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High school football: West Rowan loses defensive struggle

Tough loss for the Falcons

West Rowan’s Jason Artis had a pass interception against Mooresville on Saturday night, in the Falcons’ opening game.

MOORESVILLE — Defense ruled at Coach Joe Popp Stadium on Saturday night, where the Mooresville Blue Devils shut out West Rowan, 10-0, in the non-conference season opener for both schools.

Mooresville won its third straight game against West and has beaten the Falcons in six of the last seven meetings, taking a 28-22 lead in a series that dates back to 1960.

It was an emotional night. Mooresville is still reeling from the recent death of 15-year-old football player Gavin Sharpe, who died after an accident in the parking lot of Popp Stadium.

West went three-and-out on the opening possession of the game, setting the tone for a frustrating offensive night. West moved the ball, at times, but never could finish a drive.

Mooresville broke through on its second possession, with quarterback Hunter DeBerardino hitting a big pass play to the West 14-yard line. Glenwood Robinson barged right up the middle into the end zone from there, for the game’s lone touchdown with 4:29 left in the first quarter.

West’s defense stood firm for the rest of the half, including an interception by safety Jason Artis.

West was stopped at the Mooresville 30 yard-line, following Artis’ interception early in the second quarter.

West put together another drive late in the first half that reached the Mooresville 12. West picked up several first downs on the passing of Noah Loeblein and the running of back Michael Gonsalves, but the Blue Devils were able to stop Gonsalves on a fourth-down carry to protect their 7-0 lead.

The Blue Devils began the second half with a punishing drive that didn’t produce any points but chewed seven minutes off the clock.

Mooresville then picked off a West pass for an apparent pick-six. A penalty on the return erased the touchdown, but the interception stood.  West stopped the Blue Devils at the West 22 yard-line, late in third quarter, but Mooresville converted a field goal to take a 10-0 lead.

Down two scores, West tried to stay patient in the fourth quarter, but facing fourth-and-14 in West territory, and with the clock nearing the five-minute mark, the Falcons had little choice but to punt, and it was all but over.

Robinson punched out the clock-draining first downs needed to wrap up the victory, and the game ended with the Blue Devils knocking on the door at the West goal line.

West will try to bounce back at North Rowan next week, while Mooresville hosts West Forsyth.

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