Vance High football was back in action on Friday night after a bye week and it didn’t miss a beat.
Hosting the struggling South Mecklenburg Sabres, the Cougars proved why they sit second in the most recent North Carolina Associated Press poll. Vance is also No. 2 in the Observer’s Sweet 16.
Five different Cougars scored to lead Vance to a 49-7 win over South Mecklenburg and move to 5-0 on the season.
Joseph Morris led the charge for the Cougar offense after a sluggish start to the season. His 1-yard rushing touchdown kicked off the night for Vance and was his first of the season.
“I haven’t done so well in the first few games,” said Morris. “I took some time this week to learn the offense and it paid off.”
Morris picked a good night to get hot as the passing game struggled at first. It was his first time rushing over 100-yards on the season as well.
The scoring fever spread throughout the team for Vance.
Justin Hudson caught a short screen pass from quarterback Austin Grier which ended up being a 74-yard touchdown after he busted out to the left side and was off to the races.
The touchdown put Vance up 14-0 and it would later go into halftime with a 21-0 lead.
The offensive clinic continued in the second half with two more touchdowns from the Cougars.
“Just going in and working on our assignments was big for us tonight,” said coach Glenwood Ferebee. “We do need to go back and fixed some of those miscues we had late in the game.”
With the comfortable lead, Ferebee was able to put some younger players in and get a glimpse of the future.
Jalen Smoothers, who was called up from the junior varsity team, found a hole late in the game to score a lengthy 60-yard touchdown.
“Putting in some of those younger guys really helped us see what we have available here,” said Ferebree.
South Mecklenburg’s (0-5) struggles continued but a Jahied Burton 5-yard touchdown late in the fourth put the Sabres on the board.
Three Who Mattered
Joseph Morris, Vance: The 5-9 junior eclipsed 100 yards rushing and had three rushing touchdowns on the night. Two of those touchdowns were for over 30 yards.
Jaylen Gullatte, Vance: The senior cornerback picked off the Sabres twice on the night and forced a fumble in the third quarter that led to a Jaheid Burton touchdown.
The Vance Defense: On top of two interceptions and a fumble recovery from Gullatte, the Vance defense prevented any Mecklenburg advancement for most of the night. The Sabres weren’t able to find the endzone all night.
▪ Austin Grier, Vance: The junior quarterback had an impressive 74-yard touchdown pass and fought hard for a 4-yard touchdown rush.
▪ South Mecklenburg broke a two-week drought of being shoutout after two tough losses versus Weddintion and Myers Park.
▪ The big win for Vance was a solid tuneup and it will have one of their toughest tests of the season next week against conference rival Mallard Creek. Mallard Creek is No. 1 in the Sweet 16.
Vance will host Mallard Creek in a big conference game this Friday (Sep. 27), while South Mecklenburg will travel to Ardrey Kell.
South Mecklenburg 0 0 0 7- 7
Vance 21 7 14 7- 49
V- Joseph Morris 1-yard run (Melvin Benitez kick)
V- Justin Hudson 74-yard pass from Austin Grier (Benitez kick)
V- Grier 4-yard run (Benitez kick)
V- Morris 49-yard run (Benitez kick)
V- Morris 32-yard run (Benitez kick)
V- Jaheid Burton 5-yard run (Benitez kick)
SM- Panos Burlos 5-yard run (Zane Davis kick)
V- Jalen Smoothers 60-yard run (Benitez kick)