ST. PAULS — A 1-yard touchdown plunge by Shawn Williams with four minutes left in the fourth quarter proved to be the game-winning score in St. Pauls’ 22-17 victory over Northwood in the first round of the 2AA state playoffs Friday night at St. Pauls High.
Northwood (6-6) nearly responded with under a minute left, but the the Bulldogs (9-3) made a key fourth-down stop insider their own 10-yard-line with 30 seconds left to secure a place in the NCHSAA second round for the first time since 2007.
The Chargers opened the game’s scoring when Aumad Walker hauled in an 18-yard touchdown pass from Ti Pinnix in the first quarter. Williams, who finished with 133 yards on 25 carries, responded for the Bulldogs with a 23-yard touchdown. Northwood connnected on the point-after while St. Pauls’ run attempt failed, leaving the Chargers with a slim 7-6 lead.
The two teams traded scoring jabs once again in the second quarter. Chris Smith snared a 56-yard scoring pass from kadarus Rone while St. Pauls quarterback Kane Banner, who added 78 yards on the ground, provided a 5-yard rush across the goal line and a two-point conversion run, yielding a 14-14 deadlock at intermission.
Northwood retook the lead on a 25-yard field goal from Anthony Castro in the third, but the Bulldogs still had a touchdown left in them as Williams delivered the knockout punch.
Mustangs make early exit
ALBEMARLE — South Robeson was scored on early and often in a 63-0 blowout loss to Albemarle in the first round of the 1A state playoffs.
The Mustangs, who haven’t won a playoff game since 2002, end the season with a 3-8 record.
Albemarle (11-1), which was giving up an average of only 8.6 points a game all season, entered the contest as the top seed. The Bulldogs have won 13 playoff games the past three seasons and captured state titles in 2009 and 2010.