Quarterback Deonte Black put on a clinic in the first quarter of Friday night's Class 4A Western Quarterfinal state playoff game between Mooresville High and Watauga. The senior, who racked up 218 yards offensively, backboned a 28-first quarter explosion as the Blue Devils (11-2) blasted WHS 38-7 at Coach Joe Popp Stadium in Mooresville.
The loss eliminated WHS (7-6) from the state playoffs. The Blue Devils will now host Sun Valley in the Western Semifinals next Friday night. Sun Valley defeated Hopewell, 35-28.
"It took us at least the first quarter to adjust to their speed," said senior defensive lineman David Martin. "Once they got outside, we couldn't run them down. They're the best team, and the fastest team we've seen all year."
And Black did the bulk of the damage. He ran for two touchdowns and threw for two more as the Blue Devils errupted for 28 points in just 11 plays. And like a streak of lightning, it all happened in just 3 minutes and 33 seconds of possession time.
"(Black) was real quick," said WHS senior Cody McKinney. "We had to make adjustments, but they were on such a role, the game was so fast paced that we couldn't find our comfort zone. If they had an open space, they were gone."
Mooresville, which ended West Rowan's 46-game winning streak in its season opener (on August 19), won the toss, elected to receive and scored 48 seconds later. Black capped off the two-play, 65-yard drive as he broke free on a 60-yard run for a 7-0 lead. He scored on a 14-yard run on Mooresville second possession, and with 6:38 left in the first quarter, the Blue Devils were on their way with a 14-point advantage
"Black is an outstanding player, and they had a good game plan," said WHS coach Tim Pruitt. "They did some things we hadn't seen, and you've got to tip your hat to them. It's hard to emulate that speed in practice. You've just got to be in the right place to make the plays."
A 35-yard punt return by B.J. Stockton gave the Blue Devils a short field on their third possession of the game. And despite a block in the back penalty, the Blue Devils scored on the very first play of the drive as Black fired a pass inside the five that was actually under thrown. But Shawn Lester of the Blue Devils deflected the ball to Justin Jones, who was standing in the end zone for a 26-yard completion and a 21-0 lead. That scoring drive took all of 14 seconds.
Mooresville closed out its first-quarter barrage following a Brandon Jones interception. He scored on the play, but it was called back because of a penalty. It didn't matter, though, as Black found Lester in the end zone on a 24-yard toss two plays later for a 28-0 lead.
Sam Joffe booted a 45-yard field goal in the second quarter that made 31-0 at halftime; and Brandon Jones closed out the scoring as he returned his second interception of the game 53-yards for a touchdown in the third quarter that made it 38-0. The Pioneers avoided the shutout as Kyle Chambers scored on a 12-yard run with 8:40 left in the game.
Quarterback Ethan Greene, who was playing on a badly sprained ankle, was sacked four times and he threw five interceptions.
"Their front line was very fast," Greene said. "It looked like they were on top of me all the time. They're an excellent team. Their speed was outstanding. We didn't see a team that fast all year. It's sad that the season ended like this. But I'm proud of our senior class. We produced a winning record and we won a playoff game."
And it was quite a year for a team that no one thought would be very good. But the Pioneers, who only won three games last season, silenced their critics, thanks to a determined senior class.
"This team has been like a family to me the last four years," Greene said. "I'm really going to miss these guys."
"I won't know what to do Monday afternoon when school lets out," McKinney said. "I might go down to the locker room and take the stickers off my helmet. I love football and I'm really going to miss it.
"This was such a special year. We accomplished a lot. Coach Pruitt took us to a christian camp this summer. We worked hard there, and we really bonded as a team. Some of our players even got saved. It's was a special camp, and we had a great season."
NOTES: The Pioneers produced their first winning season since 2007.....WHS also lost its first Western Quarterfinal game in five tries, dating back to 1977.....Tim Pruitt is 1-3 with the Pioneers in post-season play......He's also 21-27 with the Pioneers during his four-year stay.
MOORESVILLE 38, WHS 7
1 2 3 4 T
WATAUGA 0 0 0 7 - 7
MOORESVILLE 28 3 7 0 - 38
11:12 MHS - BLACK 60-YARD RUN, (JOFFE'S KICK), 2-65, 0:48, 7-0
6:38 MHS - BLACK 14 YARD RUN, (JOFFE'S KICK). 6-63, 1:45, 14-0
4:05 MHS - BLACK 26-YARD PASS TO J. JONES, (JOFFE'S KICK) 1-26, 0:14, 21-0
1:36 MHS - BLACK 24-YARD PASS TO LESTER, (JOFFE'S KICK), 2-24, 0:46, 28-0
3:27 MHS - JOFFE 45-YARD FIELD GOAL, 10-50, 3:57, 31-0
10:18 MHS - B. JONES 53-YARD INTERCEPTION RETURN, (JOFFE'S KICK) 38-0
8:40 WHS - CHAMBERS 12-YARD RUN, (PARSON'S KICK), 2-28, 0:31, 38-7
FIRST DOWNS: WHS 13, MHS 16
TOTAL YARDS: WHS 197, MHS 333
RUSHING YARDS: WHS 82, MHS 269
PASSING YARDS: WHS 115, MHS 64
TURNOVERS: WHS 5, MHS 0
PENALTY YARDS: WHS 1-5, MHS 8-41
POSSESSION TIME: WHS 26:46, MHS 21:14
3RD DOWN CONVERSIONS: WHS 4-15, MHS 2-9
4TH DOWN CONVERSIONS: WHS 2-3, MHS 1-1
WHS: CHAMBERS 17-42-TD
MHS: BLACK 10-154-TD, JOHNSON 11-64
WHS: GREENE 6-20-115-5INT
MHS: BLACK 4-9-64-2TD
WHS: POULOS 3-66
MHS: LESTER 1-24-TD, J.JONES 1-26-TD
FRIDAY NIGHT'S GAMES
CLASS 4A: MOORESVILLE 38, WATAUGA 7
CLASS 4AA: MYERS PARK 47, SOUTH CALDWELL 27
CLASS 3A: LAWNDALE BURNS 44, HICKORY 14