Raleigh Word of God, Cary Christian and undefeated Courtland (Va.) Southampton Academy advanced through the first round of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association eight-man football playoffs on Friday night.
Cary Christian defeated rival St. David’s 34-8 while Word of God topped Rocky Mount Academy 38-7. Southampton smashed Lawrence Academy 58-20.
The showdown between Cary Christian and St. David’s featured 42 points, five turnovers and two player ejections — and they still had the second half ahead of them.
But the final 24 minutes were a mere formality because Cary Christian so thoroughly dominated the first 24. The Knights raced out to a 34-8 lead and saw that score to the end to move on in the NCISAA 8-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 Cary Christian coach Dell 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 scrimmage, 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.
St. David’s built a 26-0 lead before St. David’s rallied.
Word of God, the defending state champions, used a second half surge to pull away from Rocky Mount Academy.
The Rams (9-1) trailed late in the second quarter when Eagles’ running back Linwood Jones scored from five yards out with 5:14 left on the clock. But the Rams’ marched down the field and Casty St. Louis scored on a three-yard run. Jason Fields connected with St. Louis on the two-point conversion and the Rams took a 14-7 lead going into halftime.
“I was very concerned. When you beat a team earlier, young kids tend to think they’ll roll over. It’s hard to beat someone twice in anything,” said Rams coach Kevin Washington.
On September 28th, the Rams defeated the Eagles 54-0.
“I kept my faith in my team. We did overlook (Rocky Mount), and we were slack in the first quarter but we turned it up,” said St. Louis of his team’s quick second half turnaround.
Tim Candon and Cale Colisimo contributed to this story