Grimsley Uses Big Third Quarter to Beat Hough 42-35.

Grimsley finally got the challenge they had been looking for.  Call it “Show Me” time.  Grimsley wanted to show all the doubters and social media that they can play physical, four quarter football against a tough opponent.  They wanted to show the State of North Carolina that the scores in conference were not flukes but a reflection of just how much potential this offense has.  They wanted to show each other that they could overcome adversity, momentum changes and play their best football when it matters most.  Tonight, the Whirlies showed everyone just how real they are.  

Playing host in the third round of the playoffs, the Hough Huskies came to Jamieson Stadium looking for revenge over last year’s three overtime playoff loss.  Hough entered with a 11-1 record, stout defense and very capable offense.  It was going to take a team effort if the Whirlies wanted to advance. After losing the first game of the season to James Byrnes High School of South Carolina, the Huskies had accumulated 11 straight wins, including lopsided wins in the first two rounds of the playoffs.  Their defense came in dominate, only allowing 9 points per game while the offense got better as the season went along, averaging 36 points per game.  The Whirlies could say the same.  The Grimsley defense was only allowing 9 a game as well but the offense was scoring close to 51 per contest.  This matchup looked to be about two strong defenses and two high powered offenses.

In typical Whirlie fashion, Grimsley won the coin toss and chose to receive the opening kick.  Hoping to use the first possession to build early momentum, Whirlie quarterback Faizon Brandon missed on two of throws and the Whirlie offense went three and out and immediately punted   Starting their first drive on their own 42 yard line, Hough went right down the field, wasting no time and taking the lead 7-0 on a touchdown throw by Huskie quarterback Trey Blakeney.  Grimsley would answer right back on a 80 yard touchdown drive capped off by a one yard touchdown run by running back Mitchell Summers to make it 7-7.  

Hough came right back, going 84 yards on their next drive to make it 14-7 with still 2 minutes to play in the first quarter.  It looked like we might have a track meet on our hands until the next drive would see the Whirlies go three and out and have to punt again.  As the first quarter ended and the second quarter began, Hough started to drive into the Grimsley redzone.  After converting a 3-10 inside the Grimsley 25, Hough drove the ball inside the 10 yard line.  What happened next, changed the trajectory of the ball game.  Faced with a 4-2 from the Grimsley 6 yard line Hough decided to leave the offense on the field instead of bringing in the most decorated place kicker in the history of high school football.  Nolan Hauser came into the night the most prolific kicker in the nation.  Earlier in the season he officially broke the national high school football record for the most career field goals.  Instead of going up by two scores, the Whirlies defense turned the Huskies back.  On the fourth down Trey Blakeney dropped back to throw only to have his pass batted down at the line of scrimmage.   

Sensing the sudden change of momentum, Grimsley offensive coordinator Jesse Tripp dialed up the long ball and it worked to perfection.  On the first play, Brandon found a wide open Alex Taylor on the far sideline for 69 yards and the Whirlies were in business.  Three plays later, Summers ran it in from 8 yards out for his second rushing touchdown to make it 14-14.  Each team would score again before halftime as Brandon would find Taylor from 14 yards out to make it 21-21.  Summers had just 43 yards rushing at the break as the ground game never got going.  

As they have shown all season, the halftime adjustments the Whirlies made reshaped how this game ended.  After preventing the Huskies by going up by two scores in the first half and coming back to tie the game at the intermission, Darryl Brown made some key adjustments on both sides of the ball that allowed the Whirlies to put together a fantastic third quarter.  It started with the opening kickoff being a touchback for Hough.  Grimsley defensive coordinator Joe Rigsbee used a quarterback spy that forced Blakeney to stay in the pocket and try to make a play with his arm instead of his legs.  It worked as two possible quarterback runs turned into incomplete throws.  The Huskies first drive in the third quarter was a three-and-out and resulted in their first punt of the game.  

On offense, Brown also changed the pass protection call outs and spread out the formations, allowing more space for the wide receivers and Summers.  It worked.  On Grimsley’s first drive of the third quarter, Brandon found Alex Taylor for a 73 yard touchdown pass to give the Whirlies their first lead of the game.  The pass protection was perfect as Brandon had time to step up and deliver a beautiful ball.  The next Hough drive would end with a Deon McLaughin interception, the first turnover of the night, and result in more points for the Whirlies.  Summers cashed in from 4 yards out to make it 35-21 and the Whirlies had the breathing room they needed as the third quarter ended. 

After each team exchanged punts to start the fourth quarter, Grimsley cornerback Fred Sellers would grab his 4th interception on the season to stop another Hough scoring drive.  The Huskies would hold the Whirlies to a punt.   Starting with good field possession, Hough would score to make it a 35-28 game with 5:21 left to play in the fourth.  The ensuing Grimsley drive would see Mitchell Summers burst through the line for a 79 yard scamper before being dragged down at the Hough one yard line.  Three plays later he would run it in to make it 42-28.  

Hough would make it interesting as they returned the kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown to make it 42-35 and then try an onside kick with less than 2 minutes to play.  The onside kick was recovered by Terrell Anderson and the Whirlies were able to run out the clock and advance to the fourth round of the playoffs.  

It was a “Show Me’ night for the Whirlies as they came away with two turnovers and a critical fourth down stop deep in their own territory to keep it a one score game. They showed everyone they can play big in the second half and find ways to make adjustments.  After only rushing for 43 yards in the first half, Summers finishes with 193 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns.  Brandon went 8-11 for 228 yards and 2 touchdowns while Alex Tayor caught six balls for 177 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 29 yards a catch.  The Whirlies played their best when it mattered most, and showed everyone what kind of the team they have. 

One thought on “Grimsley Uses Big Third Quarter to Beat Hough 42-35.

  1. Where are all the doubters that said we could only win against cupcakes? Hough is a very solid team. Except for a gift touchdown with a few minutes to play Grimsley would have beaten them by 2 touchdowns.

    Grimsley is not a perfect team and made plenty of mistakes in this game but they have heart and find a way to win. They will have to play a cleaner game next week but never sleep on the Whirlies. They are very talented at every position and should win it all this year.

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