Panther Creek gave up 659 yards passing and didn’t score a point in the fourth quarter, yet still hung on to win 54-48 at Leesville Road in a game neither team will forget any time soon.
Leesville’s Clay Vick, a senior, wasn’t aware how close he was to a record until an offensive lineman told him in the fourth quarter that he had around 400 yards already. He finished with 659 yards and five touchdowns.
Vick, who said he used to go watch Wakefield grad Connor Mitch play when the latter was in high school, was eight yards short of tying Mitch’s state record. He said the offense fine-tuned some things in practice after the team’s opener.
“It was a crazy game,” Vick said. “I think the main difference was we had three touchdowns called back.”
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Panther Creek’s Dom Samson, in his first year as the starter, threw for 474 yards and seven touchdowns (T-6th in NCHSAA history), six of them in the first half. It was quite a turnaround from Week 1 against Wake Forest, a 48-20 loss.
“We were clicking well as an offense and we have a lot of good receivers,” Samson said. “I don’t know that I expected to have that many (touchdowns), but in watching film all week I felt like our receivers matched up well with them.”
Southern Lee heads west
Southern Lee football coach and athletic director Don Simon said he has always taken his teams out of town, but never this far. After Wednesday’s practice, the Cavaliers will take a 1,099-mile bus trip from Sanford to Beaumont, Texas, for a Saturday game against Ozen High School.
The two teams will play in the Lone Star Classic at Carroll “Butch” Thomas Stadium, which seats 20,000 and has a Jumbotron that shows replays.
Simon, who previously coached in South Florida, said he learned about the event from some of his former coaches. He expects his team to get more out of the trip than just football.
“There is no experience like Texas football, and I want them to see what it’s like. I want them to see what it’s like in other places,” Simon said. “Ninety percent of my team has never been out of North Carolina, and those who have have been to Virginia-South Carolina.”
Wake Forest lets up
Wake Forest had scored on all seven possessions of the first half and led Apex 44-0. In four plays, Wake Forest went from its own 21 to the Apex 1. But Wake Forest coach Reggie Lucas had quarterback Chris James take a knee on the final play of the half.
“We had a good play called on the play before that and I told our coaches if we don’t score on that play we will just take a knee,” Lucas said. “Also, I have a lot of respect for the coaches over there (at Apex). They’re going to do a good job.”
The play before the kneel was a 23-yard run by sophomore Devon Lawrence from the 24 to the 1. Lawrence also had a 45-yard run on the first play of the drive.
Wake Forest didn’t wait long to score again, however, running back the second-half kickoff for a TD.
The starting 11: players of the week
Amier Alston, East Chapel Hill: Ran for 231 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Caleb Cross, Panther Creek: Caught 12 passes for 175 yards and 3 TDs.
Matt Hamilton, Leesville Road: Thirteen receptions for 249 yards and 2 TDs.
Tripp Harrington, East Wake: Was 20 of 29 passing for 328 yards and 2 TDs in the air, ran for 124 yards and one TD.
E.J. Hicks, Rolesville: Threw a 75-yard pass on the first play from scrimmage, picked off two passes, ran for a TD and caught a TD.
62: Corinth Holders scored 62 unanswered points to start the season.
1,233: Yards Clay Vick and Dom Samson combined to throw for.
1,099: Miles Southern Lee will travel one way for its game in Texas.
Shy’heem Mitchell, Wake Forest: Had nine carries for 115 yards and 2 TDs, caught a 38-yard TD pass and ran a 92-yard kickoff return for his fourth TD.
Dom Samson, Panther Creek: The senior quarterback threw six touchdown passes in the first half. He completed 23 of 37 passes for 474 yards and 7 TDs.
Larry Rountree III, Millbrook: Ran for 204 yards and 4 TDs.
Justin Smalls, Panther Creek: Caught two passes for 130 yards and a TD, had kickoff return for TD and game-saving pass break-up.
Bryse Wilson, Orange: Two touchdown catches as a receiver, two sacks and an interception as a linebacker and even booted a kickoff for a touchback after starter Davis Dixon was injured.
Clay Vick, Leesville Road: Senior QB completed of 38 of 59 passes for 5 TDs and 659 yards.
3-point stance: top defenses
Wake Forest: Held Apex to just 18 yards rushing on 21 carries.
Middle Creek: The Mustangs showed up when they had to, getting two takeaways in the fourth quarter to win.
South Johnston: Held off West Johnston in the red zone to seal a 17-13 win.
▪ East Chapel Hill and Cary snapped 12-game losing streaks on Friday with first-year coaches. Neither program had won since their 2013 season finales.
▪ Corinth Holders opened this season by scoring 62 unanswered points. The Pirates had a 21-0 win against Northern Nash in the opener and opened up a 41-0 lead on Clayton on Friday before winning 41-13.
▪ Southeast Raleigh is averaging almost 50 points a game yet is 0-2. The Bulldogs – averaging 49.5 ppg but giving up 64.5 – have lost games 65-55 and 64-44.
▪ Holly Springs senior Jason Missouri might be one of the smallest football players in the state. The 5-foot, 140-pound running back had nine carries for 27 yards on Friday.
Bull City Classic: Durham’s biggest football rivalry takes the big stage at N.C. Central’s O’Kelly–Riddick Stadium on Friday. If you want to watch Southern and Hillside square off, make sure to get there early. If someone invites you to tailgate in the parking lots of the Leroy T. Walker Building complex or the bookstore, take them up on it. Especially if it’s a fish fry. Both schools serve fried fish sandwiches at their home games.
D. Clay Best, Christian Worstell, W.E. Warnock, Aaron Moody, Lee Montgomery, Mike Mangan, Jeff Hamlin, Jessika Morgan and Mike Potter contributed.