The Northeast Guilford Rams played a complete game with contributions from the offense, defense, and special teams to defeat the Western Alamance Warriors 17-13 at Bill Bookout Stadium on Friday night.
The Warriors jumped to a 3-0 lead on their second possession of the game when Stanford-bound kicker Joshua Karty made a 44-yard field goal attempt.
The Rams answered on their following possession when they established the run game during a seven play, 80-yard drive that was punctuated with a thirty yard touchdown run by Trevon Hester. The Rams didn’t attempt a single pass as they rolled down the field at will. The touchdown gave the Rams a 7-3 lead.
Rams head coach Earl Bates’ strategy was evident as the team was successful with the run game.
“We have to run the football,” Bates said. “That’s where it starts with us.”
In the second quarter, the Rams continued to use the run game to drive down the field. The drive was 16 plays as the Rams moved all the way to the five yard line before they were stopped by the Western Alamance defense. Only one pass was attempted in the drive, a 22-yard hook-up between Wilson and Zeke Nicholson. The drive ended with a 23-yard field goal by Steven Friel.
The Warriors answered the score on their only possession of the second quarter when, once again, Joshua Karty was called on to kick a field goal. The attempt was made as time ran out in the first half and the kick was good from 37 yards out. Northeast led at halftime, 10-6.
There were two plays in the first half where the Warriors fumbled the ball, and it appeared that Northeast had recovered possession but the referees gave the ball to Western Alamance. This didn’t slow or upset the Rams. They continued their onslaught and followed the game plan.
The third quarter began with what could’ve been a Northeast touchdown, but the play was erased due to an illegal shift by the Rams. The Rams went four-and-out on that drive, and Western Alamance took advantage.
The Warriors began the drive on the Rams forty-yard line and ten plays later quarterback Kendall McKoy burst through the line for a one-yard touchdown run. The touchdown gave the Warriors the lead, their first since the first quarter, and the score was 13-10 with 4:17 remaining in the third.
Quarterback Justin Wilson credited his coaching and defense when those plays happened.
“We’ve always been taught to keep a clear head,” Wilson said. “If things don’t go our way, whether it’s a call or play, move on to the next play. We knew our defense was playing hard and they stood up when we needed them to.”
Northeast couldn’t capitalize on their next possession, but their first of the fourth quarter led to the game winning score.
The Rams called a pass play and Wilson connected with Perez, who outran the entire Warriors defense for a 66-yard touchdown. The pass was only fourth attempted by the Rams in the game, but Wilson was ready when it mattered. Northeast took a 17-13 lead with 6:48 remaining in the game.
The Warriors attempted to regain the lead, but the Northeast defense held strong and kept the Warriors out of the end zone to hang on to the lead.
The vaunted Rams offensive line proved once again to be a brick wall tonight, preventing the Warriors from getting through at all costs. Northeast had only one rushing play that resulted in negative yardage, and Justin Wilson was only brought down in the the backfield once.
Justin Wilson used his experience to make the game-winning pass under pressure.
“When I drop back, I’ve always been able to remain cool, calm, and collected,” Wilson said of the play. “I saw the backer go in the mesh route and that Kobie was wide open and I put a good throw on it.”
Both Bates and Wilson know that this win is an important victory.
“It’s really big for the team and this community,” Wilson said. “We’ve been doubted over and over. There have been plenty of times that we know what we’re capable of but we don’t get the respect. I think this win gives us that respect.”
Northeast head coach Earl Bates echoed the words of his quarterback about the importance of the win.
“Our kids knew what was on the line tonight,” Bates said. “They understood that this game was a difference maker in a lot of ways. The thing I’m most proud of is that there were several times that they could’ve sat down and given up tonight, and they didn’t. They grew a great deal tonight, and I’m extremely proud to see them fight the way they did.”
The Western Alamance Warriors drop to (7-2) overall and (4-1) in the conference with the loss. Their next test is Friday when they take on conference leaders and undefeated Eastern Alamance.
Northeast improves to (7-2) overall and (4-1) in the conference with the victory. Their next game is Friday night when they travel to Mayodan to take on McMichael in a conference matchup.
(WA) Joshua Karty 44 FG
(NE) Trevon Hester 30 run (Steven Friel kick)
(NE) Friel 23 FG
(WA) Karty 37 FG
(WA) Kendall McKoy 1 run (Karty kick)
(NE) Kobie Perez 66 pass from Justin Wilson (Friel kick)
Kobie Perez: 9 carries, 63yds; 1 rec 66yds, TD
Trevon Hester: 18 carries, 85yds, TD
Justin Wilson: (2-3) 88yds, TD; 8 carries, 46yds