South Mecklenburg isnt going to the N.C. high school football playoffs next week, but the Sabres had a championship-caliber finish to what had been a pretty tough first season for new coach Rocky White.
The Sabres rallied from a 20-0 deficit in the final 10 minutes to beat East Mecklenburg 21-20 Friday on the road. The win sparked an enormous celebration that included Sabres principal Maureen Furr rushing the field.
Heres what happened, according to Sabres assistant coach Larry Kennedy.
The Sabres (2-9) were down 20-0 after Lawrence Pittman scored his second touchdown of the night for East Meck. There were 10 minutes left.
South got an 80-yard scoring pass from QB Alex Adams to C.J. Thompson, but the extra point was blocked. After stopping the Eagles, South got the ball back and scored again, on a 1-yard run from Adams.
Now down 20-13, South Meck forced East Meck into third and long. Thompson stepped in front of an Eagles receiver and intercepted the pass.
The Sabres began a drive and converted a fourth and 20 when Adams hit Zach Demopolous over the middle. With seven seconds left, the Sabres found themselves at Easts 20 with no timeouts left.
Adams dropped back and found Demopolous over the middle in the end zone. Demopolous took two hard hits but held onto the ball. Now down 20-19, the Sabres staff decided to go for the win.
We had already had one blocked, Kennedy said. But we were going for the win. It didnt take long to decide.
Adams threw a pass to Thompson on the 2-point conversion attempt. Thompson, who recently had a game with 303 receiving yards, caught the ball at the 4. Kennedy said he faked out an Eagles defender who appeared to have a sure, game-winning tackle and then Thompson ran into the end zone with the sweetest conversion the Sabres have had in awhile.
After losing six straight games, by an average of 44-9, the Sabres get to go into the offseason feeling good about themselves.
Man, the sideline erupted, Kennedy said. You wouldve thought we won the Super Bowl. The principal, everybody ran out on that field. It was a happy victorious moment. We needed this. These young cats finished the year out strong. It was a defining moment for our program where you could see the potential of where were headed.
• For a team with a No. 1 overall seed, Butler sure did get a wicked playoff draw. A potential second round game with state power Independence and a potential third round game with an unbeaten East Forsyth team that a few experts have whispered may be the states best, even though Butler is nationally ranked.
At least Butler gets to play at home, so long as it keeps winning.
Well, we have to go through some people anyway, coach Brian Hales said. We feel our conference sets us up pretty well for this. We played Mallard Creek and Vance in non-conference.
• Butler will play without starting defensive end Grant Polofsky, who tore an ACL in his knee during Fridays 33-14 win over Independence. Hales said senior Michael Boykin (6-2, 240) would start in Polofskys place.
• West Mecklenburg set whats believed to be a school scoring record in a 79-8 win over East Gaston Friday. Tailbacks Shaun Wilson (1,500-plus yards) and Van Smith (1,100) both topped four figures rushing for the season. Wilson missed Fridays game, but West still had more than 500 yards total offense and held East Gaston to about 200. West kicker Julie Costantini was 6-of-7 on PATs Friday.