Vance quarterback Kingsley Ifedi admitted he felt “a little extra pressure” knowing his future coach, East Carolina’s Scottie Montgomery, was in attendance Friday night.
Once the game kicked off though, Ifedi was focused, completing 20 of 32 passes for 295 yards and two touchdowns, and he added 57 yards and three more scores in leading the Cougars to a 52-14 rout of Independence.
Vance, No. 4 in the Observer Sweet 16, is 5-0 going into its bye week, before starting MECKA 4A Conference play Sept. 30 at A.L. Brown.
Independence actually opened the scoring, taking its first drive 73 yards in seven plays, capped by an 11-yard touchdown pass from David Short to Mohamed Asfar, to take a 7-0 lead.
Vance then scored the next 49 points to put the game out of reach.
Ifedi, 6-foot-4 and 217 pounds, took control from the start, scoring on runs of 20 and 12 yards in back-to-back, first-quarter drives to give his team a 14-7 advantage.
Then he found senior wideout Jamari Taylor for a 4-yard touchdown pass on Vance’s first possession of the second quarter.
After Independence committed its third turnover of the first half on the ensuing drive, Ifedi capped the next Cougars possession with a 5-yard touchdown run to make it 28-7.
While Ifedi led the way, he got a lot of help from seniors Michael Roberts (10 catches for 127 yards and a touchdown) and Jeremiah Hall (five catches for 89 yards and a rushing touchdown).
The Vance special teams also got in the act as sophomore kicker Odavion Bush-Smiley had seven extra points and a 21-yard field goal. Senior Phillip Perry also scored on a blocked punt return.
Independence junior wideout Xavier Lloyd was the Patriots’ top offensive weapon with three catches for 35 yards and a touchdown.
Quote: “There was a little extra pressure after I shook coach Montgomery’s hand before the game, knowing he was there watching. But once game time came, I knew I had to go out and play for my team. I played alright. But coach (Aaron) Brand holds me to the same standard in every game. Anything less than my best is not good enough. I like having those expectations. – Vance senior quarterback Kingsley Ifedi.
Records: Vance 5-0; Independence 0-5.
Worth mentioning: Ifedi continued his record-breaking pace as he is now 97 for 135 for 1,746 yards and 19 touchdowns passing this season. ... Vance didn’t look to the running game early, but still amassed 151 yards rushing on 24 carries on the night. ... The Cougars are hard to stop, averaging 56.2 points per game, but have a bad habit of stopping themselves with too many careless penalties. That could come back to haunt them in closer games. ... The Independence offense continued to struggle as it has 33 points this season, and had 64 yards of total offense against Vance.
What’s next: Vance has a bye week before traveling to Kannapolis A.L. Brown on Sept. 30. Independence will travel to East Mecklenburg next week for its Southwestern 4A Conference opener.
Vance 14 28 7 3 - 52
Independence 7 0 7 0 - 14
I – Mohamed Asfar 11-yard pass from David Short (Dino Silva kick)
V – Kingsley Ifedi 20-yard run (Odavion Bush-Smiley kick)
V – Ifedi 12-yard run (Bush-Smiley kick)
V – Jamari Taylor 4-yard pass from Ifedi (Bush-Smiley kick)
V – Ifedi 5-yard run (Bush-Smiley kick)
V – Phillip Perry 5-yard punt block return (Bush-Smiley kick)
V – Jeremiah Hall 3-yard run (Bush-Smiley kick)
V – Michael Roberts 7-yard pass from Ifedi (Bush-Smiley kick)
I – Xavier Lloyd 8-yard pass from Wes Cook (Silva kick)
V – Bush-Smiley 21-yard field goal