Bears can’t cage Blue Dogs in Yadkin Valley Conference opener

Posted 10/4/19

ALBEMARLE — Chatham Central needed to enter Friday night’s game at Albemarle with a full playing deck.

Instead the Bears were shorthanded coming in, making a victory over the Blue Bulldogs a …

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Bears can’t cage Blue Dogs in Yadkin Valley Conference opener

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Posted

ALBEMARLE — Chatham Central needed to enter Friday night’s game at Albemarle with a full playing deck.

Instead the Bears were shorthanded coming in, making a victory over the Blue Bulldogs a tall task indeed.

That task became virtually impossible when Albemarle torched Chatham Central for 21 quick points in the opening quarter before cruising to a convincing 55-9 triumph in the 1A Yadkin Valley Conference opener for both teams.

Albemarle moved to 1-0 in the league and to 1-5 overall with the victory while Chatham Central remained winless at 0-6 overall and 0-1 in the YVC.

In the end the lack of experience with a lot of young faces for the Bears plus the decisive speed advantage of the Blue Dogs on both sides of the ball meant for a long night for the red and black.

“We were missing so many starters due to injuries and some other things that it really took its toll on us,” said CC coach Sherman Howze. “And some of the guys missing were our leaders, and we were forced to play so many younger guys. But they played hard and did some good things. Albemarle had too much speed in the end.”

It all started with Albemarle senior running back Julius Smith, who’s 5’10”, 145-pound frame was hardly imposing, but when out in the open, he was a chore to tackle. Smith closed the night with 240 yards rushing on just six carries including an 84-yard scoring jaunt midway in the third period that pushed the lead to 48-3 and forced a running clock.

Abad de la Sancha, who booted a 25-yard field goal to cut into a 41-0 halftime deficit, broke free on a 65-yard TD on the ensuing possession off the left side which saw the CC senior go barreling down the field and into the end zone. Albemarle blocked the PAT, however, to make the score at 48-9.

Chatham Central would not score again as Smith would haul in the subsequent kickoff at the 5-yard line and would break through a seam on the way to a 95-yard return for a score before Gavin Olivieri booted through the seventh and final of his conversion kicks to make the final 55-9.

Chatham Central, which was missing the likes of standout Riley Lagenor and Walter Cotton to concussions, saw Colin Lagenor go down with a concussion early in the contest.

“It’s tough when you suffer injuries like that and keeping our players safe if the main thing,” Howze noted. “Having so many of your experienced players over their on the sidelines.”

When the Lagenor’s can return will be on a week to week basis, but unfortunately for Cotton, the senior linemen has been ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Despite the lopsided loss the Bears did receive some good performances especially from De la Sancha who scored all nine points, averaged 48.5 yards on two punts including a booming 63-yarder, rushed for 104 yards on 12 carries, caught a pass for eight yards and collected six tackles.

Caleb Lytton was also used on the offensive side of the ball at fullback some and carried the ball six times for 37 yards while Michael Moore was 12-of-20 for 152 yards through the air. Micah Curley had an impressive contest at wideout as the senior hauled in six catches for 107 yards while Hunter Strickland and Lytton each caught a pass for 15 yards.

Freshman defensive lineman Parker Poe also made an impact and showed some aggressiveness and strength in the middle in getting in on four tackles.

Albemarle, which rushed for 358 yards as a team on just 12 carries, saw Antonio Burns scamper in from 15 yards out for a score in the opening period while Jylukus Hyatt added 81 yards rushing on four carries including a run of 52 yards. Adrian Little returned a fumble 42 yards for a score in the opening period and Jaquavius Simon another from 22 yards out in the second quarter.

Simon also picked off a pass and recovered a fumble for the Blue Bulldogs while Little, who was all over the field from his defensive end position, also pounced on a loose ball.

Chatham Central travels back to Stanly County this Friday night where the Bears will take on North Stanly at 7:30 p.m. in another conference tilt. Albemarle will head to Robbins to tangle with North Moore.

For the Bears, things will not get easier but Howze remained upbeat.

“We just have to keep battling and pull together,” said Howze. “Hopefully we will be getting some people back and get healthy. But you have to have people pick up the slack and we are going to get back to work and see what happens.”

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