If anyone doubted Kannapolis’ A.L. Brown High could challenge for the MECKA 4A title this season, the Wonders put a lot of doubts to rest Monday night.
Behind Damon Johnson, Jalen Cagle and a tough defense, Brown – ranked No. 7 in the Observer’s Sweet 16 poll – took a 31-14 victory over sixth-ranked Vance to post its first 6-0 start since 2005.
Johnson accounted for three of the Wonders’ touchdowns, throwing for 136 yards and two touchdowns and running for 64 yards and a score.
Johnson, a senior, hit Lewis Harris on a 76-yard TD pass late in the first quarter that tied the game at 14-14, then hit Brandon Dry on a 19-yard score late in the second quarter that put Brown up 21-14 at the half.
Johnson then gave the Wonders some breathing room late in the third quarter, scoring on a 21-yard keeper that staked Brown to a 14-point lead.
Cagle added 105 rushing yards and a touchdown, a 34-yard dash midway through the first quarter that gave Brown the early lead. Kicker Nate Williams capped the Wonders’ scoring with a 38-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter.
Vance quarterback Kingsley Ifedi accounted for two first-quarter touchdowns, both coming over an 88-second span late in the period.
Ifedi put in a 10-yard keeper with 3 minutes, 26 seconds left to tie the game at 7-7. A short punt then set up the second score, a 27-yard TD pass to Johnathan Ifedi with 1:56 left that put the Cougars up 14-7.
Records: A.L. Brown 6-0, 2-0 MECKA 8 4A; Vance 4-2, 0-1.
Worth mentioning: The first half had an unusual ending – one that nearly led to a tie score. Vance’s Chris Smith II appeared to return a fumble 53 yards for a touchdown, only to have the score taken away when the game officials whistled the play dead. Giving the Cougars one untimed play, Myles Dorn nearly turned a short pass from Kingsley Ifedi into a touchdown, getting pulled down at the Wonders 8. … Monday’s game was originally scheduled for last Friday at Vance, but the weekend’s heavy rainfall prompted officials to move the game back three days and play it on Rocky River High’s artificial-turf field.
What's Next: It’s a short week, with both teams in action Friday – A.L. Brown hosts J.M. Robinson in a nonconference game; meanwhile, Vance travels to West Charlotte in a MECKA 4A game.