Saturday, October 8, 2011

Carolina Gridiron Game of the Week - Week 8 Postgame Wrap-up

TROUTMAN – It was a packed house at Viking Stadium at South Iredell. Not only was it a big conference game with Draughn, but it was homecoming. Alumni from the last 30 years were in the stands catching up with each other and cheering on the hometown team. The Vikings football team did not let down the crowd tonight as South Iredell defeated Draughn 27-20.

The Wildcats won the opening toss and elected to receive, hoping to get ahead of a South Iredell team that has outscored its opponents by an average of 30 points a game this season. An intentional grounding call halted the Draughn drive and the Wildcats were forced to punt it away to the Vikings.

South Iredell went on its own drive, moving the ball down the field with a mix of runs and passes, resulting in a 37 yard touchdown pass from Adrian Whitener to Quataye Smyre. The PAT was no good and the score stood at 6-0.

South Iredell tried a squib kick on the ensuing kickoff, and Draughn returned it to the 44. The Wildcats, running their own version of the option, was able to move the chains against the Viking defense. But mostly, it was the Keith Loomis show for Draughn as the majority of the runs were quarterback keepers. When Loomis’ pass on third down was not successful, a roughing the passer call kept the drive alive and Loomis made them pay with a 1 yard run for a score. The resulting PAT gave Draughn a one point lead, 7-6.

South Iredell was driving again in the second quarter and was in position to add more points to the scoreboard, but the Draughn defense was able to get a hand on the field goal attempt, leaving the Vikings empty-handed on a somewhat successful drive. The Wildcats went down the field again and scored on another 1 yard keeper by Loomis to take a 13-6 lead. The PAT was no good and it was still a one possession game.

This apparently woke up the South Iredell offense who realized they were going to have to give Draughn everything they had to win this game. Running back Cameron Mattox answered the call and ran for a 59 yard touchdown, tying the score at 12. Mattox finished the game with 228 yards on 20 carries.

Draughn was forced to punt on their next possession, and the Vikings came back with a 14 yard touchdown run by Tevin Turner, making the score 20-13. South Iredell kicked off out of bounds, but Draughn was unable to capitalize before the half ended.

Both teams went back and forth for the third quarter, but neither team was able to put any points on the scoreboard. It was much of the same for the first part of the fourth quarter and as the time began to wind down, Draughn began to feel some pressure to put some points on the scoreboard. After Draughn drove down to the red zone, they were unable to score after going for it on fourth down.

South Iredell attempted to put the game out of reach with a 20 yard touchdown pass to Tevin Turner, making the score 27-20. But, the big play on the drive was a 31 yard run by Cameron Mattox, who broke about 8 tackles on his way down to the 20.

Draughn didn’t give up though and Keith Loomis, who ended the game with 128 yards and three touchdowns, scored again on a 5 yard keeper at the 3:17 mark of the fourth quarter. The onside kick was unsuccessful, but by the time the Wildcats got the ball back there were only 9 seconds left on the clock and the desperation pass fell incomplete to end the game.

South Iredell coach Scott Miller: “It’s good to wake up Saturday morning after a win on Friday night…it was a very physical game.” When asked how the game was moving in the first half, Miller didn’t like that “we continue to keep putting the ball on the ground…we’ve got to get better with that.”

“Our defense got smashed in the game early, but we figured out what we were doing and fixed that.” Asked about playing in an electric home environment, “we stand here and fight tough with all the distractions of homecoming and everything, we know we’re getting everyone’s best shot each Friday…I’m proud of my guys”

Draughn head coach Scott Lambert agreed, “it was a war, two really good teams, and we really battled… my hats off to South Iredell, our kids played really hard.” About his third year school’s effort, “I see these kids every day in practice and know how hard they work…I’m proud of what they were able to do.”

Both teams are at home next week in conference action as South Iredell hosts Bandys while Draughn takes on Newton-Conover.

Check back with Carolina Gridiron for information on future games of the week.