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High school football playoffs: Salisbury, Wonders, West end season in 1st round

 From staff reports


First-round roundup …

WEST JEFFERSON — Salisbury’s Mike McLean got loose for a 75-yard scoring run with two minutes left, but all it changed was the stat sheet.

Ashe County jumped on the Hornets for a 20-0 lead after a quarter, rolled to a 40-0 lead by halftime and went on to crush the Hornets, 49-14, on Friday in a first-round 2AA playoff game.

The mandatory running clock was employed after a third-quarter safety gave the fifth-seeded Huskies (10-2) a 42-0 lead.

Even with McLean’s long jaunt at the end, the 12th-seeded Hornets (7-5) managed only 189 yards of offense in soggy, cold, windy conditions.

McLean, a sophomore, accounted for almost all of Salisbury’s offense. He had 112 rushing yards and 55 passing yards.

Cameron Gill had two catches for 34 yards. McLean’s 17-yard TD pass to Gill with four minutes left finally put the Hornets on the scoreboard. Jack Fisher had a 2-point conversion run.

Ashe County was unfazed by the unfavorable conditions. Quarterback Luke Hudler threw five touchdown passes, giving him 39 for the season.  Two went to Austin Poe.

Sophomore running back Timothy Peterson steamrolled the Hornets for 225 rushing yards on 15 carries and has almost 2,000 yards for the season.

Ashe County will travel to No. 4 seed Shelby for a second-round game.


Salisbury      0    0   0   14    — 14

Ashe             20  20  2   7      — 49


ASHEVILLE — A three-TD underdog, 15th-seeded A.L. Brown came close to knocking off No. 2 A.C. Reynolds in a first-round game in the 3AA playoffs on Friday.

A 9-yard touchdown run by Markeese Jackson with 4:39 remaining lifted the Rockets (11-1) a hard-earned 35-28 victory.

Jordan Medley threw for 188 yards for the Wonders (6-6), completing 14 of 25 passes. Jaron Cooper carried 24 times for 149 yards.

A.C. Reynolds, last year’s 3AA state runner-up, took an early 14-0 lead.

Cooper’s 22-yard scoring run made it 14-7 early in the second quarter.

With the Wonders down 21-7 in the middle of the second quarter, Medley connected on a 33-yard touchdown pass to Jose Vargas, who made several tacklers miss on his way to the end zone.

Nick Lyerly scored the Wonders’ third TD of the quarter on a short run 27 seconds before halftime. The PAT kick failed, and the Wonders trailed at the break, 21-20.

A.L. Brown’s defense made several stops in the third quarter.

With the Wonders down 28-20, Medley scored on a 4-yard run with seven minutes left to play, and his 2-point conversion pass to Antonio Knight tied the game at 28-all.

But the Rockets got in the last punch.

A.C. Reynolds QB Alex Flinn, an East Carolina commit, completed 20 of 30 passes for 253 yards and two scores. Jackson rushed for 139 yards on 13  carries and scored twice.

The Wonders had 453 yards of offense and 31 first downs, but lost the turnover battle, 2-0.

A.C. Reynolds advances to play Sun Valley and quarterback Sam Howell, a Florida State commit. Tenth-seeded Sun Valley beat Cox Mill, 30-14.


A.L. Brown        0   20   0   8    — 28

A.C. Reynolds    14  7    7   7    — 35

KINGS MOUNTAIN — Penalties hurt, and the West Rowan Falcons never could finish a drive against Kings Mountain in Friday’s 3A first-round playoff game.

Seeded 12th, West lost 34-0 and finished 6-6. The fifth-seeded Mountaineers (10-2) move on to a second-round matchup at No. 4 Statesville (9-3).

West hadn’t been shut out since Davie stuffed the Falcons early in the 2016 season.

Like most of Friday’s games it was wet and cold, but Kings Mountain QB Kaylon Wade played well. He sprinted for a 39-yard rushing TD and threw scoring passes to Kobe Paysour and Quintin Davidson for a 20-o halftime lead.

Wade broke that 39-yard run just two minutes into the game.

Kings Mountain back Ricalyn Mack finished off the Falcons with TD runs of 3 and 6 yards in the second half.

Mack rushed 21 times for 132 yards, while Wade threw for 110.

Kings Mountain finished with 283 rushing yards and controlled the ball in the second half behind its offensive line.

West struggled to protect QB Payne Stolsworth, who was sacked seven times and intercepted twice.

West had only two pass completions for 55 yards and was held to 23 rushing yards in the second half.

The pivotal play  occurred with West facing fourth-and-9 at the Kings Mountain 14 in the second quarter. West was down 13-0 at that point and opted to try for the first down rather than attempt a 31-yard field-goal. Stolsworth’s pass was picked off by James Ussery at the Kings Mountain 2. He returned it 87 yards to the West 11 to set up the touchdown that made it 20-0.


West Rowan                      0    0    0   0   — 0

Kings Mountain              13    7   14   0   — 34


NEW LONDON —  Fifth-seeded North Stanly demolished No. 12 seed Louisburg, 70-0, in a first-round 1AA East playoff game.

Marcus Green, Cameron Davis and DJ Rhone scored first-quarter TDs as the Comets took a 21-0 lead.

North Stanly (10-2) led at halftime, 63-0.

North Stanly will be on the road next week at No. 4 seed South Granville (8-1), which enjoyed a first-round bye.

RONDA  —Polk County, seeded 11th, knocked off No. 6 seed East Wilkes, 33-16, in the first round of the 1AA West playoffs on Friday.

Polk County got a break on a bad snap on a punt and punched in a momentum-turning touchdown right before halftime.

Polk County rushed for 223 yards and threw for 109.

The win means Polk County (4-8) will play at North Rowan next week in a second-round contest. The third-seeded Cavaliers (9-2) lost to Polk County in the first round last season.

East Wilkes finished 7-5.


KANNAPOLIS — Northwest Cabarrus stomped 16th-seeded North Buncombe, 56-21, in a first-round 3A game on Friday.

North Buncombe finished 6-6.

The Trojans led 49-7 at halftime and cruised behind the running of Tyrese Blake, IJ Sturdivant, Jakhiry Bennett and QN Nick Wilds-Lawing.

Top-seeded Northwest (12-0) got its first touchdown on defense on a fumble return by Eli Eason.

Next for the Trojans is a matchup at home against No. 9 Tuscola. Tuscola (8-4) won at Robinson, 14-7, on Friday.



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