Lions’ 9. Two plays later Tyler Bauer followed blockers through the middle to cut the Lions’ lead to 7-6. Will Manship then kicked his first of seven consecutive extrapoints to tie it.
“We started with some bumps in the road,” McCormick said. “They had a nice kickoff return, big play, and the thing I liked was our guys never flinched. They didn’t back down. We took the kickoff, drove it down the field, tied the game, and never looked back.”
After scoring their touchdown, the Lions punted six times, turned the ball over twice with an interception and a fumble, and lost the ball on downs to account for their remaining possessions.
A five-play scoring drive put North Caroline in front to stay. Bulldogs quarterback Cody Pepper hit Bailey deep down the middle for a 36-yard gain to the Lions’ 16. Three plays later, Bailey scored from five yards out to make it 13-7 with 3:35 left in the first quarter.
On the Bulldogs next play from scrimmage, Bailey swept left and raced down the visitors sideline for a 69-yard touchdown carry with 39 seconds left in the first quarter.
“I have to give all my credit to my line tonight,” Bailey said. “They blocked their tails off. My wide receiver, Cameron Brown, and all of them, they blocked great. Quarterback made some good decisions and the coaches made some great play calling.”
Queen Anne’s managed just two yards on its next possession, and North Caroline used five plays to score again. Manship found running room off right tackle and cut outside for a 27-yard gain to the Lions’ 35. Bailey picked up seven yards off left tackle and Bauer ran up the middle for 15 yards before Manship cruised through a gaping hole in the right side of the Lions’ defense for a 13-yard TD run.
Manship found another large hole and scored from 32 yards out with 6:45 left in the first half.
“Will’s a good little back,” McCormick said. “He makes nice cuts for us. He gets vertical. He does things the way we want him to do it. He had a heck of a game blocking tonight. He had some good carries, some good running. And I’ll tell you what, our offensive line came alive tonight. We had some questions about them and were they going to get better. They got better tonight.”
Blocking on the offensive line for the Bulldogs were Jack Webb, Noah Schall, Jacob Brown, Alex Grable, Jamil Workman, and tight end Tucker Stevens.
Pepper connected with Brown on a quick out pass and Brown slipped past a defender and ran down the visitors sideline for a 57-yard touchdown to make it 41-7 with a little over two minutes left in the half.
The Lions moved the ball 29 yards on their last possession of the first half. But with only 11 seconds on the clock, North Caroline’s Tynez Warner intercepted a deep pass into the end zone.
With a running clock in the second half, possessions were limited. On the first play of three second-half possessions for North Caroline, Bailey burst off left tackle and ran untouched 84 yards into the end zone for a 48-7 lead.
“He’s a grown man,” McCormick said of Bailey, who is headed to Boston College. “He’s a heck of a ballplayer. He’s the best kid I’ve ever coached as far as running back and skill guy. He’s special and we’re just glad that he’s with us and staying healthy right now.”
With reserves playing, Savion Blake ran through the middle and bounced outside for a 40-yard run for the Bulldogs’ final touchdown with 2:34 to play.
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