The Hickory Ridge Ragin’ Bulls at the Northwest Cabarrus Trojans was labeled as the “Game of the Week” in Cabarrus County heading into Friday night, and, boy, did it live up to the hype.
Northwest Cabarrus rallied to win a close game, 34-29, and improve to 5-0 on the season.
The Trojans scored the game-winning touchdown with 1:18 left to play in the game as LJ Currie took the ball in for a two-yard score to give the Trojans their first lead of the game. The Ragin’ Bulls had one last chance to retake the lead but quarterback Kobe Clifton was picked off as the Trojans escaped with the victory.
It sure did not feel like this game would turn into somewhat of a high scoring affair at the beginning of the game.
The defensive effort by both teams was outstanding as Ragin’ Bulls linebacker Joey Tuders intercepted Nick Wilds-Lawing to set up the offense in the red zone. The Ragin’ Bulls cashed in with an Elijah McWilliams (64 yards) six-yard touchdown run. Not long after, the Ragin’ Bulls tacked on a field goal to make it 9-0 early in the second quarter.
The Trojans finally starting making noise in the second quarter, when wide receiver Cam Saunders (82 yards) caught a 40-yard pass that led to Wilds-Lawing taking in QB keeper touchdown, plus a successful two-point conversion. Hickory Ridge answered a few minutes later, as Ick Cirino took it in for a two-yard rushing score to make it 16-8.
As both teams entered the second half, the offenses came alive.
After scores by Northwest’s LJ Currie and Hickory Ridge’s Nolan Carey, Hickory Ridge led 22-14 going into the fourth quarter. That’s when Northwest outscored Hickory Ridge 20-8.
Marquan Williams led the Trojans in receiving with 114 yards and caught the first of his two touchdowns, a 46-yard connection from Wilds-Lawing, to cut the score to 22-20. With just over eight minutes left to play, Carey Jr. scored his second and the Ragin Bulls’ final touchdown of the game on a 4-yard run to make it 29-20. From there, the Trojans defense stood up and turned the momentum of the game ultimately into their favor. Williams caught his second touchdown on a perfect slant route for the 27-yard score and a successful two-point conversion followed to make it 29-28.
Records: Northwest Cabarrus (3A) is 5-0; Hickory Ridge (4A) is 3-1
THREE WHO MATTERED
Nick Wilds-Lawing (Northwest Cabarrus): Wilds-Lawing carried the Trojans to a win, throwing for 244 yards and two touchdowns. Wilds-Lawing also rushed for 70 yards and added a rushing score.
Marquan Williams (Northwest Cabarrus): Williams led the Trojans in receiving with 114 yards and two huge touchdowns in the second half
Nolan Carey Jr. (Hickory Ridge): Carey Jr. ran tough all night for the Ragin Bulls, scoring two rushing touchdowns.
Northwest Cabarrus -- playing without star tailback Shady Blake (broken leg) has now won 17 straight regular-season games
The Ragin Bulls special teams unit helped provide great field position for the offense (blocked punt that led to a field goal and Jaylen Nicholson returned a punt inside the Trojans red zone that eventually led to an Ick Cirino touchdown)
Northwest Cabarrus is currently ranked No. 11 in the Charlotte Observer’s Sweet 16 poll.
Northwest Cabarrus has a bye next Friday (9/27) and will travel to take Cox Mill on 10/4; Hickory Ridge travels to take on Independence next Friday 9/27.
HR - Elijah McWilliams 6yrd TD run, PAT NO GOOD
HR - Hickory Ridge Riley Stubbs FG GOOD
NWC - Nick Wilds-Lawing 3 yard QB run TD, 2PT Conv GOOD
HR - Ick Cirino with 2 yard QB run TD, PAT GOOD
NWC - LJ Currie 6yrd TD run, 2pt no good
HR - Nolan Carey Jr. 4yrd TD run, blocked PAT
NWC - Marquan Williams 46 yard TD, 2PT NO GOOD
Hickory Ridge - Nolan Carey Jr. 4 yard TD run, PAT GOOD
NWC - Marquan Williams 27yrd TD, 2PT GOOD
NWC - LJ Currie 2 yard TD, 2PT NO GOOD
VIDEO CREDIT: Justin Jones, NC Gridiron