Vance High got a measure of atonement in the season opener.
The Cougars beat West Mecklenburg 21-14 on the road to make up for a 42-19 loss in last year’s debut. Vance converted a strong first-half ground attack and three forced turnovers into a 21-6 halftime advantage that withstood the Hawks’ second-half resolve.
Vance sophomore running back Joseph Morris made an immediate impression with 118 yards on 12 carries, including a 76-yard touchdown run on his first carry for a 7-0 advantage. Jaylen Gullatte added a 6-yard score for Vance and Nigel Summerville a 1-yard plunge to put the Cougars in control while the defense forced three turnovers before the break to keep West Mecklenburg in check.
The Hawks pulled to within a touchdown in the third quarter when Malik Cunningham fell on a blocked punt in the end zone, but couldn’t get closer despite quarterback Preston Brown’s 21-of-27 passing for 195 yards. Odavion Bush’s interception with 1 minute, 19 seconds left quashed West’s final try at a game-tying score.
Records: Vance is 1-0. West Mecklenburg is 0-1.
Three who mattered
Joseph Morris (Vance): Sophomore running back scored on a 76-yard run with his first touch of the season. He finished with 118 yards on 12 carries.
Nigel Summerville (Vance): Senior quarterback completed 5-of-10 first-half passes for 95 yards, including 59-yarder to set up his 1-yard touchdown plunge. He finished 6-of-12 for 130 yards.
Preston Brown (West Mecklenburg): Senior quarterback hit 21-of-27 passes for 195 yards, including 10-of-13 passes for 127 yards in the first half.
▪ Vance’s defense split its four forced turnovers in half, with a pair of interceptions and a couple of fumbles recovered.
▪ West Mecklenburg receiver Khafre Brown caught 10 passes for 84 yards and a score.
▪ Vance racked up six sacks.
Vance is at Monroe. West Mecklenburg is at West Charlotte.