West gains finals
CHOCOWINITY – A trip to the state title game was on the line.
Southside held a 14-12 lead. They were the defending 1-A Eastern Region Champions. They were at home. They were undefeated.
Problem was nobody told the Northampton County High School – West Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes, who took over trailing 14-12 with 3:50 to play in the contest, marched 64 yards on 10 plays and found paydirt with 1:18 left to secure a 20-14 victory and a trip to Groves Stadium for the 1-A state football championships.
&uot;My kids showed a lot of character,&uot; fourth-year Hurricane skipper Diego Hasty said. &uot;They didn’t hang their heads when we got down. They have a lot of character and a lot of courage.&uot;
In fact, West led for most of the contest until Southside took an interception on a busted play and turned it into eight points.
After quarterback Raphael Marable connected with Kelton Moore on an eight-yard gain, the quarterback broke out for a 20-yard run down to the West 37-yardline.
A six-yard pass play from Marable to Shane Boyd got the ball to the 16-yardline when it was coupled with a late hit call.
Moore then scampered 15 yards to paydirt and added the two-point conversion to give Southside the lead 14-12 with 3:55 to play.
The Hurricanes never flinched as they took the next possession and set sail on the winning drive.
Senior standout Titus Lee moved the ball 17 yards on the first three carries of the drive followed by a two-yard plunge by Todd Squire.
Quarterback Randy Turner then picked up seven yards and a first down when the Hurricanes faced third-and-six.
A screen pass from Turner to Chris Smith went 20 yards to the Southside 18-yardline.
After Lee picked up five yards on first down, a pass from Turner went off the fingertips Mack Parker in the endzone.
Lee picked up the first down on the next play, moving the ball to the five-yardline.
Lee then scored on a five-yard run with 1:18 to play and Turner added the conversion to push the Hurricanes ahead 20-14.
Southside got the ball back with 1:08 to play at their own 36-yardline, but quickly picked up a false start penalty.
After tree plays, the Seahawks were facing a fourth-and-13 and picked up 11 yards. The Hurricane defense held on the play, giving Northampton-West the ball with 40 seconds to play.
Turner took a knee and sealed the trip to Winston-Salem.
&uot;I was very proud of our defense,&uot; Hasty said. &uot;They stepped up for us again tonight.&uot;
The Hurricanes took an early lead in the contest, scoring on their second drive of the game. Smith intercepted a pass at the 16-yardline to stop a Southside drive and returned it to the 26.
The Hurricanes picked up one first down on a Lee carry and then faced third-and-10 from the 36-yardline.
Lee took the handoff and broke free for a 64-yard jaunt to the endzone, giving West a 6-0 lead with 2:33 to play in the first quarter.
The West defense held up their end of the bargain for the remainder of the half, forcing two fumbles, two punts and stopping the Seahawks as time expired in the first half.
Southside finally reached the endzone in the second half, taking the opening kickoff and driving 79 yards on five plays.
Moore had the scoring run, going 28 yards to paydirt with 9:59 to play in the third quarter. The conversion failed, leaving the game deadlocked at six-all.
West answered quickly, taking the ball 45 yards on the next drive.
Junior Vontray Hughes fielded the short kickoff and went 30 yards to give the Hurricanes field position at the Southside 45-yardline.
After Lee picked up seven yards, Parker went 20 yards to the 18. Lee carried for another four-yard gainer before Squire found paydirt from 14 yards out to give West a 12-6 lead.
&uot;We have closed the book on page four,&uot; Hasty told his team after the contest. &uot;Now, we get ready for page five. It’s going to be a little different week for us, but we’ll talk more about that Monday.
&uot;I want everyone to enjoy this moment,&uot; he closed.
Lee, who carried the ball 30 times for a total of 149 yards on the night, led northampton-West. Parker added 52 yards on six carries.
Turner was 3-for-7 passing for 41 yards and an interception. He carried the ball six times for 33 yards.
Moore led Southside with 83 yards on 14 carries.