Published: 12:00 AM, Tue Nov 02, 2010
Late hits: Notes from Week 11 prep football action
There's a strong possibility of a three-way tie for the last automatic playoff berth in the Mid-South Conference football standings.
Terry Sanford and South View enter Friday's games with 3-2 conference records while E.E. Smith is 2-3. If Terry Sanford and South View lose to Jack Britt and Seventy-First, respectively, and Smith beats Pine Forest, all three will be 3-3 and neither team will have beaten the other two.
The Mid-South would have to break the tie before submitting its final records to the N.C. High School Athletic Association.
Leon Mack, student activities director for the Cumberland County Schools, said he plans to talk with the athletic directors of the three schools and schedule a meeting that will take place immediately after Friday's games to break the tie.
When Seventy-First beat Jack Britt to clinch at least a tie for the Mid-South Conference football title last Friday, it ended some long droughts between championships, both for the Falcons and coach Bob Paroli. Until last Friday, Paroli's last conference title was in 1998, when he was at Douglas Byrd, and eventually lost to Garner in the 4-A Eastern Regional finals. Seventy-First hadn't shared a football title since 1993, when the Falcons finished in a four-way tie with E.E. Smith, South View and Douglas Byrd. The Falcons didn't even make the playoffs because they lost on the tiebreaker. If Seventy-First beats South View on Friday, it would be the Falcons' first outright conference title since 1989. Ray Bloomfield, current assistant coach for the Falcons, was coach of that Seventy-First team.
Special teams play, both good and bad, was a key for Jack Britt in Friday's loss to Seventy-First. One area where Britt had a problem was blocking on extra points. "We could not block John Brown,'' coach Richard Bailey said. Brown plays linebacker for the Falcons and blocked an extra point late in the game. "We've worked on that as much as anything the last couple of weeks,'' Bailey said. Onside kicks were another story. Britt recovered two consecutive onside kicks that kept them in the game until the final minutes. "When we needed them, they were great,'' Bailey said.
Cape Fear coach Bobby Bennett said the season he just finished was frustrating, but he has plenty of reasons to be optimistic about 2011. "You lose four games by seven or less, and that's tough," he said. "We win those games and we're going to the playoffs. "But we have seven on defense coming back and four on the offensive line coming back. That's a nice start."
Terry Sanford's sophomore quarterback Tremayne Fuller said it's hard to keep from becoming a spectator when senior running back Dante McDonald, right, gets going. McDonald piled up 304 yards on the ground and scored five touchdowns in the Bulldogs' 41-16 win at Cape Fear. "Our offense is made to set up the run," Fuller said. "We do some play action passes, but the main thing we do is run and Dante's fun to watch. I like running the ball, too. But I love watching him."
Golden Bulls coach Duran McLaurin said injuries to running backs earlier in the season were a challenging factor to overcome but with sophomore Sulamian Mustafa gaining 186 yards on 25 carries Friday night in a 30-13 win at stingy South View, the offense was able to generate some balance to go with an elite corps of receivers. Sophomore quarterback Phillip Bell completed 8 of 13 passes for 170 yards with junior Diante Hodges making three catches for 110 yards and a touchdown. "He's got speed," McLaurin said of Mustafa. "He's getting better with each carry." Bulls linebacker Damien Owens had a 90-yard fumble return for a touchdown, a 23-yard interception return and a kickoff return into Tiger territory that led to a score.
The Tigers were trailing 24-13 when a 76-yard kickoff return by DeShawn Ford to the E.E. Smith 9-yard line put them in position to get within a score of the Golden Bulls. A fumble on the next snap was returned for a touchdown. "We put it on the ground and they took it all the way back," said coach Randy Ledford. "That was a big, big play." The Tigers' last two possessions ended with an interception at their own 37 and a fourth down incompletion at the Smith 39 with 3:25 remaining. Ford led South View with 25 carries for 178 yards.
Douglas Byrd's offense was on display in the Eagles' 75-7 win over Southern Lee. The offensive output was a school record, breaking the previous mark of 62 set against Union Pines on Senior Night 2009. The Eagles' defense was just as impressive, holding the Cavaliers to 148 yards of offense, including 48 in the first half. Southern Lee's first nine drives ended six times on three-and-outs and three times on interceptions.
While senior Devonte Cooley leads Cumberland County in rushing, he's not been the only major threat in the Gray's Creek backfield this season. Junior Jonathan Chiles has also topped the 1,000-yard mark rushing this season. Chiles entered Friday's game against Westover ranked fifth in Cumberland County rushing with 1,029 yards and was tied for fourth with 10 touchdowns. The 6-foot, 170-pounder added 109 yards on just nine carries and a touchdown to his totals in the 42-6 over the Woverines. Six of Chiles' nine runs were 10 yards or longer and he averaged 12.1 yards per carry in the game.