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Maiden earns repeat battle with league
rival Bunker Hill in the third round
By CHRIS HOBBS
Unofficial game totals from Maiden High’s 46-13 victory at home over Mount Pleasant in the second round of the state 2A football playoffs on Friday night:
No. 5 MAIDEN 46, No. 21 MOUNT PLEASANT 13
Mount Pleasant 0 0 6 7—13
Maiden 7 13 13 13—46
M—Jacob Sigmon 29 pass from Wesley Thompson (Carson Foard kick), 4:27
M—Ben Gibbs 7 run (Bryson Foard kick), 10:59
M—Gibbs 3 run (run failed), 11.6
M—Chris Culliver 63 pass from Thompson (pass failed), 7:43
M—Culliver 44 pass from Thompson (C. Foard kick), 6:30
MP—Dylan Coln 1 run (pass failed), 2:36
MP—Colton Scott 9 pass from Colin Black (David McEachern kick), 11:52
M—Thompson 15 run (C. Foard kick), 10:01
M—Zane Williams 3 run (kick failed), 5:03
First downs 13 17
Rush-yards 49-185 30-200
Passing 2-9-0 9-17-0
Passing yards 27 295
Total offense 212 495
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-0
Penalties-Yards 6-28 15-126
MP: Keegan Moose 19-110, Lawson Little 8-minus 16, Kolby Cook 14-53, Ethan Dempsey 3-30, T.J. Blackwelder 2-7, Gavin Adkins 1-1, Coln 1-1, Team 1-minus 1. M: Gibbs 22-154, Thompson 3-18, Z. Williams 2-5, Coleman Williams 2-21; Cohen Jenkins 1-2.
MP: Little 1-5-0 18, Black 1-3-0 9, Blackwelder 0-1-0. M: Thompson 9-16-0 295, Team 0-1-0 0.
MP: Austin Kee 1-19, Scott 1-9. M: Gibbs 1-22, Raheim Misher 2-64, Sigmon 2-43, Culliver 4-166.
Gibbs had a 30-yard run on the game’s first play from scrimmage and 65 yards before losing nine to close the drive at the Mount Pleasant 13… Thompson found Sigmon for a 29-yard score and early lead … Thompson threw 22 yards to Gibbs on the final play of the quarter, putting Maiden at the Tigers’ 14.
Gibbs had back-to-back gains of 7 yards for a TD as Maiden boosted its lead … The Tigers drove from their 20 to a fourth-and-goal at the Maiden 6 before giving the ball there when Gibbs defended a ball thrown to the left front corner of the end zone after the Blue Devils, earlier in the drive, were called for pass interference … An 85-yard drive that included a 50-yard pass from Thompson to Culliver set up another Maiden score, a 3-yard run by Gibbs, for a 20-0 halftime lead.
D.J. Springs had a big sack on fourth down after Mount Pleasant drove to the Maiden 29… Maiden needed one play, a 63-yard left sideline throw from Thompson to Culliver, for a TD and four-score led… After a three-and-out with six minutes, 17 seconds to play in the quarter, Thompson again found Culliver for a one-play, 44-yard TD that made it 33-0…. The Tigers had a 52-yard run by Moose to the Maiden 1, and three plays later Coln scored from the 1… Mount Pleasant recovered an onside kick at the Maiden 40 and the Blue Devils had a face mask penalty and hold on back-to-back plays that left the Tigers at the Maiden 19 before pass interference on the Blue Devils set up a 9-yard scoring pass for Mount Pleasant.
Maiden, up by 20 points, extended the lead with score after Gibbs grabbed another onside kick. Thompson hit Misher for 48 yards to the Tigers’ 10, and Thompson scored on a 15-yard keeper with 10:01 to play for a 40-13 lead… A sack by Sigmon and forced fumble had Maiden at the Mount Pleasant 22, setting up a 3-yard TD run by Zane Williams … Maiden forced a punt with 1:55 to go and ran the clock out after gains of 6 and 9 yards by Coleman Williams.
Maiden improves to 11-1, faces Bunker Hill in the third round on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Maiden… Mount Pleasant finished 8-4, falling in the postseason for the fourth time in five matchups with Maiden all-time … Maiden played in its 100th all-time postseason football game, improving to 58-42… The Blue Devils, in 47th postseason appearance, are 40-18 in home games; they’re in the state playoffs for the 27th consecutive season…This year’s Maiden team is the 17th in school history to win at least 11 games … Seven Blue Devils teams have reached 12 or more wins… Maiden head coach Will Byrne, in his seventh season, has guided all of his teams to the state playoffs and only one other Blue Devils head football coach, the late Tom Brown, got more MHS teams to the postseason (26, six in his first tenure as HC, 20 in his second)… Behind Byrne in postseason bids are Brian Brown and Frank Snider with four each…Maiden is in at least the third round for the 14th time; previously lost in second round 17 times… The Blue Devils have won 30 of their last 33 games and they are 24-2 since last year; the most wins in a two-year stretch in MHS history are 25 (14-1 in 2004, 11-3 the next year)… Record of 24-4 in 1992-1993 (14-1, 11-3)… Maiden hasn’t lost to a Catawba Valley 2A Athletic varsity football team since the league formed (6-0 in spring football 2021, 7-0 in 2021 fall, 7-0 this regular season)… Tom Brown was 61-14-3 after his first seven seasons as MHS head coach; Bryne is currently 66-16 in his first seven…. Byrne, who played for Brown, was a star WR and played for the North Carolina Shrine Bowl team as a senior.
Maiden’s Ben Gibbs
On when he first felt Maiden has an edge: “From the first big run… for about 30 yards… we knew they couldn’t match up with us.”
On Culliver’s two bombs, catches down the sidelines that went for scores: “That’s what he does. It’s what we do!”
On two things Maiden did better than a week before in the state playoff opener: “Blocking… even better, especially in the rain; Catching, by all the receivers.”
On playing Bunker Hill again, a third-round matchup on Friday at Maiden: “I’m not surprised (the Bears are in the third round). They wanted us, they got us.”
Maiden head coach Will Byrne
On his team’s mindset Friday night: “One thing I can say is our kids are very determined and don’t want to go home. We (coaches) told’em ‘We’ll play as long as you want to play.’
“I know how long they want to play.”
On one example of things he sees that tells him the Blue Devils are still improving: “I see growth. I’ve found that on offense I am able to signal in and they understand (a change in the play, etc.).
“I can tell certain receivers to run a different route… sort of draw it on the chalkboard (and offense can execute/understand the new play call).”
On where his team is after 12 games: “We are playing at a very high level but there are things we need to work on, things we need to pick up.”
On facing Bunker Hill again: “We had a pretty good feel that Bunker Hill would take care of their business.”
On Maiden having a 30-game win streak over Bunker Hill: “That 30-year crap… this is going to be a win-or-go-home game. They are coming over here… and we’re here and ready to defend (our field).
“We’re very aware that they are capable of beating us if we don’t pick some things (improve upon) some things.”
ADDITIONAL COVERAGE: https://independenttribune.com/news/high-school-football-talented-maiden-closes-out-a-productive-tigers-season/article_a0e1ce34-629c-11ed-b363-ff7b432c9c71.html#tracking-source=home-top-story