Central’s Jones sees room to improve
For all the good things High Point Central did in manhandling Greensboro Grimsley for the better part of the first three quarters, Bison coach Wayne Jones was more concerned about the Bison didn’t do down the home stretch on Friday night.
After holding the Whirlies pretty much in check while building a four-touchdown lead, the Bison gave up two late scores, one of them on a 76-yard reverse, allowing Grimsley to make the final margin 42-27 at A.J. Simeon Stadium.
“We just played sloppy at the end,” Jones said. “We’ve got to learn to finish.”
The Bison were impressive at times while scoring four unanswered touchdowns in the second and third quarters to go up 42-13 with 8:51 left in the third quarter.
The Bison were up just 16-13 when they took advantage of getting the ball at Grimsley’s 20 by recovering it when the Whirles failed to catch a punt. Three plays later Kavin Logan scampered into the end zone from the 2 for a 23-16 lead.
After a couple of exchanges of possession, the Bison got rolling on a nine-play scoring drive behind quarterback Jamiel Mack, who either ran or passed on eight of the plays, the last one his 3-yard touchdown run.
After a Grimsley 3-and-out, the Bison continued their offensive with another 9-play drive (this one 63 yards) as Mack ran or passed on seven plays, the last one a 3-yard scoring toss to Charles Edmond for a 35-13 lead with 45 seconds left in the half.
Central completed its offensive burst by starting the second half with a 10-play drive in which Mack ran or passed on five plays and Logan ran the ball on five. It ended with Mack cutting through the Whirlie defense for six yards to make the difference 42-13 with 8:51 remaining.
“We just moved on to a different phase of the offense,” Jones said of the offensive surge. “We saw what the defense was trying to take away and we went to something different.”
Mack wasn’t quite as sharp the rest of the night. He couldn’t pick up a first down on a fourth-and-13 from the Grimsley 18 on the Bison’s next possession and then threw an incomplete pass on a third-and-two at the Grimsley 48 on Central’s next possession. Two plays after the Bison punted, Jarriet Smith took the reverse handoff and went 76 yards to score.
After recovering an onside kick, Central surrendered the ball on downs when Chavis Little was stuffed on fourth-and-1 at the Grimsley 41.
“I went for it because I was trying to keep the defense off the field,” Jones said. “We had the right play called but just didn’t execute.”
With backup quarterback Scott Johnston running the offense instead of starter Jake Simpson, Grimsley drove for its final score.
“We pretty much stoned them except for a couple of big plays and then I think we may have gotten a little overconfident having the big lead,” Jones said. “We’ve got to learn that we’ve got to keep playing hard, especially against a team that can throw.”
Mack finished with 138 yards and two touchdowns rushing, and 187 yards and two touchdowns passing. But he also had trouble connecting with his receivers at times as he threw high.
“I started out good and strong,” Mack said. “But as the game went on, I lost my composure and had to get my focus back and just calm down and play football.”
Grimsley also started out strong, easily driving 71 yards to score on the game’s opening possession. The Bison answered with a drive that ended in Logan’s 2-yard run.
Grimsley came unraveled a bit on its next possession when the snap from center sailed over the head of Johnston, who was in to punt, and he intentionally kicked it out of the end zone. After the ensuing free kick and return, a Grimsley face-mask penalty advance the ball to Whirlie 20. Three plays later, Mack tossed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Juwan Fogge. to make it 16-7.
The Whirlies closed to 16-13 when Johnston went 35 yards to score on the opening play of the second quarter, breaking at least three tackles near the line of scrimmage and juking his way past Germaine Pratt inside the 10.
HP Central 42, Grimsley 27
Grimsley 7 6 0 14 27
HP Central 16 19 7 0 42
G — Timberlake 10 run (Gustaveson kick)
HPC — Logan 2 run (Evans kick)
HPC — Safety, ball kicked out of end zone
HPC — Foggie 14 pass from Mack (Evans kick)
G — Johnson 35 run (kick blocked)
HPC — Logan 1 run (Evans kick)
HPC — Mack 3 run (kick blocked)
HPC — Edmond 3 pass from Mack (kick fail)
HPC — Mack 6 run (Evans kick)
G — Smith 76 run (Simpson kick)
G — Johnston 4 kick (kick blocked)