Vance spotted Myers Park an early lead, then shut down the explosive Mustangs attack Friday night and scored a 21-13 victory in the 4AA Western Regional final at Mallard Creek High.
The Cougars’ reward is a meeting with defending state champion Wake Forest in the title game next Saturday in Durham.
The Mustangs dominated the first 14 minutes of the game, but Vance’s defense stifled Myers Park’s passing attack. The Cougars broke up nearly all of the Mustangs’ trademark long pass plays and shut down the Myers Park running game.
Meanwhile, Vance’s offense slowly got into gear, eating up chunks of the clock in the second half with a punishing ground game.
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The Cougars gashed Myers Park with 227 rushing yards, with two running backs gaining at least 100 yards.
The Mustangs took a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter, with quarterback Drake Maye scrambling 8 yards for a touchdown. Maye completed long passes to Andre Francois and Elijah Bowick on that drive.
Myers Park scored on its next drive, going 63 yards – the final 9 on a pass from Maye to Muhsin Muhammad. That made it 13-0, and the Mustangs seemed in control.
From that point on, Vance’s defense held Myers Park to 74 yards offense, and 44 of that came on a long pass in the fourth quarter.
Vance began the comeback midway in the second quarter, driving 61 yards and scoring on a 1-yard run by Andre White Jr. Vance’s Jordan Harris picked off a Maye pass on Myers Park’s next series, and the Cougars drove 68 yards for the go-ahead score. It came on a 5-yard run by White with 59 seconds left in the half.
The Cougars got their final score midway in the third quarter, on a 30-yard run by Joseph Morris.
Myers Park drove into Vance territory in the closing minute of the game, but Cougar defensive back Stefon Thompson broke up a fourth-down pass to Muhammad, and Vance ran out the clock.
Records: Vance is 13-1; Myers Park is 12-2.
3 who mattered
Andre White Jr., Vance: The Cougars’ senior running back carried 19 times for 100 yards and scored two touchdowns.
Nigel Summerville, Vance: Summerville, Vance’s senior quarterback, directed an errorless and efficient attack. He completed 9-of-14 passes for 94 yards, with no interceptions.
Roe Chitwood, Myers Park: Chitwood, a junior linebacker, seemed to be involved in nearly every tackle for the Mustangs. He had two tackles for losses.
▪ Vance lost its scheduled home playoff game when the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools moved the game to Mallard Creek, saying Vance’s field was not playable. Vance fans kept the home-field edge, packing their side of the Mallard Creek stadium.
▪ The Cougar defense made it a miserable night for Maye. He completed 12 of 33 passes for 200 yards. He was intercepted once, sacked four times, and fumbled the ball away on one sack.
▪ Next week’s state title game will mark the second straight year that Wake Forest faces an I-Meck 4A team for the championship. Mallard Creek represented the West Region last season.
▪ Vance lost in the Western Regional finals last year – but in 4A, not 4AA. The Cougars fell to Harding, which won the state championship a week later.
▪ Myers Park’s season has ended. Vance plays Wake Forest next Saturday in Durham for the 4AA state championship.
Myers Park 7 6 0 0 -- 13
Vance 0 14 7 0 -- 21
MP -- Drake Maye 8 run (Matthew Dennis kick)
MP -- Muhsin Muhammad 9 pass from Maye (kick blocked)
V -- Andre White Jr. 1 run (James Palacios kick)
V -- White 5 run (Palacios kick)
V -- Joseph Morris 30 run (Palacios kick)