Goliath came to town Friday night, but David brought a deep pouch full of stones.
South Pointe (David) unleashed one and hit Mallard Creek (Goliath) right between the eyes with a 17-6 victory. The Stallions took advantage of the visitors’ inability to avoid costly and ill-timed penalties to get a memorable win over the Tar Heel state’s top-ranked team.
“I told my d-line, I said ‘we’ve got to believe in ourselves,’” said junior defensive end Eli Adams. “Let’s don’t play down to these guys. Let’s go play our game, South Pointe football.”
With numerous college coaches looking on, including N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren and assistant coaches from Clemson and South Carolina, respectively, two teams loaded with college prospects clashed for border bragging rights. Much of the pregame discussion centered on nationally-ranked Mallard Creek’s evident size advantage, but the Mavericks’ 16 penalties for 163 yards undercut that. South Pointe (4-1) wasn’t much better with 13 for 113 yards, but the hosts’ flags flew at less injurious times of the game.
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“We work on technique and we do things the right way and it shows but when you make mistakes, like the touchdown, we scored that touchdown, one of our wide receivers for no reason steps up on the line of scrimmage and now we’re in an illegal formation,” said South Pointe coach Strait Herron. “That can’t happen.”
When Mallard Creek (3-1) wasn’t drawing flags for nearly every infraction in the book, it was struggling to hold on to the ball. QB Chauncey Caldwell was picked off three times, while the Mavericks also lost two fumbles.
A 3-yard Derion Kendrick touchdown run and 44-yard B.T. Potter field goal gave South Pointe a 10-0 lead after a first half in which the hosts harassed the visitors defensively.
Mallard Creek cut the lead to 10-6 with a 10-yard fourth quarter touchdown jaunt from Naszjae Bryant with 8 minutes, 9 seconds left in the game, but South Pointe answered within two minutes, Kendrick launching a 56-yard scoring pass to J.P. Pendergrass. The David-like hosts held on from there for a win that won’t soon be forgotten in Stallion Country.
“You don’t have a chance to win if you ask anybody around the state,” Herron said about the lead-up to the game. “South Pointe’s been in that situation before.”
Pendergrass’ touchdown quelled what felt like surging Mallard Creek momentum. It was third-and five at the Stallions’ 25 when Kendrick extended a play on the South Pointe sideline, squaring his hips and loosing a rocket to Pendergrass. He had peeled off his defender, who missed the ball, leaving it for the Stallions receiver to race away for the score.
Two things swung this game in South Pointe’s favor (besides penalties): the Stallions’ considerable and consistent pass rush, led by Adams, and B.T. Potter’s kicking.
The Stallions rendered the size disparity basically a non-issue, using quickness to knife into the Mavericks’ backfield with surprising regularity.
It was a tough night offensively for South Pointe, but the offensive unit didn't turn the ball over once. Potter’s towering punts and missile-like kickoffs for touchbacks ensured that the visitors didn’t enjoy favorable field position very often Friday night. The junior is fast becoming a real weapon for Strait Herron’s defending state champs.
South Pointe’s defensive effort began up front with Adams, who made at least three tackles-for-loss and a strip sack that forced a fumble in a dominant performance. Senior Ken’darius Fredrick has been in the right place at numerous right times for the Stallions so far, and he was again Friday, picking off two passes. The second was a nifty grab after Jaylen Mahoney deflected a deep ball into the air.
Voshon St. Hill had a quiet night running the ball - Mallard Creek stifled South Pointe’s rushing attack to the tune of negative-10 yards - but the senior running back made four catches for 64 yards, including two that extended drives. Pendergrass had three catches for 60 yards and a touchdown and was unlucky to have another - a 79-yarder - waved off for illegal man downfield.
Kendrick - one of the likely subjects of the watching college coaches - ran in a touchdown, threw for one and also stepped in at defensive back and intercepted a pass late to help clinch the win.
South Pointe catches its breath after a tough non-region. The Stallions have a bye before opening Region 3-4A play the following week against Ridge View. Mallard Creek hosts West Charlotte.
SPHS – Derion Kendrick 3 run (B.T. Potter kick), 3:55
SPHS – B.T. Potter 44-yard field goal, 1:32
MCHS - Nazjae Bryant 10 run (kick failed), 8:09
SPHS - J.P. Pendergrass 56 pass from Kendrick (Potter kick), 6:17
Week Four area games
Lewisville 22, Eau Claire 12
Northwestern 35, Spartanburg 31
Dorman 27, Rock Hill 24
South Pointe 17, Mallard Creek (N.C.) 6
Franklin Christian at Clover
York 49, Fort Mill 39
Nation Ford 35, Lancaster 14
Chester 54, Lower Richland 18
Indian Land at Chesterfield