A result worth remembering for Cougars

Unbeaten Southwestern Randolph makes history with first win at Asheboro

ASHEBORO — Keaton Reed was walking off the Lee J. Stone Stadium field Friday night and he shared a thought with a teammate.

“Every time we drive by here, we can say we won here,” the Southwestern Randolph quarterback said. “Somebody is eventually going to do it. Why not us?”

Indeed, this edition of the Cougars did it — winning a football game for the first time at Asheboro High School.

It was a struggle at times, but Easton Clapp scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to help Southwestern Randolph pull out a 17-7 victory in the non-conference finale for both teams.

On top of that, the Cougars (5-0) have won consecutive football games against Asheboro for the first time.

Southwestern Randolph coach Seth Baxter reacts after his team dumped water on him following a 17-7 victory against host Asheboro. Players Lane Dalke, left, and Grayson Teague, right, are among those rejoicing. PJ WARD-BROWN/NORTH STATE JOURNAL

Coach Seth Baxter called the outcome huge for the school and the program after the team’s raucous on-field celebration – something the Cougars had never done at this venue.

It took time for the Cougars to make much noise in the game. They relied on defense until finally able to convert.

“We had the best game we had all year,” linebacker Lane Dalke said of the defense. “Everybody was on the same page about it.”

But when Asheboro (1-4) converted a fourth-and-12 for a 17-yard touchdown pass from Khyland Hadley-Lindsay to Hakemme Butler with 5:08 to play in the third quarter, Southwestern Randolph faced a 7-3 deficit.

Then the Blue Comets recovered a fumble, but Adam Cole’s interception gave Southwestern Randolph a boost. Reed connected with Clapp for a 5-yard touchdown play with 9:06 remaining.

“We got some momentum and we kept going,” Clapp said. “We had some adversity but we needed this because we go into conference now.”

Dalke recovered an Asheboro fumble, setting up Clapp’s 8-yard touchdown run at the 5:34 mark.

The Cougars marched up and down the field at times, but were bogged down by penalties. Three times in the first half, touchdown plays were called back because of flags.

“They were aggressive plays,” Baxter said. “You have to realize where you’re at. Just except it and go get it. … I think our offensive line controlled the game late in the third quarter, all the fourth quarter.”

Clapp finished with 84 rushing yards and Reed was 10-for-13 in the air.

Southwestern Randolph had a 3-0 lead courtesy of Francisco Calderon’s 27-yard field goal. The Cougars produced their second drive of more than 90 yards, but they ran out of time in the first half after reaching the Asheboro 5-yard line.

Asheboro coach Blake Brewer said the Blue Comets were fortunate that the first-half clock expired. Then it was going well for Asheboro for a stretch in the third quarter.

“Momentum was on our side there,” Brewer said. “It was like the wind went out of sails. They went down and scored, took the lead. We just never could get the ball rolling again.”

Asheboro’s Khyland Hadley-Lindsay tries to avoid Southwestern Randolph’s Adam Cole during a game Sept. 24, 2021. PJ WARD-BROWN/NORTH STATE JOURNAL

The Blue Comets, who were led on the ground by Hadley-Lindsay’s 56 yards and Michael Brady’s 55 yards, haven’t won since the opener at Randleman.

“I’m preaching that we’ve got a fresh start next week,” Brewer said. “We have not played well enough to win.”

Southwestern Randolph has been playing football since 1972. The Cougars haven’t met Asheboro every season, so the winless road stretch came sporadically during the series. Overall, it marked just the football program’s third triumph against the Blue Comets.

Now, those drives along busy Dixie Drive in the county seat will come with special memories for many of the Cougars.

“There’s just a great feeling having your part of something like this,” Reed said. “You only get so many of them.”

Eastern Randolph 33, West Stanly 3: At Ramseur, Nahiem Lilly scored on a pair of second-half touchdown runs as the Wildcats pulled away for the home victory. Lilly, who earlier had a two-point conversion run, scored from 3 yards and 25 yards out.

Eastern Randolph’s first two touchdowns came on runs of 1 yard and 6 yards from Davonte Brooks.

The Wildcats (4-0) sealed the outcome with a 19-point fourth quarter after neither team scored in the third quarter. Stratton Barwick threw a 6-yard scoring pass to D.J. Thomas to cap the scoring.

West Stanly (2-2) scored on Caden Edwards’ 25-yard field goal in the second quarter. It was the Colts’ second game in a row without a touchdown.

Randleman 20, Montgomery Central 14, OT: At Troy, Thomas Dobias’ 3-yard touchdown run in overtime gave the visiting Tigers the non-league victory.

Randleman (2-3), which won its second game in a row, scored the game’s last 20 points, holding Montgomery Central (0-4) without a point after halftime.

Trailing 14-0, Dobias put Randleman on the board with a 4-yard run in the third quarter. The Tigers pulled even in the fourth quarter on Christian Long’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Bryce Derry followed by a two-point conversion run by Dobias.

Dobias finished with 102 rushing yards on 24 carries.

By Bob Sutton

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