Grimsley had to survive a furious 2nd half rally to advance past Hopewell 41-35 in 4-AA West regional 1st round action. With the win the Whirlies earn a date with top seeded West Charlotte next Friday night in the Queen City.
Early on it looked as if Grimsley would have a very easy time as two Zach Maynard touchdown runs and a 40yd pass to Kelsey Stevens for another along with a fumble return for a TD by his half brother Keenan Allan had the Whirlies in front 28-0 midway thru the 2nd period. Just before halftime though the Titans of Hopewell got on the board as Chris Gilbert scored the first of his three rushing touchdowns, this one a 14yd scamper, to trim Grimsleyâ€™s halftime edge to 28-7.
In the second half Hopewell continued to have the momentum swing to their corner as Grant Rutledge blocked and recovered a Whirlie punt to make the count 28-14 late in the third period. Then in the 4th after Maynard scored from the two to make the score 35-14 Hopewell responded quickly by going 65yds in 2 plays as Gilbert hit David Ford on a 36yd scoring pass to trim Grimsleyâ€™s edge back to two scores. The Whirlies though responded quickly as David Moore complete a 4 play 50yd drive with a 4yd burst to make the score 41-21 with 5:51 to play.
But Hopewell, much like Rasputin, refused to die as Gilbert first scored with 3:01 to play on a 2yd run. Then following the recovery of an onside kick Gilbert again used his fleet feet to find the end zone as his 16yd scamper with 2:00 to play cut the Whirlie lead to six. Victory seemed assured for the Whirlies following the recovery of the ensuing onside kick attempt. However Grimsley fumbled the ball back to Hopewell two plays later giving the Titans one last role of the dice. But this time the Titans came up snake eyes, well more like four the hard way, as Hopewell was unable to move the ball and turned it back over on downs allowing the Whirlies to escape by the skin of their collective teeth.
(In addition to his duties with greensborosports.com Paul is also the longtime host of The Classic Corner on WSGE 91.7FM in Dallas NC Sundays from 10a-2p eastern time, the show is streamed live worldwide at www.wsge.org )