High School Sports

Coach: Upstart Ardrey Kell shows ‘flash’ of future in OT loss to No. 7 Myers Park

Ardrey Kell coach Kyle Brey didn’t win his first game Friday night, but the Knights’ first-year coach had plenty to be encouraged about. Myers Park prevailed in overtime 23-20, but the upstart Knights went toe-to-toe with the favored Mustangs before losing in overtime.

Myers Park quarterback Brayden Hawkins ran 3 yards into the end zone for the winning points on the Mustangs’ first possession of overtime. Myers Park, No. 7 in the Observer’s Sweet 16, held Ardrey Kell to a field goal on the Knights’ first overtime possession.

Mustangs coach Scott Chadwick was subdued after the game.

“Right now we have to understand that we’re doing a few things that are keeping us from being a good football team,” said Chadwick. “With the penalties and the turnovers, until we get that stuff fixed, we’re not going to be as good as we can be. For them (the Knights) to have a tough week last week and then able to come back and play the way they did, you have to give Ardrey Kell a lot of credit.”

Ardrey Kell was coming off a 28-0 loss last week at Weddington.

Friday, in a very even first half, the defense dominated for both teams. Neither the Knights nor Mustangs started a drive in opposing territory.

Myers Park waited until just four seconds were left in the first half to get the game’s first score. Brayden Hawkins found wide receiver Elijah Bowick for a 4-yard touchdown pass to give the Mustangs a 7-0 halftime lead.

Trailing the Mustangs throughout most of the game, the Knights finally tied the game at 10-10 on David Owens 45-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown. Then with 1:08 left in the fourth quarter, Ardrey Kell quarterback Luke Hefferly found wide receiver Cedric Gray for a 7-yard touchdown to tie the game at 17.

Ardrey Kell’s defense forced four Myers Park turnovers and the Knights’ offense had none.

“When I took this job I said this is going to be a defense-first program.” said Brey. “We have a defense that can create turnovers and our offense learned last week that we need to (do) an unbelievable job with ball control. That’s how championships are won.”

Three who mattered

Ardrey Kell QB Luke Hefferly: Went 14-of-20 for 118 yards and one touchdown, including 11-of-14 for 80 yards and his score in the second half.

Myers Park running back Khamal Howard: Rushed for 63 yards on 18 carries and caught a 43-yard pass in the fourth quarter to set up the Mustangs’ go-ahead touchdown.

Ardrey Kell linebacker David Owens: Returned a Myers Park fumble 45 yards for one of the Knights touchdowns.

Quote: “The foundation for Ardrey Kell football is being laid. It’s going to take a little bit of time but it was a great flash tonight of what the future might look like.” – Ardrey Kell Coach Kyle Brey.

Records: Myers Park (2-0, 0-0) Ardrey Kell (0-2, 0-0)

What’s Next: Myers Park will host Providence Friday while Ardrey Kell will host Marvin Ridge.