The Concord Spiders, runners-up of the past two 3A state championship games, recorded this season’s most comfortable win , stopping the visiting East Rowan Mustangs Friday in a South Piedmont 3A Conference, 29-12.
Concord’s defense and a heavy dose of running back Rocky Reid made the difference. Although the Mustangs’ passing game showed flashes of brilliance, the Spiders held East’s rushing attack to zero yards.
East Rowan (2-3 overall, 1-2 conference) entered the game averaging almost 48 points a game. The Spiders (5-0, 3-0), ranked fifth in The Sweet 16, won their previous four games by an average margin of 7.25 points.
Reid carried 34 times for 213 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Keenan Black was 8-for-14 passing for 165 yards and two scores before exiting in the third quarter with an injury.
“I’m really proud of how we responded in the end,” Concord coach Glen Padgett said. “When Keenan got hurt they rallied around (reserve quarterback Jadon Bell) and he did a good job of managing the game. Our offensive line did a good job of getting some push and getting some good things done.”
Concord scored twice in the third quarter to break it open. East Rowan’s touchdown in the final minute closed the scoring.
Protecting a 14-6 halftime edge, Black’s scramble and heave into the end zone to Tristan McIntyre for a 25-yard score gave Concord a 22-6 lead with 3 minutes, 40 seconds left in the third quarter. On the third quarter’s last play, Reid scored from 5 yards out for a 29-6 lead.
Both teams scored on their opening possessions in the first half.
On Concord’s second play from scrimmage, Reid took a handoff through the middle and found separation near midfield for a 46-yard run to the East Rowan 20. A 5-yard pass from Black to Drew Yoos preceded four straight runs by Reid to complete the drive.
The Mustangs needed a single play to nearly tie the game. Starting at its own 34, quarterback Samuel Wyrick faked a handoff and darted right only to pull up short of the line of scrimmage.
Wyrick’s brother Seth had a few steps on the nearest Concord defender and easily hauled in a pass at the Spiders’ 44. He had a clear path to the end zone for 66-yard score. The Mustangs missed on their conversion pass attempt and trailed 8-6 after one quarter.
Samuel Wyrick threw for 213 yards and two touchdowns by completing 16 of 30 passes. Seth Wyrick had six catches for 103 yards.
Reid served as the middle man on Concord’s next touchdown drive in the second quarter. He took a handoff but flipped the ball to Black who hooked up with Hamsah Nasirildeen for a 43-yard pass completion to the East Rowan 30.
On the next play, Black rolled left and lofted a pass to Yoos who caught it near the East 15. He turned upfield and bullied his way over the goal line for a 14-6 halftime lead.