Like a powerful army, the South Caldwell High football team marched its way up-and-down the field Friday night. In turn, the Spartans (9-0 overall; 5-0 Northwestern 3A/4A Conference) blasted Watauga 55-15 on Homecoming night at
Jack Groce Stadium in a NW3A/4A Conference game. The win also give South Caldwell sole possession of first place in the NW3A/4A Conference standings. The Spartans host Alexander Central (5-4; 4-0) in the league title game next Friday night in Sawmills. The Cougars lost 37-27 to Statesville in a non-conference game Friday night.
The Spartans also picked up their first win in Boone since 2008, and they defeated the Pioneers (4-4; 1-3) for the third consecutive time and for the fourth time in their last five meetings. Making matters worse, the Pioneers, who are battling the injury bug, suffered their fourth loss in a row---their longest losing streak since 2008 (WHS dropped five straight to finish the season that year). And the Spartans did all of their damage in methodical fashion.
They showed off their impressive running game (by far, the best in this region) by racking up 607 yards on the ground. They also used ten different running backs in the game. And they had nearly 700 yards of offense (663 to be exact) as they scored three times in opening stanza for a commanding 21-0 lead. A pair of turnovers hurt WHS during that stretch.
Back-to-back fumbles, handed South Caldwell a short field and the Spartans capitalized. A fumble by quarterback Jay Harrill gave South a first down at the WHS 21-yard-line. The Spartans punched it in three plays later on Zac Pollard's 18-yard run for a 7-0 lead. And a fumble on the ensuing kick-off by Quaeleb Monfison gave the Spartans a first down at the WHS 28. Josh Reuscher of the Spartans came up with the loose ball.
And the Spartans scored on the very next play on a 28-yard scamper by Pollard for his second touchdown of the game. Two touchdowns in 15 seconds; a 14-0 South Caldwell lead, and the rout was on. It was 35-0 at halftime.
"We came in ready to play," said WHS senior Nick Williams. "We had a lot of confidence against these guys. But those two fumbles really took it out of us mentally. We lost our momentum."
Pollard basically made a cameo. He only touched the ball ten times, but he gained 152 yards and scored three TDs. He also broke the 2,000-yard barrier for the season.
"He's the real deal, no doubt about it," said WHS coach Tom Wright. "We came in with a defensive scheme that we felt could be successful against him. But the guy is so fast. He's faster in person than on film. He sees the field so well, and his offensive line is so strong. They pushed us all over the field."
Tyler Barber of the Spartans rambled for 138 yards on 14 carries; Jake Maris had 79 yards on eight carries. The Spartans had 32 first downs, 29 on the ground. They were also 7-8 on third-down conversions.
Williams scored both of WHS' TDs. He scored on a four-yard run in the third quarter, breaking up South Caldwell's shutout bid, and he rambled in on a 60-yard run in the fourth quarter with 9:46 left in the game. And the freshman Aaron Dobbs played most of the second half. His big highlight, he hooked up wth Cameron Baker, who missed the last two games with a thumb injury, on a 45-yard toss in the third quarter that gave WHS a first down at the South Caldwell 25. The Pioneers punched it in from there eight plays later for their first TD of the game.
Dobblins was 2-8 for 50 yards. Harrill, who made his second varsity start, suffered bruised ribs. He was injuried in the first half. Harrill was 5-9 for 38 yards with an interception. Williams paced WHS with 61 rushing yards; Baker had three catches for 55 yards; Sub Steury had three catches for 28 yards. The Pioneers only had 172 yards offensively, including 84 on the ground (their fourth consecutive game with less than 100 yards rushing).
"I thought Aaron did a good job filling in," Wright said. "He's young and he still has a lot to learn. But that was a nice pass to Cameron. It was a go route, and the coaching staff and I felt he could beat the guy (Nick Matthews) covering him."
