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August 24, 2013KANNAPOLIS - The stands were full more than thirty minutes before kickoff with more fans still waiting to enter the stadium. It was the biggest game of the year for Concord and A.L. Brown, and the first time since 1931 that it was played to open the season. By the time it was over, Concord, with a score of 33-20, had recorded its first back-to-back win over Brown since the mid-1980s.
Concord won the toss to open the game and elected to receive. Neither offense was able to gain much traction during the first few series. By Concord's second possession, the Spiders were able to make it inside the Brown 20, but a missed field goal ended the drive.
Brown, seeing an opportunity to seize momentum, drove down the field, aided by big passes to Johnny Delahoussaey and Rodney Edmonds. Halfback Casey Walker got the Wonders on the scoreboard first with a five-yard touchdown run.
Concord was quick to respond, with Rocky Reid running for a 57 yard touchdown, the first of three long touchdown runs he had for the game, tying the game at 7.
The first quarter fireworks were nowhere near over, as Brown's Daveon Perry took the ensuing kickoff at the 3 yard line and ran it back 87 yards to the Concord 10. Two plays later, R.J. Fowler found the goal line, giving the Wonders a 14-7 lead.
Not wanting to be outdone, Spider sophomore Carter Mozingo responded to Brown's long kickoff return with his own, a dash down the sideline for a 77 yard score. The PAT was no good, and Concord trailed Brown 14-13 at the end of the first quarter.
After Brown was stopped on fourth down inside the red zone, Concord running back Rocky Reid broke off his longest run of the night, an 82 yard touchdown run halfway through the second quarter. The two-point conversion was no good, but at 19-14 the Spiders had taken the lead for good.
Concord got one more score before the half ended, an 81 yard touchdown pass to Myles Neils. "Honestly, it was a fluke," Concord coach Scott Padgett spoke about the play after the game. "We were misaligned personnel wise and luckily enough, we were smart enough and had some kids make a big play." At the half, Concord led Brown 25-14.
The third quarter was one of lost opportunities for Brown, who controlled field position for most of the period. Twice, the Wonders' drives ended with lost fumbles inside the Concord 10. A botched snap on a punt gave Brown another chance deep in Concord territory. R.J. Fowler scored on the next play, and Brown pulled within five going into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter began with each team trading possessions and punts, but the tide turned permanently in favor of the Spiders when Qua Grisson intercepted a pass at the Concord 23 yard line. Rocky Reid took advantage of the interception, rattling off another long touchdown run, this time a 48 yard run for the final score of the game. Reid, a junior, finished up with 232 yards and three touchdowns for the night. "It's all my line couldn't do anything without them," Reid commented later.
Qua Grisson was the defensive star for the Spiders, recovering both of Brown' fumbles in the third quarter and picking off Brown quarterback Andrew Ramirez twice in the fourth quarter. Grisson's second interception, with a minute and a half left, sealed the game and the Spiders went home with the victory bell for the second straight year. "I was just doing what my coaches told me to do" Grisson said after the game.
Concord coach Glenn Padgett was very proud of his team after the game. "It was a great win against a great program in a great rivalry." Asked about playing this game at the beginning of the year, "it felt a little weird warming up in the daylight, but once it got started the rivalry is just as intense, the game is just as intense." On his team's execution tonight versus preseason practices, "you don't really know how it's going to translate during the game, especially with inexperience we had some players step up tonight.'
Mike Newsome wanted his players to take away some lessons from the game. "Negative things happen in life, you've got to learn there's another day to fight back and win another battle the kids want to win, you can live for the next week." On his team's play, Newsome commented, "I don't care who you are, you can't give up big plays they made big plays when they had to. I'm proud of our kids, the way they played."
With the win, Concord has a 41-38-4 lead in the series. Both teams will face county rivals next week, as Concord travels to take on Mount Pleasant and A.L. Brown faces South Rowan.
North Carolina NEWS