HUDSON — The South Caldwell football team entered Friday’s homecoming game against Freedom having lost seven straight meetings with the Patriots and having defeated them only five times in 33 all-time matchups. But the Spartans got a 9-yard touchdown run from Jaxsen Wilkerson with 1:06 remaining in the fourth quarter before recovering a Freedom fumble in the final minute to earn a 20-14 victory and improve to 5-1 overall and 1-1 in the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference.
South Caldwell outgained Freedom (3-3, 0-2 Northwestern 3A/4A) 309-158 in the contest, including a 250-125 edge on the ground. The Spartans recorded 18 first downs as compared to six for the Patriots, and overcame 24 penalties totaling 205 yards to defeat their league foes.
Freedom took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter on a 2-yard run from B.G. Hampton, but South Caldwell answered with two scores in the second period on a 34-yard TD pass from Tyler Eggers to Will Connor before receiving the ensuing 2-point conversion run from Nick Everhart and a 35-yard interception return for a TD from Eli Good. After Hampton scored again from 12 yards out in the third quarter and added the 2-point conversion run to make it 14-all, Wilkerson’s late TD lifted the Spartans to a six-point triumph.
Wilkerson led all ball carriers with 121 yards on 21 attempts, while Connor added 14 carries for 85 yards. Freedom was paced by Hampton’s 14 carries for 79 yards, with Curtis Young notching 49 yards on five carries.
Connor completed 4 of 7 passes for 59 yards, with Eggers hauling in three receptions for 51 yards. Meanwhile, Freedom quarterback Landon Cox was 3-of-11 passing for 33 yards, throwing two interceptions as compared to one by Connor.
South Caldwell visits Alexander Central next Friday, while the Patriots host Ashe County.
Hibriten 38, Ashe County 7: The Panthers walloped the Huskies on the road Friday in West Jefferson, collecting a 31-point win to move to 4-2 overall and 2-0 in Northwestern 3A/4A play. Following losses in two of its first three games, Hibriten has won three in a row.
On the other side, Ashe County (1-5, 0-2 Northwestern 3A/4A) has lost two consecutive contests and has three defeats by double digits. Hibriten hosts Watauga next Friday, while the Huskies travel to Freedom.
Watauga 28, Alexander Central 21: The Pioneers rallied from a seven-point deficit entering the fourth quarter to top the Cougars at home Friday in Boone. Watauga’s Isaiah Shirley caught a 44-yard TD pass from Maddox Greene with 1:23 remaining following a 4-yard scoring scamper from Jackson Roper 19 seconds earlier.
Roper also got the scoring started with a 3-yard TD run in the opening quarter before Alexander Central (4-3, 1-1 Northwestern 3A/4A) answered with a 15-yard TD jaunt from Cameron Lackey at the 2:57 mark of the period. Shirley recovered a fumble in the end zone to put Watauga (5-2, 2-0) ahead 14-7 midway through the second quarter, but the Cougars’ Andrew Bumgarner caught an 18-yard pass from Luke Hammer with 20 seconds left in the half before Josh Stubbs gave the visitors a lead on a 29-yard scoring strike from Hammer at the 6:20 mark of the third quarter.
Alexander Central hosts South Caldwell next Friday, while Watauga visits Hibriten.
Lincolnton 27, West Caldwell 7: The Wolves earned their second straight 27-7 win on the road Friday in Lenoir, scoring the game’s final 21 points a week after registering the last 27 points in a home win over Bandys. Lincolnton moved to 3-4 overall and 3-1 in the Catawba Valley 2A Conference following its third victory in a row, while the Warriors are now 0-6 and 0-4.
West Caldwell travels to West Lincoln next Friday, while Lincolnton hosts East Burke.
North Lincoln 26, St. Stephens 0: The Knights shut out the Indians at home Friday in Lincolnton, receiving a pair of 3-yard TD runs from Brennen Rogers to go with a 3-yard scoring scamper from Kyle Kovalchuk and a 2-yard TD run from Tyler Donahue. St. Stephens was held to 2 yards on 25 carries and had 54 passing yards as compared to 294 rushing yards and 26 passing yards for North Lincoln.
Rogers was the game’s leading rusher with 20 carries for 130 yards, while Kovalchuk gained 74 yards on seven attempts to go with his 26 passing yards. As for St. Stephens (1-5, 1-2 Western Foothills 3A Conference), it received 24 yards on 13 carries from Brycen Gaither and 54 yards from QB Peyton Young on 9-of-21 passing.
North Lincoln (5-2, 2-1) visits Fred T. Foard next Friday, while the Indians travel to East Lincoln.
East Lincoln 57, Fred T. Foard 0: The Tigers were held scoreless for the second week in a row and the fourth time this season on the road Friday in Denver. Foard also suffered a 56-0 road loss at the hands of Statesville last week.
The Tigers (0-6, 0-4 Western Foothills 3A) host North Lincoln next Friday, while the Mustangs (5-2, 2-2) entertain St. Stephens.