Blue Devils tally third-straight shutout, oust Bears

Three games in three weeks with zero points allowed.

The Maiden football team picked up its third-straight shut out of the season on Friday, knocking off Bunker Hill 24-0 during the Blue Devils' Homecoming game.

"They are just performing great," said Maiden coach Frank Snider on his team's defense. "We bend a little bit at times and give up some first downs, but come back and make some really great plays. We've certainly won the turnover battle game in and game out. Hopefully, we're forcing turnovers, interceptions and fumbles. We've just been really aggressive on defense. We're just getting better and better on defense."

With Newton-Conover's 31-21 victory against South Iredell, the Blue Devils are tied with the Red Devils and Vikings for the Catawba Valley 2A lead with one week remaining in the regular season.

Quarterback Jake McRee led Maiden (7-3, 5-1) with 228 passing yards and three touchdowns.

The Blue Devils and Bears both struggled in a scoreless first quarter.

It wasn't until Maiden's second possession of the second quarter that either team scored.

McRee found Ricky Taylor on a 47-yard pass, and four players later, McRee hooked up with Kyle Kelly for Maiden's first touchdown.

"It's been a while," Kelly said of his first touchdown grab of the season. "It was exciting. It was my first touchdown on varsity. That is something to remember. I'm just really excited."

The Blue Devils scored on their next two possessions, including a 30-yard pass from McRee to running back Grant Yowe.

"We got our passing game going," McRee said. "It being homecoming, it makes this (win) even better. Everyone just played their hardest."

An interception by Kelly helped set up a third and final touchdown of the half for Maiden when McRee hit Ricky Taylor on a 41-yard toss with seven seconds left until the break.

"Our defense is great," Kelly said. "We've been stepping up since day one. In early June and July, we started coming out here and working hard. It's everybody. We've been playing as one. We're a team. We are just coming out here and doing it for the team. We are really hitting everything really hard."

The Bears (5-5, 1-5) struggled on offense without leading conference rusher Justin Lynch, who had tallied 1,289 yards and 18 touchdowns entering Friday's contest.

Bears coach Travis Conner did not comment on Lynch's status or Friday's loss.

Bunker Hill tallied 236 yards of total offense, including 200 rushing yards. Jon Sweet churned out 22 carries for 60 yards, while Delone Goss ran for another 63 yards on the ground on eight carries.

The only score of the second half for either team was a 21-yard field goal by Maiden's Ian Oliver on the first Blue Devil drive of the second half.

Maiden hosts Draughn (5-5, 2-4) in the final week of the regular season, while Bunker Hill welcomes county rival Bandys (6-4, 3-3).

With so much at stake next week, McRee said he and his teammates will be ready when the Wildcats come to Maiden next week.

"We are going to play pretty hard," he said. "It is another home game. We are undefeated at home. Hopefully, we keep that going and play hard again. We just want to play hard for our fans. Hopefully, we keep that going."