First Posted: 1/15/2009
The East Montgomery High School football team came to The Graveyard Friday night, in search of their first win.
But the surprising Red Devils made sure they kept looking as the turned back the Eagles, 36-12, notching their third win of the season. The win equaled the number of wins Red Springs had in the last two seasons.
The Red Devils defense held East Montgomery to negative yards rushing, while its offense had their highest scoring output of the season.
Red Springs’ senior running back, Kyle Graham, had a game-high 270 yards rushing on 33 carries, with 194 of them coming in the first half, while scoring two TDs and an interception and a fumble recovery. Junior quarterback Damontra Yates added two scores while sophomore running back Marshall McRae scored his first touchdown.
The Red Devils only led by nine points at halftime, but then scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to secure the win.
“I call it a sloppy first half and I wasn’t pleased at all with our performance, but I thought we came out that second half and played tough,” said Red Springs Head Coach John Harper. “Our defense was there again for us, but I think our offense showed a little life running the ball, but we just need to know how to throw the ball. We’ve got to complete those passes and if we keep working, hopefully, we’ll get better in that area.”
All Red Devils touchdowns came on runs with the exception of the defensive unit tackling an East Montgomery in the endzone for a safety, giving Red Springs at 2-0 lead with 2:15 remaining in the opening quarter.
Yates added a touchdown with :2 left in that quarter, sneaking across from one-yard out. The try for extra points was no good, but the Red Devils now had an 8-0 lead as the clock read 0:0 to end the first quarter.
The Eagles made it a football game only four seconds into the second quarter as deep man P.J. Pratt ran the Red Springs kickoff back 88-yards for the Eagles first score.
The PAT missed its mark, making the score 8-6 with the Red Devils clinging to the lead with 11:46 left until halftime.
Midway through the quarter, the Red Devils reached deep into East Montgomery territory and with 7:45 on the game clock, Yates snuck across the goal line, this time from two-yards out, giving the Red Devils a nine-point cushion at halftime, but Harper still didn’t seem to be satisfied with his team performance.
“We told them at halftime, we didn’t thing that we were playing up to our level of football and we need to come out and play like we were capable of playing and I think that’s what we did the second half.
However, neither the Red Devils or Eagles could muster any points the third quarter but it was something in the final quarter of regulation that sparked the Red Devils’ offense on their way to securing their third win.
Graham scored his first of back-to-back touchdowns just seconds into the fourth quarter on a two-yard run.
He also made the two-point conversion, making it a 23-6 ball game with 11:47 remaining. He added his second touchdown on a nine-yard run at the 7:14 mark.
The PAT try was no good but the Red Devils’ had built a 29-6 lead. McRae capped off the scoring with a 20-yard scamper with 4:53 left to make it 36-6.
Graham gave praise to his offensive line for his stellar performance in the Red Springs ground game.
“If it wasn’t for my (offensive) line, I wouldn’t have gotten the job done,” said Graham. “We played a very young (East Montgomery) team and they gave us a battle that first half, but we came out the second half and executed some good plays. The wide receivers did a good job, too. We we’re trying to get them to block all week in practice and tonight, they did a good job blocking. This is just a big achievement for me because I am a senior and I want to present Red Springs.”
Coach Harper agreed with Graham assessment of the team’s performance.
“It was a team effort,” said Harper. “Kyle didn’t do that by himself. He had linemen, wide receivers, and a fullback blocking for him.
Conference play starts Friday
The Red Devils open up Southeastern 1A/2A Conference play Friday night when they travel to Rowland to tangle with the Mustangs of South Robeson. The Mustangs are coming off a 23-4 win over East Columbus Friday with a record of overall record of 2-1.
But Harper remains optimistic that his team is striving to do better and take care of business at hand when the time comes and how it feels to be heading into conference action Friday.
“It feels good,” said the coach. “We’re heading in the right direction. We’ve now tied the most wins we’ve won in the last two seasons. It’s a good feeling, but we could still do better. We still have room to grow and that’s exciting, too, because we can get better each week. We’re 3-2 now and we’ll take it. We’re excited about conference play coming up. The whole goal was to get ready for conference. I don’t know much about South Robeson, but we’ll know more as the week goes on and we’ll go from there.”
Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Come out and support your Red Devils.