FORT MILL -- The air chilled and the skies parted Friday night at Bob Jones Stadium. Beautiful girls were clad in beautiful dresses, and the smell of fresh-cut grass was in the air.
It was Homecoming for Nation Ford, and with a quick spin by Mt. Zion's Larry Howell, the Falcons' Homecoming was ruined, 30-29.
With Falcons workhorse Tony Hall nursing an injury (he still had 27 carries and two touchdowns), Nation Ford relied heavily on the legs of Justen "Sunshine" Lane and the arm of quarterback Mitchell Starnes.
Sadly, the defense couldn't stop Mt. Zion's TyVegas Goode, who rushed for more than 180 yards and scored all of the Bulldogs' touchdowns.
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It looked as though the Falcons would pull of the big win for the Homecoming crowd late in the fourth quarter. With the game tied at 22 and Nation Ford's Hall on the sideline, Lane and Starnes marched the Falcons down the field. Lane scampered in on a 9-yard run for the 29-22 lead.
The Bulldogs fought back. With a short field, Mt. Zion worked its way down to the 29-yard line. When the Falcons flushed Howell out of the pocket, he tossed it to Goode, who scored for 29-28 lead.
With 40 ticks on the clock, Mt. Zion coach Jason Thomas decided to go for it, and with a spinning move to the middle, Howell ended the Falcons' hopes of a win.
The Falcons weren't without their chances, though. Two punt returns for touchdowns were called back due to penalties, and they lost a fumble inside their 5-yard line.
"We were hoping to finish up these last two games with wins, and we felt like we could," Nation Ford coach Rusty Jester said. "They're brokenhearted, but it's a learning process, and it's competitive and they're learning."
MT. ZION (N.C.) 30, NATION FORD 29
NF — Tony Hall 20 run (Mitchell Starnes run)
NF — Starnes 40 pass to Dee Truesdale (Trevor Witcher kick)
MZ — TyVegas Goode 80 run (run failed)
NF — Hall 29 run (Witcher kick)
MZ — Goode 6 run (Larry Howell run)
MZ — Goode 75 run (Howell run)
NF — Justen Lane 9 run (Witcher kick)
MZ — Howell 27 pass to Goode (Howell run)
RUSHING — Mt. Zion: Gevin Allison 3-(-1), Howell 10-27, Javison Burris 2-8, TyVegas Goode 9-186. Nation Ford: Hall 21-56, Starnes 10-59, Austin Therrell 1-1, Lane 14-100, Rob Munday 2-2, Steven Cox 1-0.
PASSING — Mt. Zion: Larry Howell 6-13-95-0. Nation Ford: Mitchell Starnes 8-15-159-3
RECEIVING — Mt. Zion: Allison 4-50, Dee Bell 1-18, Goode 1-27. Nation Ford: Munday 1-18, Truesdale 4-84, Isaiah McCrorey 1-7, Daniel Couchenour 1-21, Will Ford 1-29.
RECORDS — Mt. Zion 6-4; Nation Ford 4-6