Burns defense makes big plays to doom Hickory

KINGS MOUNTAIN - The Burns High offense made the most of the opportunities their defense gave them in the first half Friday night, in dealing the Hickory High Red Tornadoes a second round NCHSAA 3A playoff defeat for the second time in as many years.
Just three plays into the contest, Bulldog senior DB Travon Hunt stepped in front of a throw from Hickory QB Matt Williams and returned it to the 35 yard line. Just over two minutes later, junior RB Tylan Ruff gave Burns the early 7-0 lead with a powerful two yard push through the middle of the Red Tornado defensive line.
Hickory came right back though, however a drive deep into Burns territory was brought an end when Damerrian Petty scooped up a Red Tornado fumble and rumbled 80 yards for a score and a 14-0 Bulldog lead just halfway through the first quarter.
The Red Tornado offense was able to capitalize on their next drive though, as Williams found Daniel Davis down field for a 40 yard scoring connection. Qunitel Houser made sure Hickory only got six points, blocking the extra point attempt.
Blocked kick attempts were the theme of the second quarter, as Bulldog Jalin King blocked two Red Tornado field goal attempts to hold Burns' eight point advantage intact.
Midway through the second period, the Bulldogs were faced with a crucial fourth-and-four decision from the Red Tornado 40 yard line. After a timeout, QB Chris Montgomery decided to keep the football on an option-read, and found open space for a key 40 yard, six-point run. After Cody Dorsey's extra point, Burns lead 21-6.
After the second of the aforementioned King blocked field goals, the Burns offense found themselves with the ball and less than three minutes remaining in the first half. Montgomery marched the Bulldogs down field, scoring a back-breaking touchdown with a nine yard scramble to pay dirt with less than a minute left on the first half clock. The score gave Burns a overwhelming 28-6 halftime advantage.
The second half was a story of strong defensive play from both Burns and Hickory, with the only score (Hickory) coming with just 1:32 left to play. After a failed Red Tornado onside kick attempt, the Bulldogs were able to take four knees to run out the remaining time, and advance to the third round of the NCHSAA 3A playoffs for the second straight year.
The win gives Burns (10-3) their third consecutive 10 win season, and third consecutive year with at least a nine game win streak, both of which are firsts in Burns history.
Burns will host SMAC rival Freedom (11-2) next week at a site yet to be determined. The Bulldogs defeated Freedom 31-21 in week six of the 2012 season.