St. Stephens wipes out early 13-point deficit, wins in first visit to Marion
MARION – St. Stephens High’s Xavian King had a breakout game, rushing for a career-high 319 yards and three scores, as the visiting Indians nipped McDowell 40-36 on Friday night in Northwestern 3A-4A football.
The Indians (2-4, 1-1), playing at McDowell for the first time, snapped a four-game losing streak behind King and quarterback Connor Williams, who threw for 106 yards.
Williams connected with wide receiver Zach Lee (seven catches for 103 yards) for a TD – their first scoring play since the first game of the year – as St. Stephens rallied to win after trailing 20-14 at the half.
King’s scoring runs were from the 2 twice and on a 4-yard run with six minutes, 17 seconds to play that gave St. Stephens a 33-28 lead.
A 2-yard TD run by Nathaniel Vera came four minutes later, stretching the lead to 40-28, and the Titans (2-4, 0-2) scored with 1.1 seconds to play on 26-yard pass from Andruw Randolph to Richard Handy and a conversion pass from Randolph to Steven Webb.
J.C. Olivio (20-144) and quarterback Adam Randolph (12-100) led McDowell’s running game and Adam Randolph added 155 yards passing in the loss.
After Olivo ran 32 yards for a TD and King ran 2 for one and it was tied 7-all, McDowell took a lead when Olivo broke a run 41 yards for a TD.
The Titans opened their lead to 20-7 after Andruw Randolph threw 30 yards to Dakota Effler for a second-quarter TD.
Williams’ throw to Lee came about four minutes later, in the final 90 seconds of the half, and went for 36 yards to help the Indians get within 20-14 at halftime.
St. Stephens gained a 21-20 lead when Vera scored on a 3-yard run about two minutes into the second half, and it was 27-20 after King scored on a 2-yard run in the final second of the third quarter.
McDowell regained the lead, 28-27, with 8:49 to play when Adam Randolph scored on a 1-yard run and added a two-point conversion run.
King’s third TD put St. Stephens ahead for good.
King’s 300-yard game – the 10th 100-yard game of his varsity career – easily topped his previous best rushing night this season (27 for 97 yards against Maiden).
He now has 23 career rushing TDs, and his big night pushed him (unofficially) past 2,000 career rushing yards (2,203). King had 57 rushing yards last season when St. Stephens beat McDowell 19-17 in Hickory.
King is in his third varsity season for head coach Wayne Hicks, who picked up win No. 21. King is averaging 6.3 yards per carry as the Indians prepare for their homecoming game on Friday night (7:30 p.m.) against West Caldwell.
McDowell goes on the road on Friday for a 7:30 p.m. conference game at South Caldwell.