Sometimes the ball just bounces your way.
If you’re Broughton, that means coming up with a clutch fourth-down conversion when a player was in the right place at the right down. The flip side of that is Sanderson, which didn’t get the lucky bounces, falling to the Capitals 29-19.
“We had a really good week of practice this week, that’s why we played well,” Broughton coach Chris Dawson said. “We’ve been up and down as a practice team all year. When we practice well we play well.”
The Spartans have had their share of bad bounces this season. That was on display on their opening drive of the third quarter. Facing a third-and-1 and down by two points, Sanderson bobbled the snap in the backfield, and Broughton’s Jonah Brown pounced on it.
Good fortune was on the side of the Capitals on the ensuing drive. Facing a fourth-and-3, quarterback Worth Warner rolled to his left and threw a pass right toward the arm of a Sanderson defender. The ball bounced off the defender’s arm and right into the hands of Broughton running back Darius Walker, who picked up 20 yards on the play. The drive ended with a 1-yard run by Warner, summing up the good luck by the Capitals and bad breaks for Sanderson.
On the ensuing drive, the Spartans moved the ball into Broughton territory, but once again things didn’t go their way. Quarterback Jaxon Masterson had to corral a high snap and ran out of bounds to avoid a loss. On the next play, wide receiver Levi Matthews dropped a sure touchdown. Even after getting the ball inside the 10 after a pass interference call, Sanderson came up empty when Masterson’s pass attempt on fourth-and-1 fell to the ground.
It wasn’t all bad for the Spartans in the third. An interception by Sanderson defensive end Jamarley Todd led to a 6-yard touchdown run by Khalil Lynn, pulling the Spartans to within three, 16-13, with 3.7 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Warner started the fourth quarter with his first touchdown pass, hitting Chris Rhoads for a 28-yard score.
“In the third it was our game to protect,” Dawson said. “Just told them if we played mistake free football on both sides of the ball we would run away with it and that’s what happened.”
Matthews came up with the catch of the day in the fourth, on the receiving end of an 15-yard touchdown pass from Masterson, making it a four-point game after the failed conversion.
Sanderson had scored just one touchdown in its past three games but showed signs of life, striking pay dirt on its second drive of the game. The Spartans went on a nine-play drive, capped off by an 8-yard touchdown run from freshman Zion Myers.
Broughton scored nine unanswered points to end the first half after Sanderson took a 7-0 lead. Warner scored from 4 yards out to make it a 7-6 game after the failed kick, but Brandon Miranda made up for it, nailing a 22-yard field goal in the second quarter to give Broughton a 9-7 lead at the break.
Sanderson ran more plays on its lone scoring drive (nine) in the first half, than it did the entire second quarter (seven).
Broughton burned chunks of time off the clock with 12- and seven-play drives, but the Spartans survived by only giving up three points in the second quarter.
The Capitals close the season against Millbrook this week.
“This win was huge,” Warner said. “We need to finish the next two weeks big. That’s what we talked about all week. This win was huge, especially on the road for the seniors.”
RECORDS: Sanderson (3-7, 1-4 CAP-7), Broughton (4-6, 2-3)
THREE WHO MATTERED
Worth Warner, Broughton: Capitals 6-4 quarterback did some damage with his legs as well as his arm, rushing for a pair of touchdowns in the first half. He showed off his big arm and got his first passing touchdown in the fourth quarter, hitting Chris Rhoads for a 28-yard score. Warner finished with three rushing touchdowns and one passing.
Davis Clemmons, Broughton: He was one of Warner’s favorite receivers on third down. The 5-9 senior caught five passes — three on third down — for 150 yards.
Zion Myers, Sanderson: The freshman running back will be a name to remember. At times, the 5-9, 179-pound Myers looked like the best player on the field, either catching passes out the backfield or dragging defenders on runs up the middle.
The Spartans scored a touchdown on their second drive of the night, and it was the first time in five games that Sanderson scored a touchdown in the opening quarter.
Broughton averages 35 pass attempts per game. Fourteen different players have caught at least one pass this year for the Caps. Warner spread the ball around early and often, hitting six different receivers in the first half.
The future is bright for the Sanderson offense. Two of its best players on offense against Broughton was a freshman (Myers) and sophomore (Matthews).
S — Zion Myers 8-yard run (Conner Sandberg kick)
B —Worth Warner 4-yard run (kick failed)
B — Brandon Miranda 22-yard field goal
B — Warner 1-yard run (Miranda kick)
S — Khalil Lynn 4-yard run (conversion failed)
B — Warner 28-yard pass to Chris Rhoads (Miranda kick)
S — Jaxon Masterson 15-yard pass to Levi Matthews (conversion failed)
B - Warner 1-yard run (kick failed)
Jordan 50, Athens Drive 20
Cary 40, Hillside 12
Orange 43, Cedar Ridge 14
Clayton 56, Smithfield Selma 0
Cleveland 47, West Johnston 0
South Johnston 44, East Wake 14
Leesville Road 38, Enloe 21
Garner 34, Fuquay-Varina 18
Wake Forest 41, Wakefield 24
Holly Springs 30, Apex 20
Knightdale 21, Corinth Holders 20
Northern Durham 60, East Chapel Hill 0
Green Hope 31, Riverside 26
Heritage 42, Rolesville 28
Middle Creek 61, South Garner 18
Cardinal Gibbons 64, Southeast Raleigh 0
Southern Durham 42, Chapel Hill 0
Vance 42, Northwood 21