By John Turner
CONCORD – The Catawba Ridge Copperheads ventured outside the Palmetto State tonight up to Concord to battle second year program West Cabarrus and came away with a 21-14 win.
On paper, the game shouldn’t have been close. In fact, it was supposed to be a “get right” game for the Copperheads after suffering their first loss of the season last week against Greenwood. Head coach Zac Lendyak said this was the best week of practice the Copperheads have had. However, it was a lot closer than it should have been and it definitely wasn’t a get right game as the Copperheads pulled out a victory over the hyped-up Wolverines in front of a big crowd.
Catawba Ridge went three and out on their first possession, but it didn’t matter as the Copperhead defense, per usual, quieted West Cabarrus setting the offense up on a short field that turned into a four-yard touchdown pass from Jadyn Davis to Tyler Jones with 6:46 left in the first quarter.
The two teams then traded punts before West Cabarrus went on a very impressive drive to tie the score with 10:47 left in the second quarter. The Copperheads responded with an impressive drive of their own with Jones polishing off the drive with an eight-yard touchdown run carrying about three defenders into the end zone. The PAT was good which gave Catawba Ridge a 14-7 lead which they would take into halftime.
West Cabarrus got the ball first to start the second half and began to have success running the ball up the middle against a Catawba Ridge defense that stalled the Wolverines run game in the first half. After a long drive, the Wolverines had to give up possession after having it first and 10 at the Catawba Ridge 41-yard line. A penalty then a bad snap made it third and 34 for the Wolverines. On a swing pass which wasn’t going to pick up the first down, Jacobie Henderson made the play of the night when he ripped the ball from a West Cabarrus player and took it 24-yards for a touchdown giving the Copperheads a 21-7 lead.
The Wolverines were down but certainly not out. Catawba Ridge drove the length of the field and had it inside the West Cabarrus 10-yard line when Davis forced a pass that was picked off and returned to the three-yard line. The Wolverines would get the touchdown making it 21-14 heading to the fourth quarter.
West Cabarrus then caught the Copperheads off guard with an onside kick. However, the officials made West Cabarrus kick off again saying that the ball was not ready for play which infuriated the home crowd. Catawba Ridge would go on another drive getting to the West Cabarrus four-yard line when another Davis pass was picked off keeping the Wolverines in the game. Despite the interception, the Catawba Ridge defense would bow its neck one more time stopping the Wolverines offense from tying the game.
Asa Johnson continues to impress as he pressured the West Cabarrus quarterback, all game long picking up two sacks, several tackles for losses and double-digit tackles overall. Jones ran with passion and power all night long. Surprisingly, it was when Catawba Ridge went to the passing game when things went awry.
Lendyak said after the game that a win is a win as Catawba Ridge improves to 3-1 on the season. He was also quick to point out his Copperheads have work to do. Basically, the issue of finishing drives versus Greenwood carried over to this week. Catawba Ridge got away with it this week but there is a lot of work to be done before the Copperheads battle South Meck next Friday night on the road.