Marley magical in Wildcats’ thrilling 36-33 victory over rival Blue Comets

Posted 9/20/19

ASHEBORO — The Asheboro public announcer welcomed Eastern Randolph head coach Burton Cates back to Asheboro on Friday night before promptly telling the veteran coach to remove his team from the …

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Marley magical in Wildcats’ thrilling 36-33 victory over rival Blue Comets

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ASHEBORO — The Asheboro public announcer welcomed Eastern Randolph head coach Burton Cates back to Asheboro on Friday night before promptly telling the veteran coach to remove his team from the field.

The Wildcats gave way to the Blue Comet band, but returned with a little added incentive and downed host Asheboro 36-33 at Lee J. Stone Stadium in front of more than 5,000 people.

Cates had nothing to say about the remarks, but rather focused on the play of his team and what they did to pick up a win over Asheboro after mistakes cost the Wildcats a week earlier in a 21-14 loss to Southern Alamance in Ramseur.

“We left a lot of opportunities on the table last Friday night against Southern Alamance and I didn’t think we did a good enough job of getting Kaeman (Marley) the ball,” said Cates whose team improved to 3-1 on the season with the non-league triumph. “He can score on any play so the more ways we find to get the ball in his hands the better. And tonight he showed what he can do.”

Simply put, Marley was the difference in the game as the all-everything standout torched Asheboro for all five Eastern Randolph touchdowns, including a 55-yard jaunt with 2:03 left that pushed the Wildcats lead to 36-26 and all but sealed the win. Marley finished with 90 yards rushing on 10 carries and 84 yards receiving on five catches while reaching the end zone on runs of 5, 2 and 55 yards and adding two scoring receptions from 5 and 17 yards.

Eastern Randolph moved Marley into the backfield as a tailback in the contest which paid dividends all evening long.

“Our offensive staff really utilized him (Marley) tonight and created some match-up problems,” said Cates. “I also thought Cade (Snotherly) had a good game from the quarterback position. He made some nice reads and also made some plays scrambling out of the pocket to extend a few drives.”

Snotherly closed 10-for-14 passing for 170 yards and two touchdowns for Eastern Randolph.

Asheboro grabbed a 7-0 advantage in the opening period as Kaleb Cheek, who closed the contest with 112 yards on the ground, ignited the drive before blasting in from five yards out. Anthony Ramirez booted the PAT.

Snotherly would bring the Wildcats back as the senior signal-caller found William Harris on a crossing rout for a 45-yard gain to put the ball on the AHS 1-yard line. After a five-yard penalty, Marley took a handoff, broke a several Blue Comet tackles to avoid a loss in the backfield, and strolled standing up around the right end for a six-yard score. ER was penalized again on a two-point attempt, but Tavis McAdoo plunged into the end zone to give the Wildcats an 8-7 lead with 4:50 left in the opening stanza.

The teams continued back and forth as Asheboro’s Cheek scored on a 7-yard run for a 14-8 lead at the end of one before Marley on a 10-yard reception from Snotherly in the left back corner of the end zone over a Blue Comet defender to tie the game at 14-all early in the second.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Wildcats recovered a squib kick that bounded off the hands of an Asheboro player, setting up a 5-yard scoring pass from Snotherly to Marley before Jaylin Patterson added the 2-point conversion run for a 22-14 ER advantage with 8:21 left in the half.

The Blue Comets responded again when Jalyn Handley-Lindsay threw a 13-yard TD pass to Dyvon McKinney to draw the Asheboro to within 22-20. The two-point attempt failed was stuffed by the Eastern Randolph defense.

In the third period the defenses took over as the Wildcats managed the only points of the stanza when Snotherly put some nice touch on a pass into the back of the end zone to allow Marley to leap up again over a Blue Comet defender and snare the ball out of the air from 17 yards out for the score

ER scored the only points in the third quarter for a 28-20 advantage as Snotherly lobbed a 17-yard pass into the end zone and Marley hauled it in for a score.

“Our defense came out and played really well in the third quarter,” Cates said. “Asheboro has a lot of team speed and we played our assignments well. That score was big to extend the lead a little bit.”

Asheboro wouldn’t quite, however, as Handley-Lindsay scored on a 3-yard TD run pushed the Comets to within 28-26 with 7:46 left, but the two-point conversion failed. Handley-Lindsay closed with 119 yard rushing in the game for the Comets.

With the game on the line, Marley broke free up the middle for a 55-yard rushing score with 2:03 left and McAdoo added the 2-point conversion run for Eastern Randolph to extend the lead to 36-26 and two scores.

Handley-Lindsay connected on a five-yard TD pass to Logan Richardson. Ramirez added the PAT to pull Asheboro to within 36-33.

Eastern Randolph recovered the onside kick to seal the win.

“It was a back and forth contest, a lot of momentum swings,” said Cates. “Our team responded and it was a big learning experience because we will face these kind of games in the conference and state playoffs.”


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