Nolan Carey made the most of his opportunities with the football Saturday at UNC Charlotte.
The Harrisburg Hickory Ridge running back scored three touchdowns on nine touches in the Ragin’ Bulls’ 27-13 Southwestern 4A win against Rocky River Saturday at UNC Charlotte’s Richardson Stadium.
Hickory Ridge (6-1, 3-0 Southwestern 4A), No. 14 in the Observer’s Sweet 16 poll, won its third straight game and set up a big game with No. 2 Myers Park next week.
Hickory Ridge has a three-game win streak and has outscored teams 119-19 during the run. The Ragin’ Bulls will try to upset a Myers Park team that is averaging more than 53 points per game.
To do it, Hickory Ridge would love another night from Carey like he got against Hickory Ridge. On Saturday, Carey caught six passes for 148 yards, scored on passes of 68 and 50 yards in addition to a 3-yard touchdown run on three carries.
“I don’t think (Rocky RIver was) expecting it,” he said. “Everybody says I’m a running back, but I’ve got hands, too. I’m willing to play a little receiver, too.”
Winless Rocky River gave Hickory Ridge all it could handle early, forcing a 13-13 halftime deadlock on Antjuan Collins 39-yard pass from Korey Hailey in the second quarter, but the Bulls responded after intermission.
The defense made stops when needed and Carey scored on the 3-yard run and a 50-yard pass from Kobe Clifton to shut the door.
“I dropped a couple, but just played to the finish,” Carey said. “It’s a brotherhood, and when we keep it like that, we can win any game. Execution is the main thin on our side.”
Records: Hickory Ridge 6-1, 3-0; Rocky River 0-6, 0-3.
Three who mattered
Elijah McWilliams: Hickory Ridge’s primary ball carrier racked up 106 of his game-high 112 yards in the second half.
Nolan Carey: The running back showed his versatility and efficiency with three scores on nine touches.
Kobe Clifton: Hickory Ridge quarterback hit 16-of-24 passes for 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He hit 7-of-13 in the first half passes for 136 yards with a 68-yard scoring toss to Carey.
▪ Rocky River quarterback Korey Hailey completed 13-of-28 passes for 199 yards, including 104 in the first half.
▪ There was a torrent of penalties. Rocky River was flagged 13 times for 89 yards while Hickory Ridge was penalized eight times for 70.
They said it
“We’ve got all-around skill guys and weapons all around the field. When we play as a collective group, nobody can stop us.” - Carey
Hickory Ridge travels to Myers Park with first place on the line; Rocky River hosts East Mecklenburg.
Rocky River 6 7 0 0-13
Hickory Ridge 7 6 7 7-27
HR-Malik Tobias 3-yard run (Riley Stubbs kick)
RR-Korey Hailey 1-yard run (kick missed)
HR-Nolan Carey 68-yard pass from Kobe Clifton (kick missed)
RR-Antjuan Collins 39-yard pass from Hailey (Alex Webber kick)
HR-Carey 3-yard run (Stubbs kick)
HR-Carey 50-yard pass from Clifton (Stubbs kick)