North Stokes fell 27-7 to Union Academy at home in the first round of the NCHSAA 1A playoffs on Friday.
“We played with effort, but just made too many mistakes. We had 270 yards of offense, but shot ourselves in the foot with turnovers,” said head coach Mitch Reeves.
At halftime, North trailed 0-7 in spite of a field goal on their second drive that looked to be good from a number of accounts.
“I told the guys to keep grinding and take care of the ball. We felt we were the better team, but kept making unforced errors to stall our drives,” Reeves said.
Beginning the second half, Union returned the kickoff and was up 13-0. Vikings quarterback Jackson Moorefield connected with Chase Vaden for a 30-yard pass to the two-yard line. Minutes later Vaden had the ball knocked out of his hands and Union recovered.
Dalton Sawyers led North on a scoring drive to cut the lead 13-7 with two minutes left in the third. On the last play of the third quarter North failed to field a punt, and it came to rest at the two-yard line.
Unable to move the ball, North was forced to punt and gave Union an opportunity to score.
“You have to give credit to Union Academy for taking advantage of our mistakes. They’re a quality team with a lot of speed and quickness,” Reeves said.
In spite of a disappointing loss, the Vikings pushed through to their best season since 2009. Reeves credits his seniors for their drive to achieve success.
Josh Manuel, Chase Vaden, Dalton Sawyers, and Ross Lucia were named Northwest 1A All-Conference and Honorable Mentions went to Austin Tucker and Mark Tucker.
“I hope the younger players keep working hard to fill the void left by this group of seniors,” the coach said. “The program will work to put a quality team on the field, and hopefully we can experience some success and draw a bigger following. I wish all my players success in their next sport and hope to see them do great things moving forward.”
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.