NORWOOD — Entering the fourth quarter of Friday’s matchup between South Stanly and Chatham Central, both teams had been locked into a subdued stalemate.
The Rowdy Rebel Bulls’ offense then proceeded to flip a switch as it reeled off 28 unanswered points in a seven-minute span, stunning a Bearcat defense that had held the Bulls to only six points before the explosive burst.
South Stanly’s (2-2, 2-2 Yadkin Valley Conference) 34-8 victory over Chatham Central (1-2, 1-2 YVC) could be an important confidence boost for a Bulls team that had been outscored 94-18 in their past two games.
“On defense, we controlled the momentum all night and did what we needed to do. We were just waiting for the offense to get rolling, and by the end of the game, we were golden,” South Stanly coach Ryan Ochier said. “In the first half, we weren’t getting pressure on their quarterback. But after that, we were flying around and making adjustments on our blitzes. It made a big difference.”
Ochier said having three touchdowns erased because of self-inflicted penalties was a setback for his team but not enough to subdue its will to win.
“Our guys are resilient, and we talked to them at halftime and said, ‘We just have to control us because we’re killing ourselves,’” he said. “They understood and took it upon themselves — they started getting on the same page and communicating.”
South Stanly’s late-game heroics began with around 10 minutes left in the game when a short punt by the Bears allowed the Bulls to start their drive at the 40-yard-line. It didn’t take long for the Bulls to approach the red zone.
Freshman quarterback Drew Gaddy then faked a handoff and proceeded to score with an 8-yard designed run up the middle, giving his team its first lead of the night. Less than two minutes later, the Bulls had already forced the Bears into a three-and-out looked to build up the lead.
Sophomore running back Omaurion Eldridge — who led the Bulls with 16 carries for 106 yards — found the end zone with a quick 3-yard rushing touchdown at the 7:45 mark.
South Stanly’s defense then intercepted Bears quarterback Michael Moore, and the Bulls capitalized when freshman Luke Dennis scored on a 7-yard run. After being limited to six points all night, the Bulls had scored 21 in a three minutes.
With less than two minutes to play, senior Jaderian Smith dealt the final blow to Chatham Central’s defense with a 40-yard touchdown run.