By Tim Candon
CARY - Cary Christian thoroughly dominated the first half of a 34-8 victory over St. David’s to advance to the second round of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association eight-man playoffs.
“We've got 12 seniors who are playing the last football of their lives. This is it. When you're done, you don't go play pick-up games. You've got to maximize and make the most of this,” said CCS coach Del Cook. “They realize and see they're coming toward the end. I told them [in August] they've got about 300 football plays left. God help you if you quit on one. I'm so proud of them tonight.”
The No. 4 Knights were all over fifth-seeded St. David's from the get-go. William Gomperts ripped off a 55-yard touchdown run on the game's first play from scirmmage, giving CCS a 7-0 lead after just 19 seconds.
Gomperts got into the end zone again late in the first quarter when he hauled in a 22-yard TD pass from quarterback James Peterson.
Down 26-0 with 9:19 remaining in the first half, St. David's strung together a 13-play scoring drive. With 2:58 remaining in the quarter, Jonah Sheets scored for the Warriors on a 3-yard TD reception. Braxton Montague converted the two-point conversion, cutting the deficit to a manageable 26-8.
Quarterback Coleman Dewitt tossed a 22-yard touchdown pass to Reid Thomas with 51 seconds left in the first half to give the Knights a 34-8 lead at intermission.
Peterson ran for 134 yards on seven carries, with two touchdowns, to go along with the TD pass to Gomperts. Gomperts finished the night with 101 yards on just five carries.
While the offense stole the show, Cook credited his defense with winning the game. The Knights forced five turnovers, including a pair of interceptions by Jonathan Henderson in the first half. Gomperts picked off one pass in the second half.
"The defense won the game for us," Cook said. "It was defense all night."