NEW LONDON — For the third time in four years, the North Stanly Comets are Yadkin Valley Conference champions.
The unbeaten Comets (5-0, 4-0 YVC) handily defeated North Moore (3-3, 2-2) last Thursday night, locking up a conference title with a 36-7 home finish. The victory was the latest chapter in a dominant season for North Stanly where it has scored 169 points while surrendering only 29 points.
North Stanly got off to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter and added two more touchdowns in the second quarter to combat the Mustangs’ only score of the night. Neither team recorded any points in the third quarter, while the Comets went on to pad their lead with two touchdowns in the fourth.
Comet quarterback Luke Shaver completed nine of his 17 passing attempts and added a touchdown to senior wide receiver Clayton Shue. Shaver’s 132 yards through the air marked the third consecutive game in which the junior has eclipsed the 100-yard passing mark.
As usual, the Comets did most of their scoring on the ground, with three players — including Shaver — recording a rushing touchdown. Junior running back Karee Dykes led his team with four carries for 32 yards and a touchdown; seniors Christian Barber and Cooper Hogan each added a score as well.
While North Stanly’s 40 rushing yards were a far cry from its average of 170, the Comets still managed to control the direction of the matchup thanks to the play of their defense. Seventeen different players recorded at least one tackle, with junior Meliek Bryant leading the way with a team-high nine stops. Senior Zyon Goode and junior Ayden Carpenter each added eight tackles.
The win locked the Comets into the top spot in the YVC standings, while one of North Rowan (3-2, 3-1 YVC), North Moore or South Stanly (2-2, 2-2 YVC) will claim the second-place spot.
With a nonconference matchup against Forest Hills (2-4, 1-2 Rocky River Conference) the only remaining contest on the Comets’ regular season schedule, North Stanly has officially ended its conference campaign as a member of the YVC 1A classification. The Comets were originally scheduled to finish their season with a game against South Stanly, but that game was canceled due to COVID-19 protocol.
Next season, the Comets will be realigned into a new 2A conference with South Stanly, Albemarle, Union Academy, Jay M. Robinson and Mount Pleasant.