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High school football: North rallies to beat Bulldogs

Staff report

ALBEMARLE — When Albemarle’s Adrian Little headed to the end zone with 5:02 remaining on Friday, North Rowan trailed 33-22 on the road.

Defeat looked probable, almost certain, but North Rowan didn’t blink.

The Cavaliers came back for a stunning 36-33 victory. Malcolm Wilson scored the winning touchdown, his 14th of the season, with 39 seconds left.

North, which started the season 0-3, is now 5-3 and 3-0 in the Yadkin Valley Conference.

“Down 11, with five minutes, it did not look good,” North head coach Ben Hampton said. “We’d put ourselves in a really bad position with a lot of offensive mistakes. But I commend our guys. On a night when nothing went right for us for a very long time, they showed again that they are resilient.”

Albemarle (2-5, 2-1) scored early to lead 7-0. North Rowan answered with a touchdown sneak by quarterback Kyree Sims, but a 2-point conversion try failed.

North’s first lead came on a short scoring burst by Wilson. A 2-point conversion put the Cavaliers ahead 14-7 in the opening seconds of the second quarter.

Julius Smith scored on the ground to get the Bulldogs within 14-13 at halftime.

Albemarle went up 19-14 with 8:42 left in the third quarter when Little found the end zone, but Xzaviar “Zay” Davis promptly returned the kickoff for a North touchdown. Sims threw a 2-point conversion pass to James Gladden for a 22-19 North lead.

Davis intercepted a pass at the North 10, his sixth pick of the season, to stop an Albemarle threat, but Albemarle blocked a punt for a safety to cut North’s lead to 22-21 with 11 minutes left in the game.

Then the Bulldogs appeared to take command. Antonio Burns scored with 8:14 remaining. Then Little scored with 5:02 remaining to give Albemarle that 33-22 lead.

“Albemarle is big and they’re physical,” Hampton said. “They won the battle in the trenches tonight. They’ve got a good team.”

North needed to respond quickly — and did. Sims scored from the 1 with 2:40 left and ran for the 2-point conversion that cut the Cavs’ deficit to 33-30.

Albemarle was able to recover North’s desperate onside kick, but the Bulldogs went 3-and-out and couldn’t shave much time off the clock.

“Their quarterback scrambled out of bounds on one play and that helped us save a timeout,” Hampton said.

Then Albemarle failed to execute on the snap on the most critical punt of the night, and North took over on the Albemarle 13 with 1:08 remaining.

Wilson got the decisive touchdown a few plays later, running left, and North had the lead.

Albemarle reached the North 42 in the final seconds, but the Cavaliers were able to hold on.

“This was a big one for us as far the conference,” Hampton said.

Chatham Central visits North Rowan next week, while Albemarle plays at North Stanly.


North Rowan     14    0    8   14    — 36

Albemarle            7     6    6   14    — 33

A — Rushing TD (PAT kick), 8:52, 1st

NR — Sims 1 run (PAT failed), 616, 1st

NR — Wilson 1 run (2-point conversion), 11:56, 2nd

A — Smith 2 run (PAT failed), 4:00, 2nd

A — Little 4 run (PAT failed), 9:00, 3rd

NR — Davis kickoff return (Gladden pass from Sims), 8:42, 3rd

A — Safety, punt blocked, 11:06, 4th

A — Burns 7 run (PAT failed), 8:14, 4th

A — Little 11 run (PAT failed), 5:02, 4th

NR — Sims 1 run (Sims run), 2:40, 4th

NR — Wilson 10 run (PAT failed), 0:39, 4th












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