Northwest Cabarrus quarterback Nick Wilds-Lawing, injured early against rival Central Cabarrus, was thought to be done for the night and possibly longer.
But Wilds-Lawing was cleared at halftime and led the Trojans to a dramatic 21-17 road victory at Viking Stadium.
On the first play of the game Wilds-Lawing was injured making a throw but stayed in the game. On the next offensive series Lawing scrambled out of the pocket and on the tackle injured his knee and did not return.
After Central Cabarrus stopped Northwest on downs early in the second quarter at the 29, the Vikings went 71 yards in 10 plays and scored first on a Dajon Johnson 11 yard scoring pass to Jay Rodgers-Freeman with 4:30 left in the quarter. A 29-yard field goal by Jaciel Garibo with 19 seconds left pushed the lead to 10-0 at the half.
Lawing returned for the second half and the game changed. After a scramble of 27 yards LJ Currie went up the middle for a 48-yard score and the lead was 10-7.
On their next offensive possession George Miller-Duncan scored on a 26-yard run and now Northwest led 14-10.Central would answer on their next drive, going 58 yards and re-taking the lead on the first play of the fourth when DeAndre Boykins scored from 10 yards.
Late in the fourth Central pinned Northwest at their own 14 with 2:28 left. Wilds-Lawing completed two passes to the 42, then hit Marquan Williams for what looked to be a 15 yard pass to the sideline.
But Williams stayed inbounds, and sprinted for the game-winning 58-yard score with 1:01 left.
Central had a chance and drove to the Northwest 35, but Blue Monroe was sacked on the last play.
“I’ll be honest, I was a little scared,” Wilds-Lawing said. “I had confidence in my team that they would come back, but when I was cleared to return I knew I couldn’t let them down.”
Records: Northwest Cabarrus improves to 8-0 overall and 2-0 in the South Piedmont 3A conference while Central Cabarrus falls to 5-3 and 1-1.
Three Who Mattered
Nick Wilds-Lawing (Northwest Cabarrus)- In basically one half of play accounted for 178 total yards and threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Marquan Williams with 1:01 left.
DeAndre Boykins (Central Cabarrus)- Finished with 156 total yards, 141 rushing, including a 10-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter that had given the Vikings a 17-14 lead.
LJ Currie (Northwest Cabarrus)- ran for 101 yards but it was his 48 yard touchdown run early in the third quarter that gave momentum to the Trojans after falling behind 10-0 at half.
Northwest Cabarrus will go back home to face A.L. Brown while Central Cabarrus will play host to Concord.
▪ What a difference Wilds-Lawing made for Northwest Cabarrus. In the first half Central Cabarrus held Northwest to 100 total yards and nine plays of either zero, negative yards or turnovers. In the second half Northwest scored three touchdowns and gained 267 yards.
▪ Central Cabarrus may be the best three-loss team around. It has lost to a two-loss 4A Hickory Ridge team, Gastonia Huss who is ninth in the state 3A rankings and now a heartbreaker to the top-ranked 3A team in Northwest Cabarrus.
▪ Central Cabarrus quarterback Dajon Johnson was lost early in the second half with what looked to be an ankle injury. Up to that point he had accounted for 113 yards and his loss really hurt the Vikings offense.
Northwest Cabarrus 0 0 14 7 21
Central Cabarrus 0 10 0 7 17
CC- Jay Rodgers-Freeman 11 pass from Dajon Johnson (Jaciel Garibo kick)
CC- Garibo 29fg
NW- LJ Currie 48 run (Ezekial Senegal kick)
NW- George Miller-Duncan 26 run (Senegal kick)
CC- DeAndre Boykins 10 run (Garibo kick)
NW- Marquan Williams 58 pass from Nick Wilds-Lawing (Senegal kick)