MEBANE — Orange quarterback Sean Motley wasnt about to let a rock-ribbed effort by his defense go to waste Friday night in the N.C. High School Athletic Class 3A football quarterfinals.
Motley drove the Panthers 73 yards in the final five minutes of the game, scoring the deciding touchdown when he scrambled 20 yards with 2:20 remaining as Orange defeated Eastern Alamance 14-13 in an old-fashioned defensive duel.
I like to scramble a lot, Motley said. Im not really a pocket passer. It was all on my teammates tonight. They are the ones that kept us in the game. The defense played great.
The Panthers (11-2) forced four turnovers, grabbing three interceptions and recovering a fumble against No. 1 seed Eastern Alamance (12-2), to advance to the Eastern Regional final next week at Havelock.
It was a battle of two really good defensive teams, Orange coach Pat Moser said. That [Eastern] is the best defensive line Ive ever seen. We have three really good running backs and we just couldnt get it going.
Down 13-7 after Easterns Josh Jergevich scored on a 7-yard run and the Eagles converted a two-point conversion, Orange found itself at its own 27 and trailing for the first time in the game. The Panthers had been held to a single touchdown on their first possession of the game when Motley scrambled and found Jalen Pittman for a 52-yard TD.
On the deciding drive, he used his feet and his arm again.
Facing a third-and-5 at the Orange 32, Motley dodged an Eagles pass rush and scrambled across the field finding Pittman open for a 48-yard gainer to the Eastern 20. On second-and-10, he was again rushed, but got away and picked his way through the left side of the Eagles defense for a 20-yard run that tied the score at 13-13.
Jon Evans point-after put the Panthers ahead 14-13 with 2:20 remaining in the game.
Our defense shut them down really well and that was that won the game for us, Moser said. Weve had four shutouts this year, but I think that was our best defensive effort of the season.
And Motley made sure it was good enough for a win.
Sean can run and hes a playmaker and hes a winner, Moser said of his senior QB. Hes the leader of this team. At the end, when he scrambled out and scored, that was just all Sean Motley. Thats all I can say.