Alexander Central 14
Morganton: Two of six equals 33.33 percent. That’s the math and that’s what cost Alexander Central Friday night in the regular season finale against rival Freedom.
The Cougars were 2 for 6 in red-zone opportunities and those points left on the field and not on the scoreboard will haunt the Blue and Gold.
Freedom took the opening kick and drove 73 yards in 8 plays capped by a Landon Cox to Jaylen Barnett 39 yard scoring toss with 8:26 left in the opening period.
ACHS would score on their first possession too. The Cougars capped a 11 play, 78 yard drive with a 2 yard touchdown run by quarterback Tanner Moore, the game was 7-7 with 3:18 remaining in the first quarter.
Alexander Central was poised to take the lead but were stopped on a 4th and goal from the 3 yard-line. Freedom took all of four plays to snatch the lead when Cox hit Sacred Baylor on a 75 yard strike, the conversion failed and the Patriots led at half 13-7.
The Blue and Gold took the opening second-half possession and marched 55 yards in 12 plays. The drive chewed almost 7 minutes off the clock highlighted by Mason Chapman-Mays gliding into the end zone from 7 yards. AC was up 14-13.
Twice, the Cougars squandered scoring chances in the third period.
In the final quarter the Cougars were inside the 10 yard line they failed on a 4th and goal inside the 5 yard-line.
Freedom inserted Jaylen Barnett at quarterback and his ability to run and avoid tackles proved to be a dagger for AC. The Patriots drove 94 yards in 13 plays capped when Barnett found the end zone from a yard, giving the home-standing team from Morganton a 19-14 lead after the two-point conversion failed.
The Cougars would drive again inside the red-zone only to be turned away yet again. They got another chance and had a big pass from Tanner Moore to Nate Erkman inside the Patriot 30 wiped out by an illegal motion penalty. The short-handed, battered and bruised team from Taylorsville surrendered a “so-what” score with 16 seconds to finish the night.
AC dominated time of possession 31:35 to 16:25 but that 2 of 6 red zone stat was the only thing that kept them from victory.
Senior Mason Chapman-Mays rushed for 156 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown to lead the AC offense that gained 354 yards, 323 on the ground. Freedom passed for 199 yards and 322 overall.
Alexander Central had a rough week after Coach Butch Carter dismissed three players from the team. At least 9 injured Cougars watched the action due to injury. The effort was gallant but the results nothing short of an insult for Cougar faithful. That faithful hoard knows all too well that 2 of 6 equals defeat.
The Cougars finish the regular season at 4-6 for the second straight season, they go 2-3 in conference play. Despite the losing record it’s possible ACHS will be part of the State 4A Playoff Bracket that will announced Saturday afternoon.
Freedom goes 6-4.