Special teams snafus and turnovers prove too costlySouth Iredell Vikings eliminate Pisgah from state playoffs
CANTON — The Pisgah varsity football team found a fail-safe formula for losing its NCHSAA Class 2-AA West second round playoff game to visiting South Iredell.
Turnovers and special-teams snafus will beat you every time.
Or, at least the combination will.
South Iredell turned three Pisgah special team blunders, converted two of three interceptions into 32 points and that could be viewed as the difference in the Vikings’ 47-8 victory over the Black Bears at Memorial Stadium Friday night.
Pisgah’s season ends with a 6-7 record while South Iredell advances into the third round with a 11-2 record.
It took just 54 seconds into the opening quarter for South Iredell to take a 15-0 lead and knock out all the wind out from the Black Bears’ sails.
The Vikings took the opening kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown, kicked the PAT, picked off senior Josh Noland on Pisgah’s first offensive play, then promptly threw a 21-yard TD pass and added a two point conversion.
Before the Black Bears could regroup, South Iredell scored on a five-yard touchdown pass for a 23-0 lead with 4:23 left in the first quarter.
Pisgah managed to answer the Vikings early in the second quarter (11:14) with a one-yard touchdown run by senior fullback Garrett Holland and junior Dustin Messer ran in the two-point conversion to slice the Vikings’ lead to 23-8.
However, Pisgah opted not to kick the ball out-of-bounds on the ensuing kickoff and South Iredell made the decision a costly one, returning the ball 80 yards for a touchdown and a 30-8 lead.
With 4:23 left in the second quarter, the Vikings added an 11-yard TD pass to take a 37-8 halftime lead.
There was no scoring in the third quarter, but in the final 12 minutes, South Iredell ended the game in fitting fashion when the Vikings blocked a Jesse Anderson punt at the Pisgah six and recovered it in the end zone with 9:50 left.
South Iredell quickly picked off junior quarterback McKinley Brown and two minutes later converted it into a 25-yard field goal.
The Vikings finished with 342 yards in total offense compared to Pisgah’s 290.
Messer led Pisgah with 108 yards on the ground, Brown completed seven of 12 passes for 82 yards with two picks, while Holland had 46 rushing yards and 23 yards in receiving.