Behind Pope's 214 yards, Red Devils clinch title share

Marquis Pope and the Newton-Conover football team made sure it would get a piece of the final Catawba Valley 2A football title.

The Red Devils (8-3, 6-1) blew out winless West Caldwell in Lenoir on Friday, 56-6.

"It was a good overall win," said N-C coach Brint Russell. "We had a good team effort all the way around."

Pope, a senior running back, tallied 214 rushing yards on just six carries to lead Newton-Conover. He scored four touchdowns in Friday's game, including runs of 70, 17 and 75 yards.

Pope also caught a nine-yard touchdown pass from N-C quarterback Kevin Cline.

West Caldwell (0-11, 0-7) was led by running back Aaron Rowe, who tallied 74 yards on 15 carries.

Robert Caldwell had the only touchdown of the game for the Warriors with his one-yard run in the first quarter that started the game's scoring.

Following Caldwell's score, Newton-Conover scored 56-unanswered points, including a 1-yard run by Matt Coulter, a 20-yard pass from Cline to Nick Baker, a 53-yard punt return from Tyrell Fleming and a 7-yard run from Baker to go along with Pope's four scores.

"I felt like we did a good job of rotating a lot of guys in," Russell said. "A lot of guys got plenty of playing time, no one got hurt and we won the ball game. Now, we have a three-way tie for first place."

Newton-Conover's win, along with victories by Maiden and South Iredell, tie the final conference football standings.

All three squads have identical 6-1 marks in the CVAC after Friday's game results.

The Red Devils await their playoff fate when the brackets are released on Saturday.

"We are ready to see who we are facing in the playoffs," Russell said. "We're excited. Hopefully, we'll have some games at Gurley Stadium. It was an overall team effort tonight. We feel really good about what we did. We just want to get ready to play at our house hopefully, and we see who we play in the first round."

Be sure to check for a complete listing of these games when the pairings are released on Saturday.