Saturday, August 20, 2011

Carolina Gridiron Game of the Week - Week 1 Postgame Wrap-up

The Wonder crowd was pumped to see how their team would perform under new coach Mike Newsome. The stands at Kannapolis’ Memorial Stadium were full thirty minutes before kickoff. And UNC recruit Damien Washington did not waste any time in letting the Kannapolis faithful know that good things were in store for the Wonder football team this evening. His 97 yard kickoff return for a touchdown set the tone for how the first half would play out.

After a botched Shelby punt on their first possession, Washington struck again with a 17 yard run around the left side for a score. Less than five minutes into the first quarter the Wonders had a 14-0 lead. Washington would end the night with three touchdowns.

Although Shelby had a tough time moving the ball on offense against Kannapolis in the first half, All-Gridiron was wreaking havoc all over the field for the Golden Lion defense. But, his multiple rushes on the quarterback and solo tackles for loss were not enough to stop a Wonder offense that appeared to be bigger and faster than their counterparts.

A 30-0 halftime lead had many Kannapolis fans feeling like the game was over, but before they could head home early to watch football highlights on television, the Golden Lions decided to make a game out of it after all.

Some great plays by the Golden Lions and some costly penalties and turnovers by the Wonders led to three Shelby touchdowns in the second half. After the Shelby defense forced a touchback the score sat at 30-24 with more than ten minutes remaining.

Unable to capitalize any further, Shelby was forced again to try to contain the speedy Wonder offense. But, the Golden Lions were not successful as the Wonders put the game out of reach late and won by a score of 43-24.

“This was a great first win,” Kannapolis coach Mike Newsome commented after the game. “We had a great first half, but made some first game mistakes in the second half. The guys did a great job of showing resilience in not giving up and doing what Wonders do best.”

Shelby coach Lance Ware shouldered the blame for his team’s performance in tonight’s game. At halftime, Coach Ware told his team that “we need to play Shelby football and come out and fight.” On the rest of the season: “defensively, we’ve got some big holes to fill. We need to simplify some things to let them play more aggressively.”