Vance ral­lies, beats My­ers Park for 4AA West ti­tle

The Charlotte Observer - - Front Page - BY STEVE LYTTLE

Vance spot­ted My­ers Park an early lead, then shut down the ex­plo­sive Mus­tangs at­tack Fri­day night and scored a 21-13 vic­tory in the 4AA West­ern Re­gional fi­nal at Mallard Creek High.

The Cougars’ re­ward is a meet­ing with de­fend­ing state cham­pion Wake For­est in the ti­tle game next Satur­day in Durham.

The Mus­tangs dom­i­nated the first 14 min­utes of the game, but Vance’s de­fense sti­fled My­ers Park’s pass­ing at­tack. The Cougars broke up nearly all of the Mus­tangs’ trade­mark long pass plays and shut down the My­ers Park run­ning game.

Mean­while, Vance’s of­fense slowly got into gear, eat­ing up chunks of the clock in the sec­ond half with a pun­ish­ing ground game.

The Cougars gashed My­ers Park with 227 rush­ing yards, with two run­ning backs gain­ing at least 100 yards.

The Mus­tangs took a 7- 0 lead late in the first quar­ter, with quar­ter­back Drake Maye scram­bling 8 yards for a touch­down. Maye com­pleted long passes to An­dre Fran­cois and Eli­jah Bow­ick on that drive.

My­ers Park scored on its next drive, go­ing 63 yards – the fi­nal 9 on a pass from Maye to Muhsin Muham­mad. That made it

13- 0, and the Mus­tangs seemed in control.

From that point on, Vance’s de­fense held My­ers Park to 74 yards of­fense, and 44 of that came on a long pass in the fourth quar­ter.

Vance be­gan the come­back mid­way in the sec­ond quar­ter, driv­ing 61 yards and scor­ing on a 1-yard run by An­dre White Jr. Vance’s Jor­dan Harris picked off a Maye pass on My­ers Park’s next se­ries, and the Cougars drove 68 yards for the go-ahead score.

It came on a 5-yard run by White with 59 sec­onds left in the half.

The Cougars got their fi­nal score mid­way in the third quar­ter, on a 30-yard run by Joseph Morris.

My­ers Park drove into Vance ter­ri­tory in the closing minute of the game, but Cougar de­fen­sive back Ste­fon Thomp­son broke up a fourth­down pass to Muham­mad, and Vance ran out the clock.

Records: Vance is 13-1; My­ers Park is 12-2.

3 WHO MAT­TERED An­dre White Jr., Vance:

The Cougars’ se­nior run­ning back car­ried 19 times for 100 yards and scored two touch­downs. Nigel Sum­merville, Vance: Sum­merville, Vance’s se­nior quar­ter­side back, di­rected an er­ror­less and ef­fi­cient at­tack. He com­pleted 9-of-14 passes for 94 yards, with no in­ter­cep­tions. Roe Chit­wood, My­ers Park: Chit­wood, a junior line­backer, seemed to be in­volved in nearly ev­ery tackle for the Mus­tangs. He had two tack­les for losses.

WORTH MEN­TION­ING

Vance lost its sched­uled home play­off game when the Char­lotte-Meck­len­burg Schools moved the game to Mallard Creek, say­ing Vance’s field was not playable. Vance fans kept the home­field edge, pack­ing their of the Mallard Creek sta­dium.

The Cougar de­fense made it a mis­er­able night for Maye. He com­pleted 12 of 33 passes for 200 yards. He was in­ter­cepted once, sacked four times, and fum­bled the ball away on one sack.

Next week’s state ti­tle game will mark the sec­ond straight year that Wake For­est faces an I-Meck 4A team for the cham­pi­onship. Mallard Creek rep­re­sented the West Re­gion last sea­son.

Vance lost in the West­ern Re­gional fi­nals last year – but in 4A, not 4AA. The Cougars fell to Hard­ing, which won the state cham­pi­onship a week later.

WHAT’S NEXT?

My­ers Park’s sea­son has ended. Vance plays Wake For­est next Satur­day in Durham for the 4AA state cham­pi­onship.

MP – Drake Maye 8 run (Matthew Den­nis kick)

MP – Muhsin Muham­mad 9 pass from Maye (kick blocked)

V – An­dre White Jr. 1 run (James Pala­cios kick)

V – White 5 run (Pala­cios kick)

V – Joseph Morris 30 run (Pala­cios kick)

JONATHAN AGUALLO Spe­cial to the Observer

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