NC com­pletes un­beaten reg­u­lar sea­son

Bull­dogs per­fect for sec­ond straight year head­ing into play­offs af­ter wreck­ing the Colonels

Dorchester Star - - FRONT PAGE - By CHRIS KNAUSS ck­[email protected]­dem.com

RIDGELY — The re­frain from the an­nouncer Fri­day night at Bull­dogs Sta­dium, of­ten joined by the home­town faith­ful, went like this: “That’s an­other Bull­dogs first down!”

There were plenty of first downs for North Caroline High’s foot­ball team against Colonel Richard­son in the reg­u­lar-sea­son fi­nale for both schools. And there were plenty of touch­downs for the Bull­dogs, in­clud­ing four in the first quar­ter.

RIDGELY — The re­frain from the an­nouncer Fri­day night at Bull­dogs Sta­dium, of­ten joined by the home­town faith­ful, went like this: “That’s an­other Bull­dogs first down!”

There were plenty of first downs for North Caroline High’s foot­ball team against Colonel Richard­son in the reg­u­lar-sea­son fi­nale for both schools. And there were plenty of touch­downs for the Bull­dogs, in­clud­ing four in the first quar­ter.

Quar­ter­back Wy­att LaClair con­nected with J.B. Brown for touch­down re­cep­tions on North Caroline’s first two pos­ses­sions and the Bull­dogs ran the ball into the end zone seven times af­ter that for a 63-0 vic­tory, which in­cluded nine-straight ex­tra-point kicks by Kyler Boyd.

The Class 2A Bull­dogs fin­ished at 9-0, their sec­ond­straight un­beaten reg­u­lar sea­son. North Caroline has lost only two reg­u­lar-sea­son games in the last five years.

“We put in a lot of hard work and we de­serve this,” Bull­dogs se­nior wide re­ceiver and de­fen­sive back Michael Stumpf said. “We want to stay as hum­ble as we can, and I think we’re do­ing re­ally good this sea­son. We put a lot of hard work in, in and out of prac­tice. The weight room is where it all started.”

“I’m re­ally happy for our se­niors, they get to join the un­de­feated-reg­u­lar-sea­son club,” Bull­dogs head coach James McCormick said. “So I’m proud of these guys. They’ve played well all sea­son and fin­ished the reg­u­lar sea­son on a high note.”

McCormick said the Bull­dogs will likely be the third seed in the state and the sec­ond seed in the re­gion.

Class 1A Colonel Richard­son dropped to 5-4. Both teams await their seed­ing this morn­ing in their re­spec­tive East Re­gion play­offs.

North Caroline’s de­fense recorded its fourth shutout of the sea­son and lim­ited the Colonels to just 47 yards from scrim­mage on 30 plays. The Colonels’ only first down that wasn’t the re­sult of a penalty came in their fi­nal pos­ses­sion against Bull­dog re­serves.

“We just have a broth­er­hood here, we’re a fam­ily,” Bull­dogs se­nior linebacker and of­fen­sive line­man Jody Ward said. He’s ex­pect­ing to “just play our hearts out and give it one last ride” in the play­offs.

Dy­lan Bunce and Alex Wal­strum in­ter­cepted passes by Colonel Richard­son quar­ter­back Jackie Ze­bron, who didn’t com­plete a pass in four at­tempts.

Know­ing they would need plenty of points to beat their pow­er­ful county ri­vals, the Colonels chose to go for a first down on a fourth-and-2 at their own 42 dur­ing the game’s open­ing pos­ses­sion. But Ze­bron was pres­sured from be­hind from Rhian Sil­s­ley and the ball sailed for­ward for an in­com­plete pass. Four plays later the Bull­dogs were in the end zone.

Mon­treyse Deshields gained 15 yards on a run right and Trenton Hil­lard ran up the mid­dle twice to the Colonels’ 15. LaClair then hit Brown in the left cor­ner of the end zone for a 6-0 lead with 8 min­utes, 21 sec­onds on the clock in the first quar­ter.

Af­ter the Colonels punted, North Caroline used five plays to go 63 yards to make it 13-0. On a third-and-2, Hil­lard ran 19 yards up the mid­dle to the Colonel 36. Deshields gained 9 yards and then LaClair hit Brown on a short pass and he beat de­fend­ers to the left py­lon with 4:56 left in the open­ing quar­ter.

Af­ter the Colonels turned the ball over on downs, the Bull­dogs again took five plays to score, this time start­ing from the Colonel 45. Jalen Car­roll gained 18 yards on a sweep right and LaClair hit tight end Dustin Bliz­zard over the mid­dle with a pass to the 12. Two off-tackle runs by Zamir Dennis made it 20-0 with 1:07 still left in the first quar­ter.

Bunce picked off Ze­bron on the Colonels’ next play and Brown scooted up the mid­dle for a 35-yard TD run to com­plete the Bull­dogs’ dom­i­nant first quar­ter.

The Bull­dogs punted for their first and only time on their first pos­ses­sion of the sec­ond quar­ter, but fol­lowed that with five more touch­downs, in­clud­ing a 15-yard TD run from Xavien Parker, called up from ju­nior var­sity this week, that ended the game.

“We did not have a jayvee game this week, so we got to bring up all our sopho­mores,” said McCormick. “We had our jayvee of­fense and de­fense out there in the fourth quar­ter and they scored a touch­down and did great for us. So we’re real proud of them and real happy that they got a chance to ex­pe­ri­ence some var­sity foot­ball as sopho­mores.”

North Caroline led 42-0 at the half, and a run­ning clock moved the game along quickly dur­ing the sec­ond half. The Bull­dogs scored on all three sec­ond-half pos­ses­sions. Ma­son Lam­bert gained 4 yards on a sec­ond-and-3 for the Colonels’ only non-penalty first down, on their last pos­ses­sion.

PHOTO BY CHRIS KNAUSS

North Caroline High’s Kyler Boyd kicks one of his nine PATs against Colonel Richard­son on Fri­day evening at Bull­dogs Sta­dium.

PHOTO BY CHRIS KNAUSS

North Caroline High’s Alex Wal­strum in­ter­cepts a pass dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter against Colonel Richard­son on Fri­day evening at Bull­dogs Sta­dium.

PHOTO BY CHRIS KNAUSS

North Caroline High’s Ethan Dvo­rak (3) gains yardage against Colonel Richard­son on Fri­day evening at Bull­dogs Sta­dium.

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