Sunday, October 30, 2011

Carolina Gridiron Game of the Week - Week 11 Postgame Wrap-up

KANNAPOLIS – Fans enjoy watching a good football game with some good weather on Friday nights.  Mother Nature had different plans for football fans this week though.  It was cold and rainy on Friday night as the longest continuous rivalry kicked off for its 81st year.  Although the Concord Spiders gave it their best in a comeback attempt, it was the A. L. Brown Wonders who won this year’s “Battle of the Bell” in front of a capacity crowd with a score of 31-26.

Concord won the coin flip and chose to defer to the second half, and Brown made them pay with a big run back on the opening kick-off giving the Wonders good field position.  A few plays later, Brown’s Damien Washington was in the end zone on a 9 yard end-around to the left side.  A fumble on Concord’s ensuing possession gave the Wonders terrific field position and Kalif Phillips scored on a 5 yard run to give Brown a quick 14-0 lead.

The rest of the first quarter showed a Brown team moving the ball at will against a Spider defense that was only giving up 17 points a game so far this year.  A 33 yard field goal by Erik Amaya and another touchdown run by Philips, this one from 32 yards out, made the score 24-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Making some adjustments, the Concord offense found their groove in the second quarter led by quarterback B. J. Beecher.  Beecher threw two scoring passes in the second quarter, one a 7 yard strike to Alex Asbury and another a 15 yarder to tight end Terrance Knox.  With the score 24-14 it looked like the Spiders were about to keep the momentum on their side, but a quick strike by Brown quarterback to Keeon Johnson with under 30 seconds left in the half made the halftime score 31-14 in favor of the Wonders.

The Spiders took the second half kickoff and drove 77 yards with a mix of runs and passes, scoring on a 15 yard pass from Beecher to Bravone Howard.  The PAT bounced off the upright, and the score stood at 31-20.

The Concord defense stood strong in the second half, only allowing Brown 60 yards of offense.  Getting the ball back on offense after a Xavier Thompson interception, Concord executed a 17 play, 85 yard drive resulting with a 1 yard keeper by B. J. Beecher.  The two point conversion attempt was no good, and the score stood at 31-26 with just under six minutes to play.

A successful pooch kick on the resulting kickoff led to a Brown fumble and Concord recovery.  But, Concord was unable to take advantage of the extra possession, coming up short on fourth down inside the Wonders’ 40 yard line.  Brown was unable to successfully run out the clock, and the Spiders were able to take over for a final attempt to win the rivalry game.  Concord couldn’t convert, though, and the Wonders celebrated at midfield as the last pass attempt fell incomplete.

After the game, A. L. Brown head coach Mike Newsome commented on his first “Bell Game”.  “It was great to get a win.  We set out to win championships and we won one tonight.  I’m proud of the guys and their effort tonight.  We’re going to have adversity and it’s good to face adversity and get a win. 

Concord’s Glen Padgett had the following to say about the game: “It took us a while to adjust to their speed, and we did…I’m so proud of our kids’ effort…they never gave up.  To be in a game like this against a great program and have a chance to win, I just like the way our team played.  This is the level of intensity we need to bring every Friday in the playoffs.

Check back with Carolina Gridiron for information on the playoffs and the final FAIR rankings of the 2011 season.