"They did a great job running the ball," said WHS senior DeWayne Mackey. "Their coach (Butch Carter) has them in the weight room. I remember when (South Caldwell) weren't very good, but they've got it going now. They're a very good team. But we still have time to turn this around. We just have to keep working and put this behind us."
The Pioneers travel to Hibriten next Friday night. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on Oldies 100.7 FM.
NOTES: South Caldwell leads the all-time series 21-15....The Spartans are 4-4 against the Pioneers on the road since 1998....This was the most lopsided game in this series since a 44-0 win by the Pioneers at the old Jack Groce Stadium on Homecoming in 2002. The Spartans beat WHS 40-6 in Sawmills 40-6 in 2001. That was also Butch Carter's rookie year as coach at South Caldwell....The 663 yards given up by WHS Friday night was the most yardage given up by the Pioneers in a single game since a 55-0 loss against A.C. Reynolds in 2001....Pollard now has 2.063 rushing yards this season. ...The Spartans, who won their first conference championship last fall in 18 years (1994), can seal up the league title with a win against Alexander Central at home next Friday night. The Spartans have never had back-to-back conference championships in football.
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Total
South Caldwell 21 14 7 13 - 55
Watauga 0 0 7 8 - 15
06:53 SCHS - Zac Pollard 18 yd run (Nick Mathews kick), 3-21 1:33
06:38 SCHS - Zac Pollard 28 yd run (Nick Mathews kick), 1-28 0:09
00:51 SCHS - Gage Parham 7 yd pass from Trevar Soles (Nick Mathews kick), 7-67 3:34
10:05 SCHS - Zac Pollard 42 yd run (Nick Mathews kick), 2-61 1:07
06:33 SCHS - Clay Welker 3 yd run (Nick Mathews kick), 8-55 2:57 3
04:37 WHS - Nick Williams 4 yd run (Alex Parsons kick), 9-60 3:08
01:23 SCHS - Clay Welker 3 yd run (Nick Mathews kick), 7-80 3:14
10:06 SCHS - Jake Maris 10 yd run (Nick Mathews kick failed), 7-65 2:42
09:45 WHS - Nick Williams 60 yd run (DeWayne Mackey rush), 1-60 0:15
01:33 SCHS - Peter Lamber 3 yd run (Nick Mathews kick), 13-88 8:02
FIRST DOWN: SC 32, WHS 8
RUSHING YARDS: SC 607, WHS 84
PASSING YARDS: 56, WHS 88
TOTAL YARDS: SC 663, WHS 172
FUMBLES: NUMBER-LOST: SC 2-2, WHS 4-2
TURNOVERS: SC 2, WHS 3
PENALTY YARDS: SC 9-63, WHS 4-43
TIME OF POSSESSIONS: SC 32:17, WHS 15:43
3RD DOWN CONVERSIONS: SC 7-8, WHS 2-9
4TH DOWN CONVERSIONS: SC 0-0, WHS 0-1
SC: POLLARD 10-152-3TD, BARBER 14-138, MARIS 8-79
WHS: WILLIAMS 3-61-2TD, POULOS 10-53
SC: SOLES 3-6-TD-56
WHS: HARRILL 5-9-INT-38, DOBBINS 2-8-50
SC: PARHAM 2-33
WHS: BAKER 3-55, STEURY 3-28
FRIDAY NIGHT'S GAMES
SOUTH CALDWELL 55, WATAUGA 15
ST. STEPHENS 35, FRED T. FOARD 13
STATESVILLE 37, ALEXANDER CENTRAL 27
HICKORY 21, HIBRITEN 13
WILKES CENTRAL 47, ASHE COUNTY 14
MADISON 33, AVERY 9
NORTHWESTERN 3A/4A CONFERENCE
SOUTH CALDWELL 5-0; 9-0
ALEXANDER CENTRAL 4-0; 5-4
HIBRITEN 2-2; 5-4
HICKORY 2-2; 5-4
WATAUGA 1-3; 4-5
ST. STEPHENS 1-3; 2-7
FRED T. FOARD 0-5; 2-7