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October 26, 2013MOUNT ULLA - Battling the flu, frigid conditions, and a tenacious run defense, the Concord Spiders found a way to win Friday night. Trailing 7-6 going after three quarters, Concord (9-0) outscored West Rowan (5-4) 18-6 in the fourth quarter to take a 24-13 victory and clinch at least a share of the South Piedmont Conference title.
West Rowan thought the night was going their way on Concord's first possession, forcing the Spiders to punt after losing thirty yards on three plays. West Rowan fumbled away the ball a few plays later, but Concord was unable to take advantage of the turnover, punting it back to West Rowan.
But, the turnover bug bit the Falcons again, with Concord's Davionne Eddie picking off the West Rowan quarterback, giving the Spiders great field position. Quarterback Keenan Black hit Jerry Burk for a fifteen yard touchdown, the only score of the first half. "Keenan kept his composure tonight," Concord coach Glen Padgett said about his sophomore quarterback, "and he made some big plays."
The second quarter was filled with big defensive plays for both teams. On multiple occasions during the second quarter, each team failed to convert on fourth down, turning the ball over on downs. Both teams had ample opportunities to score, but the half ended with the visiting Spiders leading 6-0.
West Rowan was finally able to gain momentum and flip field position when junior quarterback Harrison Baucom made a big run to get the Falcons into Concord territory midway through the third quarter. While the Falcons were unable to score on the drive, their punt pinned the Spiders deep in their own territory and the West Rowan defense did the rest, forcing the Spiders to punt from their own end zone.
The Falcons offense took over at the Concord 26 after the punt return and quickly moved towards the end zone. After hitting a receiver at the one yard line, Baucom found the end zone on a quarterback keeper, giving the Falcons a 7-6 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Concord, unbeaten on the season, would not be denied in the fourth quarter, though. Facing a fourth and long, Black scrambled and found an open Cody Murdock who raced to the two yard line. "We were supposed to have a motion on that play and we forgot about the motion and snapped the ball," Concord coach Padgett mentioned after the game. "But this game is a game of players, and our players made plays." Junior running back Rocky Reid scored on the next play to retake the lead for the Spiders, 12-7.
The ensuing pooch kickoff was recovered by the Spiders and seemed to be a turning point for the game, according to West Rowan coach Scott Young. "It really sealed the deal for them it was a back and forth game until that point," Young commented. Another big pass from Black to Murdock had the Spiders back in the red zone, and Reid hit pay dirt once again, this time from fifteen yards out.
West Rowan would not relent, though, as Baucom hit Devin Parks for a thirty-one yard touchdown with two and a half minutes left in the game. The two point conversion attempt failed and the score was 18-13 in favor of Concord.
Concord recovered the onside kick attempt and set out to run the ball and take as much time off the clock as possible. Facing a fourth and one from their own forty-three yard line, Concord coach Padgett opted to go for it instead of punting it back to the Falcons. "It was a gut feeling, but our kids have found a way to get it done all year," Padgett said. It was a decision that paid off for the Spiders as Reid, who finished with 140 yards on the night, busted through the line and raced fifty-seven yards for his third score of the night. "We honestly didn't think they would go for it right there," Falcon coach Scott Young said. "We sold the house on that one...if he got past the line, there'd be no catching him. We threw everything at them, including the kitchen sink, and he punctured us."
With the win, the Spiders secured the top playoff seed and at least a share of the South Piedmont Conference title. "We've got the number one seed, but we've got to get ready for Northwest," Padgett said after the game. "We'll celebrate tonight, but we've still got work to do to get ready for a good Northwest team." Padgett was quick to admit that this was not an easy win. "They had the best run defense we've seen all season it was a battle. This is a tough place to play there's a reason no North Carolina team has beaten them at home since 2007."
West Rowan coach Scott Young commended his team's effort. "Our kids have grown, our defense has grown," Young said. "We've faced two of the top statistical running backs in the state in Purvis from Central Cabarrus and Reid tonight, and we've shut them both down, for the most part I'm proud of our effort tonight."
Both teams play at home next week as Concord hosts Northwest Cabarrus with a chance to clinch the South Piedmont Conference title while West Rowan, who is tied with three other teams for third place, hosts Cox Mill.
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