Crest running back Jalen Graham rushed for 196 yards and four touchdowns and the Chargers’ defense forced four turnovers in a 40-34 victory over the Kings Mountain Mountaineers Friday night in Boiling Springs.
The win gave Crest the Big South 3A conference championship. The Chargers were not a top pre-season pick to win the conference but secured the championship in its final regular season game.
“It definitely feels good to win the first conference championship since I’ve been here,” said Chargers’ coach Nick Eddins. “It’s the first one in four years for us and our kids did a phenomenal job. Our players really bought into what we’re doing. I’m proud of them to come back from a 2-2 start the win the conference, and our conference is a great conference.”
The game wasn’t decided until a minute to go in the fourth quarter when King’s Mountain faced a 4th-and-9 from the Crest 10 and trailed by six points. Mountaineers’ quarterback Ethan Reid dropped back to pass but couldn’t find an open receiver. Reid decided to run but was stopped short of the first down allowing Crest to take a knee for the final two plays and time ran out.
Chargers’ defensive back Delone Willis had a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown and Caleb Reavis also had a pick for Crest.
The game was full of big plays by both teams.
Crest had touchdown runs of 71, 64, 60,and 30 yards. King’s Mountain had touchdown catches of 80, 38 and 14 yards.
Graham had a special game with four rushing touchdowns and was asked what was so special about his game.
“My team, it was all about my team” Graham responded. “I just felt like if I put my team on my back they would follow me.
The Chargers received the opening kick and scored on their second play when Graham rumbled 64 yards for a touchdown. The extra-point attempt was blocked and Crest led
King’s Mountain answered quickly on its first possession going 70 yards in just five plays, capped off by a 38-yard touchdown catch by wife receiver Quintin Davidson from quarterback Ethan Reid. The Mountaineers’ kicked the extra point and led 7-6.
After a Crest three-and-out King’s Mountain increased its lead to 14-6 on a 2-yard run by running back Rasard Brooks completing a 43-yard drive.
The Mountaineers then drove from their own 13-yard line to the Chargers 5. The drive stalled and King’s Mountain cam away with zero points following a missed 24-yard field goal by Auston Browning.
Crest got the ball back at its own 23-yard line when elusive threat T. J. Ruff weaved his way down the field 71 yards for a touchdown with just 7 seconds remaining in the first half. The 2-point conversion failed but the Chargers cut the King’s Mountain lead to 14-12 at the half.
RECORDS: King’s Mountain (9-2) Crest (9-2)
THREE WHO MATTERED
Jalen Graham, Crest – Senior running back ran for a 64-yard score on the Chargers’ first offensive series and rushed for three more touchdowns of 1, 60, 30 and yards. He finished with 196 yards.
Ethan Reid, King’s Mountain – Junior quarterback went 16-of-27 for 326 yards and threw for four touchdowns.
Rasard Brooks, King’s Mountain – Sophomore running back carried the ball 30 times for 142 yards and one touchdown, including 20 first-half carries for 106 yards.
THEY SAID IT
“They’re a team. They said in the locker room as they were talking before the game, it’s not about this person or that person, but they’re a team. There’s no individuals and they have bought into that and they do their job and what we ask them to do.” Crest coach Nick Eddins on what has made the Chargers special this season.
King’s Mountain’s 4-game winning streak over Crest was snapped Friday night with the Chargers’ 40-34 win.
On the coldest night of the high school football season, the temperature at kickoff in Boiling Springs was 39 degrees.
Seedings for the 3A State playoffs will be announced Saturday, and first-round playoff games will begin next Friday.
C - Jalen Graham 64 run; (kick blocked)
KM – Quintin Davidson 38 pass from Ethan Reid (Austin Browning kick)
KM – Rasard Brooks 2 run; (Browning kick)
C – T.J. Ruff 71 run: (2-point conversion failed)
C – Graham 1 run; (Blake Roderick kick)
KM – Kobe Paysour 14 pass from Reid; (conversion failed)
C – Graham 30 run: (Roderick kick)
C – Delone Willis 45 interception return; (Roderick kick)
KM – Davidson 80 pass from Reid; (Browning kick)
C – Graham 60 run; (Roderick kick)
KM – Paysour 31 pass from Reid; (Browning kick)