Published: Nov 06, 2011 02:00 AM
Modified: Nov 05, 2011 08:19 AM
CREEDMOOR - Despite losing a number of seniors from last season's third-round playoff team, Carrboro coach Jason Tudryn believed over the off-season that his team was reloading, not rebuilding.
By earning a third consecutive playoff bid this season, the Jaguars proved it.
Still, Friday night's NCHSAA 2-AA first-round game against conference rival South Granville showed that the reloading project isn't finished. The Vikings took a two-score lead late in the first half and never looked back, winning 36-21.
It was the Vikes' second win this year over their Carolina Conference rivals; South Granville had edged Carrboro 16-7 on Sept. 30.
"They were missing a couple really good players and that helped us a little bit," said South Granville coach Mike Hobgood. "We were able to get a couple big plays where they didn't... we're just lucky to get the victory."
South Granville struck first, when quarterback Brandun Lickliter found Kenneth Walls for a 20-yard touchdown late in the first quarter. Carrboro responded with a 49-yard kickoff return from freshman standout Tre Sharp, and in just five plays, quarterback Alex McVeigh scrambled four yards to make the score 7-7.
As halftime approached, both teams seemed destined to trade touchdowns much of the way. South Granville had just re-taken a 14-7 lead with a fourth-down, 39-yard surge from tailback Josh Bailey, when Carrboro's Caleb Irving caught a 25-yard pass from McVeigh, slipped out of a tackle, and sprinted another 50 yards for a Jaguar touchdown. But an offensive pass interference call knocked the Jaguars back to third-and-20 from their own 10. Instead of tying the game, Carrboro still found itself trailing, 14-7.
And that was just the beginning of the Jaguars' self-imposed problems.
After running the clock down to just under a minute, Carrboro saw its punt snap sail high and into the end zone for a safety, putting South Granville up 16-7 with a free kick to come.
The ensuing kickoff was taken 77 yards by Greg McCalop, and, two plays later, Lickliter was in the end zone. When the dust settled, a 14-14 halftime score had become 23-7.
"Really, that was a mistake on their part on the punt snap, then we made a great play on the return," said Hobgood. "That's football in high school."
"Last year in the third round we were down 42-14 at the half, so our guys were comfortable at the half," said Tudryn. "They knew we'd be in it because they have great character."
Neither defense showed up after the break. And, with South Granville leading by 16, it didn't much matter to the Vikings. On a sloppy, water-logged field, as both sides traded highlight-reel touchdowns, the Vikings maintained a comfortable lead the rest of the way.
The offenses ruled: 62 yards for the Vikes on a Josh Bailey touchdown run; 69 more for the Jaguars off McVeigh's pass to Caleb Irving on Carrboro's next possession; on the next play from scrimmage, 55 yards for South Granville on a pass from Lickliter to Matt Fuhr.
By the time South Granville clamped down on defense, midway through the third quarter, the game was effectively over.
Trailing by 22, the Carrboro offense struggled. McVeigh threw two interceptions in the third quarter as the traditionally run-reliant Jaguars were forced to throw.
"We had our opportunities, had a couple slips, drops, bad snaps," said Tudryn. "Little execution issues, and when you're chasing points, you've got to make every one count."
Carrboro ended its year at 7-4. South Granville improved to 7-5.
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