WALLACE – Wallace-Rose Hill football coach Kevin Motsinger said his team did not play anywhere near its peak potential last Friday night against Northside-Pinetown.
That’s more than a little scary for future opponents, since the Bulldogs ripped the Panthers 49-7 at Jack Holley Field.
“I felt like we were rusty and not crisp,” Motsinger said. “We were minus players and not sharp because of our lack of depth, much like we were when we played East Bladen (a 49-6 win in Elizabethtown on Aug. 23). “It wasn’t a focus thing we were just not mentally sharp.”
Antwon Montgomery was the workhorse, running the ball 16 times for 185 yards and the first two touchdowns to make it 14-0.
The opening drive was all about Montgomery, but Kayne Roberts set it up with a 33-yard kickoff return.
Montgomery dashed 45 yards on the first snap but got tripped up at the 3. He took it home on the next play.
A defensive play by Josh Love and a fumble forced a Northside punt three plays later.
WRH then went 80 yards in eight plays with Montgomery scoring from the 16. Roberts had runs of 8, 10 and 25 yards, which took it into the red zone.
QB Xzavier Pearsall’s naked bootleg on fourth-and-4 got 17 yards and let Northside know he was a weapon, too.
Northside, which returned a flock of players that helped the Panthers advance to the 1A state final in the spring, responded, as Marcus Clayton ran 60 yards on the next snap to make it 14-7.
The Panthers (1-1) were unable to put much of anything together from that point forward, with WRH’s defense limiting them to 157 yards rushing and 44 through the air.
It was a confidence boost that was needed for the Bulldog defense.
“We did some good things defensively after that first score,” Motsinger said. “Northside played extremely hard and the difference was our kids’ work in the weight room. We play a lot bigger than we are and that’s a Coach (Jack) Holley thing.”
“Adam (offensive coordinator Scronce) gave them a lot of different looks to find out where to attack. They’ve got a heck of a football team, but right now we’re just a better team.”
That showed increasingly as the game progressed.
Montgomery had a TD run called back on an away-from-the-ball penalty, but WRH kept the pig for four-plus minutes before punting from midfield.
The Bulldog defense ground its teeth and chewed up Northside following a 19-yard run on second down.
Love and Josh Roberts teamed up to trap Godley for a 2-yard loss. Tory Davis made a nice coverage play from his DB slot. Then Tyler Murphy and Oscar Iraheta joined forces for a sack on third-and-12.
Octavion Murphy also had his second solid game, according to Motsinger.
“Oscar isn’t big but if he gets close to a ball carrier, he’s going down,” Motsinger said. “And Ox has been just a beast for us so far.”
One play after a 12-yard run by Montgomery, Roberts bolted into the end zone from 76 yards away to make it 21-7.
Pearsall found Kaymond Farrior for an 18-yard TD reception, eight plays after the junior RB/DB made a stop on third down. Farrior got loose in the middle of the field and Pearsall lofted it into his hands and WRH was in front by three scores at halftime.
Tyler Murphy and Love made defensive plays to force a three-and-out to start the third quarter.
WRH ran the ball six times, had an incomplete pass with Murphy as the target, and then Pearsall converted on third-and-7 from the 14 for a second TD connection with Farrior.
The Murphys teamed up for a turnover with Northside facing a third-and-5 from its 25.
Tyler Murphy forced a fumble and Octavion scooped it up at the Panther 3-yard line.
Roberts scored two plays later.
Montgomery’s 20-yard gallop set up freshman Lonnie Wilson’s first varsity score from the 4 to close out the scoring .
on the hit list
Pender, which lost to East Duplin 48-44 last week, visits WRH on Friday.
The Patriots are coached by Tom Eanes, who guided them to a state final appearance in 2010 and was 58-37 from 2004 to 2010. Pender has not had a winning season since he left.
“They run the flexbone well and they’re huge,” Motsinger said. “Their line is like 6-foot-4, 6-6, 6-7 and they have some skill kids. They haven’t had success of late because of who was running the show. But Tom has that ship going in the right direction.
“They’ve always had tons of athletic ability, but nothing matters but basketball. They ran Bob Lewis out (years ago) and he went to Clinton and the rest is history. Lewis won four of the Dark Horses’ five state championships between 1990 and 2005.
Senior Lon Teachey was 6 of 6 on PATs and junior Larry Barber hit his only attempt. Robert Davis was the holder for the kicks. Pearsall was quietly efficient, going 4 for 5 for 54 yards and a pair of TD passes. His two runs were good for 34 yards. Roberts caught one pass for 16 yards and had a 38-yard punt return.
Godley was a workhorse for the Pinetown gang. He ran for 51 yards and had 12 tackles.
QB Keifer Boyd, whose father Keith is the head coach, had three passes on target that were dropped, which caused him to be 3 for 9 for 39 yards.
WRH, which used up its open date a few weeks ago when Clinton canceled because of a Covid-19 quarantine, opens the new East Central 2A Conference season when it travels to Southwest Onslow the following week (Sept. 17).
Michael Jaenicke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org