South upends Hickory in final seconds
South Caldwell snapped its four-game losing streak at Hickory Friday night, digging deep to secure the come-from-behind win, finishing with a 31-yard field goal by Nick Mathews with just six seconds left in the game, to put South up 37-35 as the clock ran out.
Head Coach Butch Carter said the Spartans never quit, and just kept playing what was working. “This (win) shows the character, effort and attitude of our team,” he said.
The win snaps South’s four-game losing streak, giving them their first conference victory of the season.
The end of the game was a finish for the history books, as South Caldwell scored a touchdown with only 35 seconds left in the game, putting the score at 35-34 Hickory.
South went for the two-point conversion, looking to end the game then and there, but Gavin Reed was unable to dive over the top of the pile for the two-point conversion, and the scoreboard stayed the same.
“It felt like the time to do it,” Carter said about the two-point attempt, saying the off-tackle run had been successful and wanted to slip one by for the win.
On the ensuing kickoff, South set up for the onside kick with an overload to the right side, however the Spartans pulled some trickery, with Nick Mathews kicking to the left, and South recovered the onside easily, taking over at the Hickory 49-yard line.
After one incomplete pass, South quarterback Trevar Soles completed a 36-yard pass to Phillip Adams, giving South a new set of downs on the Hickory 13-yard line with 16.9 seconds in the game.
One more incomplete pass put South in a tight situation, and Mathews set up for the kick, and put it through the uprights with only five and a half seconds to go, and the clock ran out on the following kickoff.
The run game is what worked for South Friday night, with 438 yards rushing, and most of that coming from an outstanding performance by junior Gavin Reed, who rushed for 308 yards on 24 carries.
Throughout the game, South was plagued with penalties and mistakes they had to overcome, including three interceptions, a fumble and 110 yards in penalties.
Hickory’s offense was relatively quiet throughout the game, with most of their points coming from big plays, mostly capitalizing off South’s mistakes, including a 66-yard interception from a halfback pass thrown by Reed and caught by Hickory’s Jahiz Linebarger.
The Spartans were working against the odds for the majority of the game, falling 14-0 in the first quarter, with Hickory scoring the first touchdown two plays after an interception, and the second on a breakaway 31-yard pass from Hickory quarterback Jaquan Crawford to Jonathan Reid.
But South answered back with a controlling 11-play drive that went 80 yards to put the Spartans on the board with 7:36 to go until halftime.
Just before halftime, a lost Spartan fumble gave Hickory the ball, who turned it back over with an interception caught by Nick Mathews two plays later, where South tried the tricky halfback pass, leading to a 66-yard touchdown interception by Linebarger, and the first half would end with the Red Tornadoes leading 21-7.
South came out of the locker room to start the third quarter looking like a brand new team, forcing Hickory to a three-and-out, and after a drive that included back-to-back 35 and 20-yard runs by Reed, a 31-yard pass to Mathews and a fourth down conversion run by Soles, Reed made the easy two-yard touchdown run to get the South comeback underway, 21-13.
After forcing another Hickory punt, the Spartan offense took over, stringing together another 11-play drive ending in a 4-yard touchdown run and a successful two-point conversion run by Reed, tying the game at 21 with 11:06 to go in the third.
But the Red Tornadoes weren’t finished, as their next drive ended in a 19-yard touchdown pass form Crawford to junior wide receiver Brandon Helms to put Hickory back up at 28-21.
It only took the Spartan offense six plays to score on a fourth-down, three-yard run by Reed, tying it back up at 28, before Hickory scored another touchdown just over two minutes later, giving the Red Tornadoes the lead at 35-28 with 3:30 left in the game.
The next touchdown by Reed, the last of the game, would set South up for the game winning field goal in the last seconds of the game.
Next week, South is traveling to Morganton to play Freedom on Friday for their next conference mathchup.
HICKORY 35, SOUTH CALDWELL 37
First Downs, ^26^9
SOUTH CALDWELL^0^7^6^24 – 37
HICKORY^14^7^0^14 – 35
H—Corey Stinson 2 run (Ben Hartman kick good) 5:38
H—Jaquan Crawford 31 pass to Jonathan Reed (Hartman kick good) 1:21
SC—Trevar Soles 32 pass to Nick Mathews (Alex Burch kick good) 7:36
H—Jahiz Linebarger 66 interception (Hartman kick good) 1:16
SC—Gavin Reed 2 run (Burch kick no good) 6:32
SC—Gavin Reed 4 run (Reed 2pt run good) 11:06
H—Jaquan Crawford 19 pass to Brandon Helms (Hartman kick good) 8:06
SC—Gavin Reed 3 run (Nick Mathews kick good) 5:42
H—Jahiz Linebarger 3 run (Hartman kick good) 3:30
SC—Reed 14 run (Reed 2pt run no good) 0:42
SC—Nick Mathews 31 field goal, :06
RUSHING — South Caldwell: Gavin Reed 24-308, Garrison Drum 2-10, Adam Watson 8-51, Trevar Soles 3-(-9), Mason Sides 13-80. Hickory: Jaquan Crawford 8-35, Corey Stinson 4-11, Jahiz Linebarger 10-30, Jonathan Reid 1-7.
PASSING — South Caldwell: Trevar Soles 6-15-2, 148 yards, Gavin Reed 0-1-1, 0 yards. Hickory: Jaquan Crawford 9-13-1, 114 yards.
RECEIVING — South Caldwell: Garrison Drum 2-51, Nick Matthews 2-63, Gavin Reed 1-(-1). Hickory: Ryan Honeycutt 4-32, Jonathan Reid 1-31, Brandon Helms 2-28, Corey Stinson 1-4, Brandon Helms 1-19.