South Mecklenburg put together its best seven minutes football in the regular-season finale Friday night.
Over that span in the second quarter, the Sabres exploded for 31 points en route to a 51-24 SoMeck 4A win against Ardrey Kell on Senior Night. South locked down second place in the standings, but more important, maintained momentum for the postseason with a three-game win streak.
“It was not pretty. We talked about that all week the conditions would not be good,” Sabres coach Rocky White said. “These guys have battled all year long and they did it again tonight, so hopefully we’ll make a little run in the playoffs.”
South’s uprising was an all-around effort with offense, defense and special teams playing key roles. Quarterback A.J. Elam (11-of-20, 268 yards) accounted for five touchdowns, including four passing while cornerback John Brannon picked off three passes to give him eight for the campaign in addition to a 24-yard touchdown pass to put the Sabres ahead 14-12 in the second quarter.
Travis Prince’s 35-yard run, Nigel Brown’s recovery of an errant snap on a Knights’ punt and Jonathan Doerer’s 34-yard field goal closed the closed the second quarter. South outgained Ardrey Kell 210 yards to 185, with Elam hitting 7-of-10 passes for 148 yards and a pair of scores.
Ardery Kell pounced on South Mecklenburg early, with Bryce Maginley (10-of-16, 197 yards) hooking up with Julian Okwara and Jaylen Erwin on scoring passes of 8 and 39 yards respectively to break ahead 12-0 early in the second quarter. South’s response was resolute with the defense setting the tone and Elam guiding the offense with a hot passing hand.
“We didn’t execute very well,” Ardrey Kell coach Joe Evans said. “We had a great game plan, but we didn’t execute a couple of little things, we dropped a ball here, throw an interception or underthrow a ball. It was missed opportunities.”
Quote: “Hopefully we’ll keep getting better and keep getting better. We’d like to make a little noise. It’s been a long time since we won a playoff game around here.” – South Mecklenburg coach Rocky White.
Records: Ardrey Kell is 6-5, 4-3 in SoMeck 4A; South Mecklenburg is 9-2, 5-2 in SoMeck 4A.
Worth Mentioning: Moryah Johnson caught two passes for 84 yards, including a 52-yard reception.
What's next: South Mecklenburg advances to the N.C. 4A postseason. Ardrey Kell awaits seeding process.
Ardrey Kell 6 6 6 6 - 24
South Mecklenburg 0 31 6 14 - 51
AK-Julian Okwara 8 pass from Bryce Maginley (kick missed)
AK-Jaylen Erwin 39 pass from Maginley (kick missed)
SM–Chance Kennedy 63 pass from A.J. Elam (Jonathan Doerer kick)
SM–John Brannon 24 pass from Elam (Doerer kick)
SM–Travis Prince 35 run (Prince run)
SM–Nigel Brown 0 return (kick missed)
SM–Doerer 34 FG
AK–Maginley 8 run (pass failed)
SM–Moryah Johnson 52 pass from Elam (kick blocked)
SM–Elam 3 run (Doerer kick)
AK–Kirk Augustus 43 pass from Maginley (run failed)
SM–Kennedy 38 pass from Elam (Joseph Cameron kick)