Ricaylen Mack turns the right corner behind the blocking of Holden Turner (8) and Jonathan Rikard (51) in Friday’s game at Ashbrook. Photo by Gary Smart
Mack’s running, flea-flicker passes lift Mountaineers over GreenWave
Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers had to reach into their bag of tricks to overcome a dangerous Ashbrook team 27-26 in Big South Conference action Friday night at Ashbrook’s Bill Eccles Field.
The Mountaineers built a 21-7 halftime lead but saw the Green Wave roll off 19 unanswered points in the second half to take a 26-21 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
The Mountaineers, who had thrown a 42-yard flea-flicker to Christopher Brittain to go up 14-7 early in the second quarter, completed a 44-yard reverse flea-flicker to Dontavius Hughes to set up the winning touchdown with 5:21 left in the game.
Kings Mountain’s defense sealed the win three minutes later when freshman Day Day Wilson recovered a fumble at the Ashbrook 47.
“We’re glad it all worked out,” Coach Greg Lloyd said of the late play which put the Mountaineers on the Green Wave five yard line. Mack hit the line for two carries, with the latter going for the touchdown.
“We needed one more play to win,” Lloyd noted. “I was very impressed with Ashbrook. They have excellent speed and size and are well-coached. They’re one of the better teams we’ve played.”
Things looked really good for the Mountaineers early. Their defense held the hosts to three-and-out on the game’s opening possession and a very short punt gave KM the ball at its own 45. They covered the distance in seven plays, with Mack going off the right side for a seven-yard touchdown and Micah Randall adding the PAT for a 7-0 lead.
Ashbrook drove the ensuing kickoff 80 yards to tie the score at 7-all on a 14-yard run by Bishop Brooks.
On the second play of the second quarter, KM’s AJ Austin recovered an Ashbrook fumble at the Green Wave 40. After a two-yard loss, quarterback Kaylon Wade threw the flea-flicker to Brittain who was 20 yards behind the Ashbrook safety.
Late in the half, Ashbrook faced a fourth and four at its own 12. The punter, under heavy pressure, kicked a pop-up which was dead on the 29. Mack carried the ball five straight times and scored from four yards out to send the Mountaineers into intermission with a 21-7 lead.
Ashbrook’s offense was almost unstoppable in the second half and they reeled off three touchdowns to take a 26-21 lead with 11:13 remaining. The go-ahead score was set up when the Wave recovered KM’s only fumble of the game at the Mountaineer 38 with 2:55 left in the third period. Tyrese Nicholas scored from 14 yards out to give the Green Wave a 26-21 lead.
The teams exchanged three and outs, then KM got the ball at their own 35 with 7:45 remaining. Facing third and four at the Ashbrook 49, Wade took the snap from center Jonathan Rikard and handed off to Mack going to his left. He handed the ball to Brittain coming to the right. Wade backed up a few steps, took the pitch from Brittain and threw a high pass right on the money to Hughes, who was being closely guarded but made an outstanding leaping catch for a first down at the Ashbrook five.
“It was a game of two halves,” Coach Lloyd said. “It was good to get off to a good start but they got moving in the second half. They played solid defense, and then we had to do it at the end.”
Lloyd said he was pleased with the play of quarterback Kaylon Wade, who was injured two weeks earlier and is still at only about 70 percent. Wade hit 8 of 15 passes for 165 yards.
“That play to Hughes on the deep ball was big,” he said. “Overall, our effort up front wasn’t our best but Ashbrook’s defense is very big and physical. Wade has made good progress since his injury but he’s still about 70 percent. He’s still a couple weeks away but he’s definitely getting better.
Mack hit the line 29 times for 111 of KM’s 119 yards rushing, and also caught a pass for 12 yards. Hughes had three catches for 65 yards, Brittain two for 50 and
Qua Brooks one for 36.
“I thought Micah Randall played a big role, too,” Lloyd said. “He got off some really nice punts and the kickoff into the end zone after we scored the go-ahead touchdown was really big.
“Their number two, British Brooks, is a fantastic running back,” Lloyd said. “He made it hard on us, and their good option quarterback made it tough. We were fortunate and very happy to win.
“I thought Jerdon Pressley was solid on defense, and so was AJ Austin, especially not having played much recently because of his injury. Defense was definitely a factor for us, especially late.