Sep 15, 2012
The grass at Mustang Stadium has started to fade, and early in Middle Creek’s Tri-Nine contest against Lee County Friday night, it seemed the Mustangs confidence had begun to fade as well. Middle Creek entered the game a strong 3-1, but didn’t seem to be the same team after last week’s loss to the Garner Trojans.
The first quarter saw Middle Creek run only 10 plays compared to 25 for Lee County ran. The Mustangs were able to keep the game scoreless as Jackets quarterback Chase Arrington (18-34, 213 yards) was picked off by Middle Creek’s Terrance White deep in Mustang territory.
Lee County scored the first points of the game on a 28-yard field goal from Ben Grossfuss with just under nine minutes to go in the first half. Middle Creek then found a rhythm offensively, and capped a six-play, 70-yard drive with a 28-yard pass from David Salmon (9-15, 179 yards, 3 TD) to Demetrius Wilkins to give the Mustangs a 7-3 lead.
A 44-yard double reverse pass to T.J. Lett (11 catches, 108 yards) put the Jackets in the red zone, but the drive stalled, and Lee County settled for another Grossfuss field goal. This one cut the Middle Creek lead to 7-6.
Middle Creek answered a Lee County score quickly once again on its next drive. Quinton Ray was found 32-yards upstream by Salmon. The score gave Middle Creek a 14-6 lead that they took to the half.
The third quarter provided little in the way of offensive entertainment, as neither team was able to move the ball past the 50-yard line. However, the 4th quarter was quite the different story in this Tri-Nine contest.
Middle Creek appeared to have missed a huge chance when Salmon threw behind a wide-open Curtis Burston, who had slipped behind the Lee County defense on a long third down early in the fourth quarter. However, the Salmon to Burston connection would get one more chance. This one, they took advantage of. Following a Lee County fumble at its own 30-yard line, the Mustangs would run the same exact play they had missed previously. This time it resulted in a Mustangs 30-yard touchdown pitch and catch from Salmon to Burston.
Lee County made a game of it with a 12-play Jackets drive that included four catches by T.J. Lett was finished with a 1-yard touchdown run from Ray J McAuley. The touchdown trimmed the Mustang lead to 21-13 with 5:51 to play. The second play of the ensuing Middle Creek drive saw Naylaan Lopez scamper around the left side, but 24 yards later Dante Graham ripped the ball out of his hands, and returned it inside the Middle Creek 40.
Then, with 1:28 remaining, Matthew Givens found the end zone to cut the Mustangs lead to 21-19. A two-point conversion was the only thing standing between Lee County and the comeback. The controversial two-point conversion attempt was caught by T.J. Lett just shy of the goal line, and the Middle Creek sideline exhaled as they held on for the 21-19 Tri-Nine win.
Middle Creek improved to 4-1 and 2-0 in the Tri-Nine, and will travel to Cary next Friday night. Lee County drops to 3-2 and 2-1 in the Tri-Nine, and will travel outside the league to take on Northwood next week.
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