North broke open a close game with a textbook drive to start the second half and defeated the Sauras 38-12 on Tuesday night.
With the victory, the Vikings improved to 3-0 and snapped a four-game losing streak to the Sauras.
“These kids wanted it. They fought and fought,” North head coach Mitch Reeves said. “I’ve got a good group of seniors. They are excited about doing something that hasn’t been done in a while. We’ll take one game at a time and Lord willing, we’ll get things together and go get one Friday.”
With the game tied at 6 late in the second quarter, it was the Sauras who looked poised to take control. Quarterback Jonah Moorefield rolled right on a wheel route and lofted a pass inside the red zone. But Logan Stevens came up with an interception and dashed 85 yards the other way for the touchdown. Andrew Lankford’s extra point try split the uprights to put the Vikings ahead 13-6 with 36.4 seconds left until the break.
“We preach that the defense has to make big plays and they did,” Reeves said. “They got a chance to put points on the board, we take it away from them and get the ball to start the half. So that was a great turning point in the game. Logan made some great cuts and everybody blocked well for him.”
North made the most of its opening possession in the third.
The Vikings went 80 yards in 14 plays and took more than 8 minutes off the clock in the quarter. North didn’t attempt a single throw on a drive that included a 21-yard run from QB Jackson Moorefield. Josh Manuel recovered a fumble on a bad snap and picked up 23 yards. The drive also featured solid running from Lankford, Dalton Sawyers and Blake Williams, who converted a key 4th down on the series.
North has followed a similar third-quarter script in each of its first three games.
“We’ve done that each game,” Reeves said. “We’ve been able to come out at halftime and put a drive, a physical drive, together like that.”
Lankford scored on a 3-yard touchdown run with 3:46 left in the third for a 19-6 lead.
When South closed to within a touchdown on backup QB Cole Rothrock’s touchdown pass to Jonah Moorefield early in the fourth, North had an answer of its own.
After a personal foul penalty against the Sauras on the kickoff, the Vikings took over near midfield. Lankford and Sawyers had first down runs, and Manuel would score from 6 yards away with 5:24 to go in the game. Lankford’s extra point made it 26-12.
South head coach Jonathan Frasher said the Vikings’ 4th down conversion on the opening drive of the third quarter was huge.
“Yeah, I think the whole turning point in the game was when he went for it on 4th and 2 on their own 28,” Frasher said. “We had him stopped in the backfield, and he slips a tackle. We don’t tackle well.”
Tevin Carter added a 55-yard touchdown run and Austyn Garcia capped the scoring with an 11-yard TD run in the game’s final seconds.
South fell to 0-3 on the season.
Close game in first half
Keelan Goodwin broke free for a 27-yard dash on the Sauras’ second drive of the night, with Stevens making the touchdown-saving tackle.
But after quarterback Jonah Moorefield was stopped for no gain, South went back to Goodwin on four straight carries to set the home team up at the Vikings’ 29-yard line. Two plays later, Michal Phillips took the handoff from Moorefield up the middle and sprinted 29 yards to the end zone for a 6-0 lead to cap an 8 play, 82-yard drive with 3:16 left in the first quarter. North was whistled for back-to-back offsides calls, and South opted to try for the two-point conversion. But North stopped the Sauras just short of the goal line.
The Vikings tied it up with an 8-play, 68-yard scoring drive early midway through the second quarter.
Williams ripped off a 46-yard run before Phillips saved the touchdown with a tackle on the sideline. Three plays later, Jackson Moorefield took a shot at the end zone for his receiver Stevens. The wideout drew a pass interference call and North moved to the Sauras’ 9-yard line on the penalty. After a couple of short runs from Williams, Jackson Moorefield tied the game on a keeper up the middle with 5:16 to go in the quarter. North missed the extra point try to leave the game even 6-6.
Phillips led the Sauras with 11 carries for 103 yards. Goodwin had 18 carries for 88 yards.
The Vikings finished with 39 carries for 329 yards. Williams finished with 14 carries for 78 yards.
North Stokes 38, South Stokes 12
NS 0 13 6 19 – 38
SS 6 0 6 0 – 12
SS: Michal Phillips 29 run (run failed) 3:16
NS: Jackson Moorefield 2 run (kick failed) 5:16
NS: Logan Stevens 85 interception return (Andrew Lankford kick) 36.4
NS: Lankford 3 run (kick failed) 3:46
SS: Jonah Moorefield 8 pass from Cole Rothrock (kick blocked) 9:28
NS: Josh Manuel 6 run (Lankford kick) 5:24
NS: Tevin Carter 55 run (kick blocked) 3:20
NS: Austyn Garcia 11 run (kick blocked) 21.7