That word is the one that perhaps best describes the defense that was on display when Alexander Central traveled to Greensboro Dudley in the first round of the State 4A Football Playoffs Friday night.
The Dudley Panthers are one of the top teams in the state and they showed why in every way. It was their smothering ( that word again) defense that stood out the most. They dominated the Cougars for a 52-8 win.
Dudley jumped on top 24-0 before the end of the opening quarter. Their standout quarterback Hendon Hooker who is committed to play at Virginia Tech showed flashes of why he has been declared the best quarterback in the state. He ran 17 yards for a score and threw a perfect strike for a 38 yards touchdown strike in that first period. The Cougar offense could muster no total yards in their first 4 possessions against the smothering (yes, that word again) Panther defense. By the end of the 1st half the Cougars were scoreless, had one 1st down, and were trailing 45-0.
The Dudley defense scored twice in the second half on a 48 yard fumble recovery for touchdown and a 98 yards pick-Six. The Cougars managed a touchdown in the 4th quarter when Kendall Flowers scored on a run from 7 yards against the Dudley reserves.
When it was over the Cougars could do nothing more than acknowledge they had been pounded by a superior team. During the broadcast, color commentator Jonathan Watts said, “If this team loses in the playoffs, I wanna see the team that does it.” I’ll second that emphatically. In all my years of covering high school football Dudley is perhaps the best team I’ve seen and beyond a doubt their smothering ( sorry, I’ve used it again) defense is the best I’ve witnessed.
For the Cougars, they finish 7-5 in Coach Butch Carter’s first year in Taylorsville and despite losing a special group of Seniors the future looks very bright. The entire offensive backfield returns on a team that set a school record for points scored in a season. Some talent from an undefeated junior varsity team will help to replace the seniors. Coach Butch Carter has said “Our goal is to make two major improvements for next year, to be more physical and improve the special teams.” Don’t bet against that happening !
In other playoff action:
Watauga 50 Southwest Guilford 49……Watauga will travel to Dudley in Round Two
Lake Norman 45 East Meck 24
West Meck 37 Mooresville 17
South Iredell 31 Cutherson 28
Weddington 38 Statesville 0
Patton 35 Forestview 17
Hibriten 56 McMichael 27
West Rowan 33 Freedom 13
West Caldwell 41 West Stokes 0
Mt Pleasant 35 Maiden 21
RS Central 31 Wilkes Central 6
Lincolnton 48 Thomasville 13
North Rowan 28 North Wilkes 0
Eastern Randolph 49 West Wilkes 41
Walkertown 42 East Wilkes 21