Draughn drills Highland Tech, is off to 4-0 start
By CHRIS HOBBS
South Caldwell High needed a key defensive stop late to add a field goal and hold off visiting Bandys 31-24 on Friday night to improve to 3-1.
The Spartans used a 16-yard TD run by Suan Moore to lead 28-24 and then stopped a Bandys drive with an interception by Tyler Eggers.
Eggers’ defensive play helped the Spartans gain a 25-yard goal by Andrew Pruette with four minutes, 27 seconds to play to beat the Trojans (1-2) for the third time in a seven-game series.
The game was a scoreless battle through one quarter.
Bandys grabbed an early lead on Scotty Miley’s 3-yard run before Spartans quarterback Anderson Raynor got cranked up. Raynor had scoring runs of 3, 8 and 5 yards that put South Caldwell ahead.
A 10-yard run by Trojans quarterback Wyatt Wesson made it 21-14 at the half.
Bandys tied it at 21 with the only third-quarter score, a pass from Wesson to Nolan Jones.
When the Trojans’ Fletcher Harris made a 41-yard field goal in the final quarter, Bandys led 24-21.
Moore — who unofficially has rushed 79 times for 670 yards for the Spartans and had 201 on Friday — then broke his run for the go-ahead points.
The Trojans move into Catawba Valley 2A play on Friday (7:30 p.m.), visiting unbeaten West Lincoln.
Bandys has won 27 of 34 games since 1980 in the series against West Lincoln, but the Rebels have won three straight. The Trojans have won 14 of 16 at West Lincoln in that same time span (the Rebels won at home in 1992 and in 2020).
South Caldwell is at home Friday (7:30 p.m.) for a non-league game against Hibriten (the league game is Oct. 28 in Lenoir).
The Spartans will be off on Sept. 23 and open Northwestern 3A-4A play on Sept. 30 in Hudson against Watauga.
Draughn 62, Highland Tech 6
The Wildcats (4-0) held the visiting Rams to 32 yards and got 129 yards from quarterback Eli Tillery to remain unbeaten.
Tillery threw for 89 yards and two scores and ran for 40 yards and scored twice to lead the victory.
Draughn led 28-0 after one quarter and 48-0 by halftime.
The Wildcats had two defensive scores – an interception return by Connor Pinkerton and a fumble return by Hampton Blackwell.
Tillery’s scoring passes went 5 and 24 yards to Zaydin Pritchard.
Running back Nigel Dula, who last season ran for an area-high 1,683 yards and 18 TDs, got back into the Draughn lineup and had 52 yards on five carries and a 19-yard TD.
The Wildcats open Western Highlands 1A-2A play on Friday at Black Mountain Owen (7:30 p.m.).
Freedom 40, Patton 14
The Patriots (2-2) continued unbeaten on Patton’s field in the rivalry series, improving to 7-0 there, and they have won 15 of the 16 meetings.
A 21-point third quarter sparked Freedom, boosting a 19-6 halftime edge to 40-6.
The Patriots gained 468 yards that included quarterback Jaylen Barnett completing 13 of 29 passes for 227 yards and three TDs.
Barnett had 11 carries for 87 rushing yards and two TDs (both to Avery Pollard) and running back B.G. Hampton collected 79 yards on 11 hauls and had a 33-yard TD run.
Patton (0-4) had Trevor Smith rush 16 times for 103 yards and a TD, and Randan Clarke added 80 yards on 18 carries.
The Panthers’ only win in the series was 35-28 in Morganton in 2016.
Freedom has one non-league game left, Friday (7:30 p.m.) at Central Cabarrus. The Patriots will be idle on Sept. 23 and start Northwestern 3A-4A play on Sept. 30 at Hibriten.
Patton opens Mountain 7 2A play Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Polk County.
Lake Norman 37, Alexander Central 7
The Wildcats limited the Cougars (2-2) to 138 yards to win in Taylorsville.
Quarterback Jackson Garlick went 13 of 19 for 200 yards and three scores to lead Lake Norman, which had 348 yards of offense.
Running back Trae Sechrest had 44 rushing yards and Cam Neal had a TD reception among his three catches for 94 yards.
Mozes Morris scored on a short run and a reception for Lake Norman.
Mason Chapman-Mays led Alexander Central’s rushing with nine carries for 55 yards and quarterback Tanner Moore – who had the Cougars’ only score on a 1-yard run with 65 seconds to play – went 5-for-12 for 22 yards.
Jack Baker led the Wildcats defensively with five stops while Jonathan Specht and Garison Millsaps each had nine hits for Alexander Central.
The Cougars, after a 2-0 start with wins at Hickory and at home against North Gaston, plays their final non-league game Friday (7:30 p.m.) at Marvin Ridge.
The following Friday, Alexander Central is idle and then begins Northwestern 3A-4A play at Ashe County on Sept. 30.
Burns 48, Watauga 28
The Bulldogs (3-1) scored the game’s final 27 points to win in Lawndale.
Jeremiah Norris had three TDs, Ryan Thompson scored two and Ben Mauney threw TD passes to L.J. Allen and Kahair Surratt for Burns.
Watauga (3-1) quarterback Ben Greene had a role in three of the Pioneers’ scores and ran 27 and 41 for TDs.
The game was tied at 21 at halftime.
Watauga will play Ashe County, a Northwestern 3A-4A foe, in a non-conference game on Friday in Boone.
After a bye on Sept. 23, the Pioneers start league play on Sept. 30 at South Caldwell.
Shelby 57, Hibriten 21
Izay Bridges ran five times for 148 yards and two scores and Brice Kee added six carries for 114 yards and two rushing scores as the visiting Golden Lions (1-3) won their first game of the season.
Triston Tate added two scores for Shelby on an 8-yard run and a fumble return.
Quarterback Colby Wilson ran 16 times for 154 yards and Dillan Earp provided seven carries for 57 yards and scored twice for Hibriten (1-3.
The Panthers are on the road Friday (7:30 p.m.) for a non-league game with Northwestern 3A-4A opponent South Caldwell. Their conference game is Oct. 28 at Hibriten.
On Sept. 23, the Panthers will be idle and they will open league play on Sept. 30 at home against Freedom.
Mount Airy 51, Ashe County 29
Mount Airy (3-1) won on the road, building a 17-7 and holding off the Huskies (2-2) after their 22-point third quarter got them within 30-29.
Quarterback Blake Peters went 26 of 50 for 297 yards for Ashe County, throwing two interceptions and for four scores.
Matthew Peterson of the Huskies ran 11 times for 89 yards and had 10 catches for 104 yards and two TDs.
Bryan Elevins led Ashe County’s defense with 13 tackles, Colin Estes added 10 and Luke Osborne had nine.
The Huskies will go to Boone to play Watauga in a non-league game on Friday (7:30 p.m.). Their conference game is Oct. 28 at Ashe County.
Ashe County’s league opener is after a bye on Sept. 23, facing Alexander Central at Ashe County.