ALBERMARLE — It was a different round but the same result for the South Robeson football team.
For the second straight season, the Mustangs ended the year in Albemarle, this time with a 29-20 loss to the Bulldogs in the third round of the 1A state playoffs.
“I couldn’t be any prouder of our guys, they played really hard,” said South Robeson coach Stephen Roberson. “We fought hard all night.”
After spending the week of Thanksgiving on the practice field, the school’s best season since a 12-win year in 2002 came to a close as they faced a tough defense that limited the rush-heavy Mustangs to 181 yards on the ground.
“Hats off to their defense,” Roberson “They’re the reason they’re moving forward.”
The majority of the rushing offense came on an early touchdown by Andrew Hill, who was backed up to the 5 and took it the rest of the way for a 95-yard touchdown that put South Rob up 6-0.
“That put us in a good state at that point,” Roberson said. “That gave us some confidence.”
It was the stretch following Hill’s touchdown that hurt, with the Bulldogs scoring 22 unanswered points before halftime.
It started with a 24 yard run by Robert Mack that answered Hill’s score, then quarterback Bryan Blanton connected on passes to Travis Bennett and Andre Ridnour before halftime.
South Robeson got back on the board with five minutes left in the third, approaching the goal line before Hill put it in for a 1-yard touchdown and conversion to narrow the lead to 22-14, but Albemarle put it away a minute into the fourth on a 1-yard run by A.J. McKinney.
South Robeson had several tries in the red zone in the closing minutes, including a recovered fumble at the Bulldogs’ 30, but couldn’t punch it in.
“We couldn’t take advantage of a lot of those turnovers,” he said. “We didn’t capitalize on their miscues and they capitalized on ours.”
South Robeson had the final touchdown in the last 30 seconds, when a pass from Kalvis Chavis found Daquan Lindsey in the end zone.
The effort was a step up from last season, when the Mustangs ended the year with a 63-0 loss in the same place.
“It was a really good football game, we just came up on the short end,” Roberson said.
Quarterback Kalvis Chavis finished the game 7 of 18 for 97 yards with one interception. Michael Smith led the defense with 11 tackles and two pass deflections.
Roberson said the team was taking the loss hard, but credited his team for going from a first round loss last year to the third round this year.
“You take their hats off to all the hard work they put in,” he said. “It’s a progress and we’re taking steps.
“This is another step.”
Albemarle 29, South Robeson 20
South Robeson 6 0 8 6 — 20
Albemarle 7 15 0 7 — 29
SR — Andrew Hill 95 run (Run failed)
ALB — Robert Mack 24 run (Kick good)
ALB — Travis Bennett 54 pass from Bryan Blanton (Kick good)
ALB — Andre Ridnour 5 pass from Blanton (K.J. McKinney run)
SR — Hill 1 yard run (Run good)
ALB — A.J. McKinney 1 run (Kick good)
SR — Daquan Lindsey 4 pass from Kalvis Chavis (Run failed)
SOUTH ROB STATISTICS
PASSING — Chavis 7-18-1-97
RUSHING — Ellerbe 15-42 yards, Hill 17-137, Smith 1-(-8)
RECEIVING — Lindsey 1-4, McCallum 3-33, Roller 1-20, Smith 2-40
RECORDS — South Robeson 8-6; Albemarle 11-3