Vikings downs Mountaineers to recapture AJT Border Battle Trophy
Jamie Shell / (firstname.lastname@example.org)
With several key players injured for both teams, the game was a battle of attrition, as the running games for both clubs were prominently on display.
Avery drew first blood in the second quarter on a touchdown plunge from fullback Payton Lowery, capping a 14-play, 83-yard drive that consumed 7:45 off the game clock. The extra point by Alex Magner staked the Big Red to a 7-0 lead, which it carried through the remainder of the first half.
Following a scoreless third period, Mitchell composed a nine-play, 99-yard scoring drive, capped by a three-yard run from Mountaineers quarterback Turner Pitman. Mitchell attempted a two-point conversion to try to seize the lead, but Avery's defense quelled the advance, helping the Big Red maintain a slim one-point margin at 7-6 with 7:53 to play in the contest.
Avery committed a pair of fumbles on its next two possessions, recovered on both occasions by Mitchell. Fortunately, the Vikings defense rose to the occasion and turned the Mountaineers away both times to maintain its one-point margin.
The score remained unchanged until the final play of the contest. Mitchell's Pitman attempted a deep throw to find a receiver hoping to score the winning touchdown, but Vikings defensive back Daniel Childress picked off the pass and raced 50 yards for an Avery touchdown, its third win of the season and lone conference win of 2012.
Statistics were virtually identical between the clubs for the contest, as Avery outgained MHS in rushing yards 165 to 155. AHS gained 182 yards in total offense, compared to 179 yards for the Mountaineers.
Luke Childress led Avery with 65 yards on 17 carries. Dalton Beaver paced Mitchell with 105 yards on 19 carries. Tyler Whittington paced the Vikings defense with 12 tackles.
Avery cheerleaders, a number of additional fall sports seniors and five Vikings senior football players were honored for their contributions to Vikings athletics prior to kickoff. Also honored with a special program and standing ovation by the MacDonald Stadium crowd before the game were approximately 30 armed forces veterans for their service to the country.
Avery qualified for the 1AA football state playoffs, and were placed as a No. 6 pod seed in the West region. Avery travels to Huntersville this Friday, Nov. 2, to take on No. 3 pod seed Lake Norman Charter School. The Knights finished with a 9-1 record this season, losing its only game to Southern Piedmont Conference foe and eventual champion East Lincoln.
Read next week's edition of The AJT for a recap of this week's playoff game at Lake Norman Charter, as well as any potential second-round playoff preview.