High school football: Cavaliers pull one out

Published 6:14 am Saturday, September 9, 2023


By Mike London

SPENCER — North Rowan’s football team was working hard to set up a game-winning field goal on Friday, when quarterback Jeremiah Alford took matters into his own hands.

The master plan went right out the window, but no one minded.

“It was a tie game and we’ve got a timeout in our pocket, and the plan was to have Daniel (Montes Medrano) kick a field goal on the last play,” North head coach Josh Sophia explained. “Worst case, if he misses it, we go to overtime.”

Instead, with about 30 seconds left in regulation, Alford broke through for a touchdown from the 8-yard line. That play made the Cavaliers a 20-14 winner against visiting T.W. Andrews.

“Then we tried to kick the extra point after the touchdown and they blocked it, so I guess it was a good thing Jeremiah scored,” Sophia said. “We have a tendency to make things difficult for ourselves, but we fought and we won. It’s another good win for us against a very athletic team. Top to bottom, Andrews had athletes.”

North has played a challenging non-conference schedule, with some unusual opponents, and has come through it in good shape with a 3-1 record, including a 2-0 mark at home.

North benefited from a strong defensive effort against T.W. Andrews that was anchored by linebacker Khor’on Miller.

North did not have an easy time running the ball against the Red Raiders from High Point, who are now 2-2.

Alford had eight carries for 34 yards, while Jaemias Morrow had 15 carries for 39 yards. Those aren’t their usual numbers.

Alford was 8-for-17 passing for 123 yards and connected for one touchdown. A’son Best contributed key catches. His three receptions totaled 70 yards.

North took a 7-0 lead on Alford’s TD pass to Tsion Kelly in the first quarter. That was Alford’s seventh TD pass of the season and the 49th of the junior’s career.

Kelly made it back-to-back weeks with touchdown catches.

Morrow scored on the ground with about four minutes left in the half to boost North’s lead to 14-0. That was Morrow’s fourth touchdown of the season and 58th of his career.

He has a good chance to break the school record of 72 touchdowns that was set nine years ago by Jareke Chambers.

T.W. Andrews fought back for a touchdown and tacked on a muddle-huddle 2-point conversion to get within 14-8. That was still the score at halftime after a penalty cost North a scoring chance at the end of the second quarter.

The defenses dug in, as the second half unfolded. T.W. Andrews finally scored the fourth-quarter touchdown that made it 14-all. A successful PAT kick would’ve given the Red Raiders their first lead of the night, but Kelly blocked it, a huge play.

“He came around the edge and he laid out for it,” Sophia said.

North then made the plays on offense it needed to pull the game out. Alford connected with Best on the long pass that moved the Cavaliers into scoring position.

Then North didn’t get the scoring play it planned to get, but no one was complaining about Alford’s decisive touchdown run.

“Too many penalties, but it was a good, tough game and we had a supportive home crowd,” Sophia said. “We even had our principal (Mike White) doing the PA tonight. That was a highlight.”

North stays at home next week and begins Central Carolina Conference play against South Davidson (3-1). West Stokes is next for T.W. Andrews.