Fumbles were plentiful for Nation Ford Falcons and Conway Tigers, but it was the Falcons that recovered enough from their mistakes to get the 28-17 win.
The two teams combined for nine fumbles in the game and both teams came into the game at Nation Ford Stadium looking for their first win on the season. The Falcons hoped to overcome the turnover bug that bit them last week in its season opener against Spartanburg. While they didn’t overcome it like they had hoped, they were able to correct things as the game wore on.
“We just had to cut down on the mistakes,” said Nation Ford head coach Michael Allen. “The third quarter showed how explosive we can be.”
After a good kickoff return to open the game, Nation Ford (1-1) fumbled on their first play from scrimmage to give the ball to the Tigers at their own 39-yard line. Conway (0-2) fumbled on their first punt attempt on the drive giving the Falcons the ball at midfield. Nation Ford continued to struggled holding onto the ball as they would turn the ball over on a a punt giving the ball back to the Tigers deep in their own territory.
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Conway would make the most of it scoring on a 30-yard field goal several plays later to take the early lead.
The Falcons’ Nathan Mahaffey put in a ton of work in the early going for Nation Ford getting them down the field by running the ball. His running the ball was about the only positive Nation Ford had in the opening quarter. Conway was able to move the ball on the ground as well as Nation Ford and seemed to eat up the clock in the second quarter by keeping things on the ground.
This kept the defense on the field for an extended period for the Falcons. However, Conway failed to score despite taking half the time in the quarter off the clock.
Nation Ford changed quarterbacks from Carson Carruthers to Wayde Prince in the second quarter allowing the Falcons to move the ball a little better through the air, as Prince completed his first four passes. The Falcons were still forced to punt and struggled to get anything moving.
As much as momentum was in the Tigers’ corner in the first half, the third quarter was all Nation Ford. Nation Ford scored 21 unanswered points in the third quarter with the help of two Prince to Kaleb Starnes touchdowns, but the one thing blew things open for the Falcons was Mahaffey’s two first down runs, the second one didn’t end until he was in the end zone on a 29-yard scramble.
Nation Ford struggled again with turnovers in the early going. On two fourth down punts, bad snaps put Conway near or in the red zone both times. While Nation Ford recovered the snaps both times, the Tigers scored on its ensuing drives to go up 10-0 with the help of a good starting field position.
Prince did well when he came into the game for Nation Ford in throwing the ball. He passed for 164 yards completing 13 of 19 attempts. McCullum was his main target catching four passes for 48 yards. Mahaffey rushed the ball 22 times for 103 yards for the Falcons.
Things won’t get any easier for Nation Ford as they will travel to South Pointe next week to face the Stallions who lost to Rock Hill Friday night.
Nation Ford 28, Conway 17
Nation Ford 0;0;21;7;-28
C - Will Smith 30-yard field goal, 5:34
C - Xavier Kinlaw five-yard run (Smith kick), 32.1
NF - Kaleb Starnes 7 pass from Kaleb Starnes (Quinn Castner kick), 7:19
NF - Starnes 47 pass from Prince (Castner kick), 5:12
NF - Nathan Mahaffey 29 run (Castner kick), 4:29
C - Tate Finklea 4 run (Smith kick), 7:48
NF - Mahaffey 25 pass from Prince (Castner kick), 3:56.
First downs 17;15
Passing yards 149;185
Fumbles/lost 3-3; 6-1
RUSHING Conway: Daquinton Grady 12-84, Xavier Kinlaw 4-5, Tate Finklea 6-34, Jamarrian Legette 8-9, Justin Sherman 2-(-5), Quancey Bennett 1-(-1). Nation Ford: Nathan Mahaffey 22-103, Carson Carruthers 3-(-21), Dewuan McCullum 2-(-7), Jason Pugh 2-3, Harrison Cohen 1-7, Seth Richardson 2-(-60).
PASSING Conway: Daquinton Grady 11-27-1 149. Nation Ford: Carson Carruthers 3-6-0 21, Wayde Prince 13-19-0 164.
RECEIVING Conway: Quincey Bennett 4-29, Keimone Graham 3-42, Tate Finklea 1-1, Xavier Kinlaw 3-77. Nation Ford: Dewuan McCullum 4-48, Kaleb Starnes 3-59, Nathan Mahaffey 2-32, Harrison Cohen 4-29, Nathan Lovette 3-17.
RECORDS Conway 0-2; Nation Ford 1-1.