The Southern Alamance Patriots executed two big plays that led to their 27-16 victory over Greensboro’s Grimsley High School on Friday night.
With both teams playing their first conference game of the season, both sides felt the pressure to get the victory. Grimsley showed just how ready to get that victory they were, scoring on their opening drive.
With 7:31 left in the first quarter, and on the fifth play of the Whirlies’ opening drive, Caleb Williams ran the ball 15-yards into the end-zone. Bentley Foulkner missed the extra point kick, and the Whirlies led 6-0.
The Southern Alamance Patriots embarked on a 12-play drive, where the Patriots faced fourth down twice, that eventually ended with Tobias Watson’s one-yard touchdown run, on fourth and goal, for the score. The biggest play of the drive, however, came when the Patriots opted not to punt on fourth and five. Senior RB Kymani Dula pushed six yards through the pile to keep the drive going.
Watson’s score came with 1:16 remaining in the first quarter. Dylan Crusan missed the extra point kick, and the score was tied at 6.
Grimsley capitalized on Colby Fogleman’s only interception, Southern’s only turnover, with 7:05 remaining in the first half. On the 7th play of the drive, Caleb Williams broke free and ran the ball 48 yards for the score. The Foulkner kick was good, and Grimsley led once again, 13-6.
The next score from the Patriots came with 2:29 to go before halftime. Southern quarterback Colby Fogleman pitched the ball to Mikal Slade, who found a wide-open Isaiah Beadles in the end-zone for the touchdown. Crusan’s attempt at the extra point was good, and going into halftime, the score was tied at 13.
With 7:30 minutes left in the third quarter, injury once again struck Grimsley Quarterback Malik Stimpson. Stimpson was rushed by the Patriot defense on third down, and was sacked for a four yard loss. At the end of the play Stimpson remained down, obviously in extreme pain, holding his left shoulder. He left the game, and did not return. Stimpson was on the Whirlie sideline with his left arm in a sling for the remainder of the game. Stimpson dislocated his left shoulder earlier in the season, and said postgame “The pain is a little worse than last time, but I am hoping for a quick recovery.” According to Stimpson, he will be evaluated early this coming week, and his status for next week’s game, against rival Page, is questionable.
The loss of Stimpson had an obvious effect on Grimsley’s offense, and eventual defeat.
On the next play, after losing their quarterback, and leader on the team, Bentley Foulkner kicked a 22-yard field goal to give Greensboro Grimsley the lead, 16-13.
The 4th quarter was dominated by the Patriots.
After getting the ball on their own 40 yard line, the first play they ran was a hand-off to Mikal Slade, and he took the ball to the house, 60 yards, for the score. That put Southern Alamance up 20-16.
After the Slade touchdown run, instead of kicking deep on the kick-off, the Patriots lined up for an on-side kick. Head Coach Andrew Carrouth said the on-side kick “was a called play” after he saw they had some “dangerous returners.” “We’re pooching it, and decided we could get about as much if we on-side it. All the credit goes to the kicker, and the kickoff team for the execution.” Carrouth added. The Patriots were ruled to have recovered the ball, even though a Whirlie player emerged from the pile with the football.
Grimsley Head Coach Pat Neal gave us a look into his conversation with the officials during that play, saying “The explanation was, our guy touched the ball, couldn’t hold on, their (Southern Alamance’s) guy recovered the ball, the play was blown dead, and then our player recovered the ball and came out of the pile with possession.”
That on-side kick recovery for Southern Alamance started a four minute, 7 –play drive, that ended with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Colby Fogleman to Kymani Dula with 6:36 remaining in the game. Dylan Crusan added the extra point kick, and the Patriots led by what ended up being the final score of 27-16.
The Whirlies didn’t give up after that final touchdown by the Patriots, and were on the Southern 3-yard line with a first-and-goal opportunity. The threat ended when Bruce Davis fumbled on 3rd down, and the Patriots recovered.
“I thought we deserved to win. I thought the kids played hard. We knew it was going to be a tough battle coming in. We made some costly mistakes, but bottom line, we deserved to win. We’re going to have to go back to the drawing board on Monday, and get ready for Page.” Said Grimsley head coach Pat Neal.
257 of Southern’s 319 total yards came on the ground, led by backs Kymani Dula, and Tobias Watson.
The Whirlies had 236-yards of offense on the night, with 176 coming in the form of rushing yards.
With the win, Southern Alamance improves to (4-3) on the year, and (1-0) in the Metro 4-A Conference. Grimsley drops to (2-5), (0-1) in the Metro 4-A with the loss.
Grimsley faces rival Page next week, who is (6-1) on the season, and Southern Alamance plays a Dudley team who is also (6-1).