The trifecta is complete. North Stokes closed out a perfect 3-0 run through the 1A Yadkin Valley Conference to open the season with a 35-12 victory over Chatham Central Friday night in Danbury.
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DANBURY — The trifecta is complete.
North Stokes closed out a perfect 3-0 run through the 1A Yadkin Valley Conference to open the season with a 35-12 victory over Chatham Central Friday night in Danbury.
The Vikings, who downed South Davidson and North Moore in the two previous weeks, rushed for 275 yards on 51 attempts and amassed 401 yards of total offense in the win while limiting the Bears to just 226 total yards.
“North Stokes has a good football team and they just grind the ball at you,” said CC coach Sherman Howze after the loss. “We didn’t tackle very well and had some costly penalties which kept some drives for North Stokes going, and cost us when we were moving the ball.”
Chatham Central, now 0-3, was penalized 10 times on the night for 102 yards.
Despite all the mistakes and playing catch up most of the night, the Bears only trailed 20-12 entering the fourth quarter and had the ball 1st-and-10 on its own 38.
Two plays later, a one-yard run from Riley Lagenor and a 26-yard pass by Michael Moore to Brady Cunnup down the right seam, Chatham Central was set up with a 1st-and10 on the North Stokes 35.
After an incomplete pass on first down, Chatham Central was whistled for a block in the back to setup a 2nd-and-18. Lagenor gained a yard on second down before an incomplete pass and a -13-yard sack of Moore by Jacob Murray, his third of the game, turned the ball over on downs at the North Stokes 45 with 9:32 remaining.
“We got behind early and battled back and put ourself in position to tie the game,” Howze pointed out. “But mistakes cost us and we couldn’t finish off the drive.”
Mistakes would continue to haunt the Bears as moments later the locals threw Willie Martinez for a two-yard loss on first down. But a personal foul on CC’s Caleb Lytton resulted in a 15-yard penalty, an ejection, and the Vikings getting the ball on the visitors 32 yard line.
After an eight yard run by Martinez, North Stokes was hit with a holding penalty and Martinez thrown for a one-yard loss to set up a 3rd-and-10 at the 7:35 mark.
In need of a big stop, the Bears could not come through as Issac Wood hit Mark Shaw out of the back field for the fourth time in the contest for a 10 yard gain and a first down. Two plays later, Murray, who closed with 139 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 15 carries, took a hand off from Wood off left tackle and rambled into the end zone from 21 yards out. Woods pounded in off the left side on the two-point conversion to make the score 28-12 with 6:06 remaining in the game.
Things went from bad to worse for Chatham Central on the ensuing drive as a holding call on first down and a sack of Moore by North Stokes Aiden Emswiler and Adam Pollard resulted in a 12-yard loss to set up a 2nd-and-34 for the Bears at its own 11.
Moore would be sacked by Ethan Pucket moments later to force a 3rd-and-39 from the six before a Lagenor run of five forced a punt by the Bears.
Abad de la Sancha, who averaged 46 yards a punt on four attempts on the contest and booted all his kick offs in the end zone, boomed a 46-yard to set up North Stokes with a 1st-and-10 on its own 49 with 4:01 remaining.
With all the momentum, the Kelly green-clad Vikings needed just six plays to cover the 51 yards as Shaw ripped off runs of three, 13, and seven yards in the march before slamming up the middle from a yard out with :51.1 seconds remaining to seal the win. Jackson Heath added the final of his three PAT kicks on the night to close out the 35-12 win. Murray also had a 27 yard run in the drive.
“Our guys were a little gassed at the end on defense having played so many snaps,” added Howze. “We couldn’t come up with a turnover to help make some key stops there in the fourth, and North Stokes did a good job of gaining the momentum and never letting it go.”
The final nine minutes of the fourth quarter were pretty indicative of the opening half as North Stokes held Chatham Central on its opening possession before embarking on an 11-play drive that covered 76 yards and lasted almost six minutes before Shaw slammed in from 10 yards out at the 4:47 mark. Shaw had runs of six, nine, eight , five and four yards in the drive, but it was a key 31-yard reception from Wood in the right flats that sparked the score.
After the teams traded possessions, North Stokes took over on its own 39 with 8:39 remaining until the intermission. On the second play of the drive, Wood would find Shaw again in the right flats, this time for a 36 yard gain, to set the Vikings up with a 1st-and-10 at the NS 25. Three plays later, Murray would roll into the end zone from 16 yards out off the right side to send the hosts up 14-0 at the 5:50 mark.
Chatham Central showed some resolve on the ensuing possession as the Bears mounted a 65-yard drive in just four plays and 1:07 off the clock to stun the large home crowd. Lagenor broke free on a 49-yard scamper on the opening play of the scoring march before netting three on the next play, and Moore hitting Tyler Oldham for 11 yards. Moore would put his head down and pound in from two yards out on the next play to cut the deficit to 14-6 with 4:43 to play in the half.
Unfortunately, the Bears would self destruct on the following North Stokes drive with a pair of facemask would help extend a drive that began at the Vikings own 20. Murray would rip off gains of eight and nine yards before Elijah Cone darted for nine, and Murray tore off nine more yards to give North Stokes a 1st-and-10 at the CC 33.
After the Bears sacked Wood for a six-yard loss, the locals got their hand on a pass from Wood, and deflected the ball into the air. It simply wasn’t Chatham Central’s evening as he bounding pigskin was plucked out of the air by Gabe Oerter for a 17 yard gain.
Wood would find Oerter on a 22-yard touchdown pass over the middle on the next play with :42.8 remaining in the half to send the hosts into the locker rooms with a 20-6 lead.
Chatham Central would advance to the North Stokes 21 on a 59-yard pass from Moore to Oldham, but two pass attempts fell incomplete as the Bears simply ran out of time in the half.
North Stokes would chew on the clock to start the second half as the Vikings marched down the field behind a 16-yard run from Martinez, and a 23-yard scamper from Murray. The 14-play drive which lasted 6:52 of the third period would be halted at the CC 33, however, when Wesley Buie sacked Wood for a six-yard loss on 4th-and-12.
Three plays later the Bears were in the end zone when Lagenor pounded out 12 yards, Moore hit Hunter Strickland on an eight-yard gain, and Lagenor pounded off the right side, cut back to the left across the field, and zig-zagged through Viking defenders for a 47-yard touchdown run which closed the gap to 20-12 at the 3:57 mark. A fade pass into the left corner of the end zone by Moore fell incomplete on the two-point conversion, but the white-clad Bears trimmed in red and black had closed the gap to one score.
North Stokes would salt the game away in the fourth, however, with its two late touchdown drives which put a stamp on the 35-12 victory.
Lagenor closed the night with 145 yards rushing on 14 carries while Moore was 7-of-16 passing for 127 yards, with Oldham catching a pair of 70 yards.
Shaw added 94 yards rushing on 20 carries for North Stokes while also hauling in four passes for 87 yards.
Through the air Wood connected with 6-of-11 passes for 126 yards as the Vikings gained 22 first downs to just seven by the Bears in the contest.