell connected on his 61-yard TD pass to Clinding to make the prank less damaging. “The team knows how I feel about unforced errors,” Hampton said, “but luckily, they made up for it on the next play.”