Published: 10:26 AM, Sat Sep 01, 2012
Gray's Creek uses strong ground game to down Terry Sanford, 38-29
HOPE MILLS - Gray's Creek coach David Lovette loves to see his running backs working the flanks.
But he doesn't mind a few runs up the middle, either.
"One of the things about the T-formation is that we want to get out on the flanks," the coach said. "But once we get the defense going side-to-side, we've got things to run up the middle, too. That's what Kendall does."
Ken McDowell did that a whole lot in his team's 38-29 win over visiting Terry Sanford (1-2) on Friday night.
The senior rushed for 313 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries, posting his second 300-plus effort in the season's first three weeks.
McDowell helped the Bears (2-1) to an early lead, carrying the ball 57 yards on a second-and-12 from the Gray's Creek 36-yard line down to the Bulldog 7.
The Bears had to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Taylor Sawicki and a 3-0 lead after a strong defensive effort by the Bulldogs halted Gray's creek at the 6.
On the first snap of the next Bear possession, McDowell broke through the middle of the Terry Sanford defensive line to rush 80 yards to a touchdown and a 9-0 Gray's Creek lead.
The Bears held the Bulldogs to a touchdown in the first half and led by as many as 17 points in the third quarter before Terry Sanford mounted a comeback.
The Bulldogs scored on back-to-back drives in the third, the first on a throw from quarterback Darryl Bonner to Jonathan Blackmon and the second on a short run by Brandon Miller to draw within two points at 24-22 with five minutes to go in the quarter.
Bonner was the offensive motor for the Bulldogs, rushing for 145 yards and throwing for 108.
But while the Bulldogs offense found its rhythm in the second half, the defense couldn't contain the Bears' backfield.
Gray's Creek running back Justis Richardson added 143 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries, and Dion Rackley added 72 yards of his own.
"We just don't have enough kids stepping up and playing hard on the defensive side of the football," Bulldogs coach Wayne Inman said.
"And we had opportunities in the first half. We fumbled inside the 20-yard line, and we drove down to the 4-yard line and couldn't get any points."
The Bulldogs closed within two points a second time with 10:35 to play when Bonner scored on a 56-yard run to cut the Bears' lead 31-29.
But Terry Sanford helped extend the Bears' ensuing drive with a pair of late hit penalties, and Richardson scored on a 22-yard run to put the game out of reach.
Gray's Creek 38, Terry Sanford 29
GC - FG Taylor Sawicki 24
GC - Ken McDowell 80 run (kick failed)
TS - Darryl Bonner 1 run (Peter Court kick)
GC - McDowell 70 run (McDowell run)
GC - Justis Richardson 77 run (Sawicki kick)
TS - Jonathan Blackmon 3 pass from Bonner (Josh Armstrong pass from Bonner)
TS - Brandon Miller 6 rush (Court kick)
GC - McDowell 4 run (Sawicki kick)
TS - Bonner 56 run (Court kick)
Rushing: TS - Bonner 18-145, Miller 20-108, LaDonte Elerby 1-(-2). GC -McDowell 21-313, Richardson 10-143, Joe Wallace 13-13, Blackmon 13-72
Passing: TS - Bonner 9-20-0 120. GC - Wallace 0-1-0 0
Receiving: TS - Jahmaal Daniel 1-15, Blackmon 4-70, Jack Geheres 1-4, Lawson Ray 2-32
Records: Terry Sanford 1-2, Gray's Creek 2-1
Next game: Terry Sanford at Raleigh Broughton, Cape Fear at Gray's Creek
Staff writer Jaclyn Shambaugh can be reached at 609-0651 or email@example.com.