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With the game tied 13-13 and 8:30 left to play, the Bandys Trojans began to march. And march.Â And march.
Nineteen plays, 80 yards and 6:21 later, Bandysâ€™ Dominque Young rushed five yards into the end zone to help give the Trojans a 20-13 lead, and a victory over the visiting Newton-Conover Red Devils.
â€śThat is what we have to do,â€ť Bandys coach Randy Lowman said of the long late-game drive. â€śOur guys have figured that out. They know we canâ€™t rush. We canâ€™t hurry. We have to try to methodically, move the chains, move the chains, move the chains.â€ť
When the Trojans do move the chains and approach the end zone, they seem to get a little bit better, Lowman said, especially in the â€śbig games.â€ť
â€śIt is like they smell a little blood and they start coming off a little harder,â€ť Lowman said, adding he was proud of the complete game his Trojans put together to secure their first victory in Catawba Valley 2A conference action. â€śWe played the whole four quarters. We won the game late in the fourth quarter ... I am afraid, if my heart can take it, we may have a lot more of these where it is right down to the last, but the biggest thing is these guys played really hard, and the defense played outstanding.â€ť
As in recent weeks, much of the Trojansâ€™ success came on the ground. After a shift in offensive strategy against East Lincoln, Bandys has relied on a ground game that has allowed multiple running backs to show opposing defenses different looks.
â€śIt is nice when that works because that is all we can do right now,â€ť Lowman said. â€śWe have just done some little things to tweak what we are doing, and right now, it is working for us.â€ť
Jackson Gilliam is a bruising fullback, who on Friday, rushed for two touchdowns and 157 yards on 18 carries. Complimenting him, Dominque Young is a speedy slasher who posted 141 yards and a score on 36 carries.
â€śIt all started up front,â€ť Gilliam said. â€śThere isnâ€™t a player on this team that couldnâ€™t come through the holes the line was making tonight. We showed that with multiple backs having good games.â€ť
Once Gilliam or any of the Bandys running backs slipped through holes in the line of scrimmage, they often found out-matched defenders waiting.
â€śThere is nothing like seeing a little (defensive back) squatting on his heels back there,â€ť Gilliam said. â€śI just like to put a shoulder into them.â€ť
Newton-Conover posted the nightâ€™s first points. After the Bandys special teams and defense pinned the Red Devils on their own goal line, Jervasse Moss raced 73 yards on a third-down play that allowed Newton-Conover to escape its own end zone. A couple of plays later, Thomas Corpening capped a six-play, 99-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown run. Josue Moscotteâ€™s PAT gave the Red Devils a 7-0 lead.
Bandys answered in the second quarter when Gilliam scored on a six-yard run to conclude a nine-play, 58 yard drive.
Both teams misfired offensively in the late stages of the opening half.
First, Newton-Conover quarterback Kevin Cline threw an ill-advised pass that was intercepted by Bandysâ€™ Ryon Ripper. Moments later, Bandys quarterback Anthony Toscano returned the favor. The Red Devilsâ€™ Corpening collected an interception to go along with his early touchdown.
Elsewhere, both teamsâ€™ defenses held solid. Trojan defensive pressure forced miscues and made tackles for loss against the Red Devils, and Newton-Conoverâ€™s Telijah Gibbs recovered a Trojan fumble.
Going into half-time the game was tied, 7-7.
That didnâ€™t last long.
The Red Devils started the second-half with a quick strike by Cline. On the quarterback option keeper, he raced 63 yards to score with just 49 seconds into the third quarter. A failed PAT gave Newton-Conover a 13-7 lead.
â€śWe gave up two big plays,â€ť Lowman said. â€śOther than that, the defense was pretty solid for us tonight. That is kind of what we have got to do because we are not going to score a lot of points most nights. We have got to keep it close and keep it a one possession game. We feel like if we can do that, we have got a chance.â€ť
After the Cline score, the Trojans put together another long scoring drive. Gilliam found the end zone for the second time on five-yard run to wrap up an eight-play, 80-yard drive. The Bandys PAT failed, too, and the score was tied, 13-13, going into the final quarter, when the Trojans took their first and only lead of the night.
Newton-Conover got the ball back after Youngâ€™s late touchdown gave Bandys a 20-13 lead. The Red Devils couldnâ€™t manage a first down, and Bandys was able to regain possession, and run out the clock.
â€śI am proud of the kids, they played a hard game,â€ť said Newton-Conover coach Nick Bazzle. â€śThey played a lot better than they did last week, and its a moral victory for us. I know we didnâ€™t beat them, but Bandys is a good football team. They have only lost one game. They are good up front and they play a lot of smash mouth football.â€ť
Bazzle said the young Red Devils made strides from last week, and despite struggling with injuries, the team is still giving their best.
â€śI donâ€™t know what you expect out of kids other than to play their hardest and be good sports on the field,â€ť he said. â€śI think we got both of those tonight.â€ť
Bandys next travels to West Caldwell, while Newton-Conover is on the road at East Burke.View more articles in: