By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
Williams used a variety of offensive weapons to top visiting Western Alamance 34-20 in the first round of the Class 3-A state playoffs Friday night at Burlington Memorial Stadium.
Jaelan Brown threw for 350 yards and four touchdowns.
Cam’ron Jones and Dan Mahan both caught two touchdown passes and Kylei Richmond added a touchdown run in the clash of Central Carolina 3-A Conference teams.
Williams (8-3), the No. 15 seed in the East Region, will face another league foe with a second-round game next Friday night at Eastern Alamance. This sets up a rematch of a Sept. 29 game when Eastern won 20-17 in double overtime in Mebane in a game that featured the eventual top two teams in the conference.
“Our defense held up well. Our front seven do a heckuva job, They got pressure on the quarterback at the right times.” – Williams coach Patrick Stokes
No. 18 seed Western (6-5) lost for the second time this season at Williams.
“Anytime you can beat a Western team coached by Jeff Snuffer with the tremendous tradition they’ve got, you have to feel good about it,” Williams coach Patrick Stokes said.
Western’s Evan Kuehnel threw for 229 yards and a touchdown. The Warriors were held to 5 rushing yards.
“Our defense held up well,” Stokes said. “Our front seven do a heckuva job, They got pressure on the quarterback at the right times.”
Brown was 17-for-25 in the air with Western’s Luke Agnew interception one of his passes. Mahan compiled 149 yards on eight catches. Richmond gained 107 yards on 10 carries.
Much of the success on offense came from solid work along the line of scrimmage.
“We’ve got this confidence in them to do their thing,” Stokes said of the linemen. “That enables us to be successful.”
After a big opening kickoff that set up Williams for the first touchdown, Western’s James Newton returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown.
The Bulldogs went back ahead in the second quarter. It was 21-7 after Brown’s third-quarter touchdown toss to Mahan.
The Warriors responded with Zeke May’s 1-yard touchdown run with about a minute left in the third quarter.
Brown’s 28-yard pass play to Jones boosted Williams again. Richmond’s touchdown run helped build a 34-14 edge.
Kuehnel’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Zack Oakley completed Western’s scoring.
Williams linebacker Will Rhodes made 15 tackles, defensive end Caleb Fogleman had nine stops and Grayson Loy was charted with eight tackles. Fogleman and Loy had sacks.
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Eastern Alamance 41, Franklinton 7: At Mebane, Jason Ball threw touchdown passes to three different teammates as the host Eagles pulled away in the second half.
The Eagles (10-1), who are the No. 2 seed in the Class 3-A East Region, have 15 consecutive seasons of at least one victory in the state playoffs.
Tyrek Samuel carried 13 times for 121 yards and two touchdowns. Murray had 15 carries. Jayden Russo’s ran accounted for the last touchdown.
Ball threw to Deshan Hairston for the only touchdown of the first quarter.
The Eagles extended their lead in the second quarter on Samuel’s touchdown run.
Franklinton (4-7) answered with a long touchdown run to cut their margin in half less than five minutes before halftime.
An interception led to Eastern’s next touchdown as the Eagles rebuilt a 14-point lead in the third quarter.
Ball threw 19 yards to Antoine Pugh for another touchdown to extend the lead with 3:30 remaining in the third quarter. Ball’s final touchdown pass went to Taraji Rogers.
Southern Alamance 28, Durham Riverside 21: In Class 4-A at Mt. Hermon, Logan Foust scored three touchdowns and the host Patriots moved on despite losing their starting quarterback to an injury.
Backup quarterback Landon Dodson threw for a touchdown and ran for another. Foust gained 186 yards on 28 carries in the rematch between DAC-VII Conference members. Southern also won the first meeting.
The No. 13 seed Patriots (8-3) visit No. 4 seed New Hanover (10-1), a 45-19 winner against Raleigh Broughton, in the second round.
Riverside (6-5) led 14-12 in the third quarter after Collin Hurdle’s 48-yard touchdown throw to Xavier Queen.
Foust put Southern back on top on a 3-yard run. The margin grew to 28-21 on Dodson’s 2-yard run and Foust’s two-point conversion run with nine seconds to play in the third quarter.
Riverside closed to 28-21 with Zion Black’s touchdown run with 9:18 to play.
Earlier, Foust opened the scoring on a 70-yard run, but first-string quarterback Bradley Capps was injured on the unsuccessful two-point conversion run. The Patriots were up 12-7 after Foust caught a touchdown pass from Dodson on a 24-yard play.
Cummings 44, Bartlett Yancey 26: Jonathan Paylor scored on three second-half touchdown runs as the Cavaliers overcame visiting Bartlett Yancey, allowing them to advance to the second round in Class 2-A.
Cummings (7-3), the No. 8 seed, will have a home game against No. 24 seed Midway (7-4), a 44-35 winner against No. 9 seed East Carteret, next Friday.
Johnniyus Sharpe threw a touchdown pass. Paylor rushed for 174 yards on 13 carries.
The Cavaliers, who beat Bartlett Yancey earlier in the season in a Mid-Carolina Conference game, overcame a 23-20 deficit in the third quarter. Paylor ran 50 yards for a touchdown for the go-ahead points. In the opening minute of the fourth quarter, he added a 2-yard touchdown run.
After Bartlett Yancey’s Jakoby Casselman and Cummings’ Khavarie Hightower scored on pass plays, Paylor struck again with a 15-yard scoring run. Hightower finished with 92 receiving yards on five catches.
Cummings led 16-13 at halftime before Will Modlin’s 20-yard touchdown pass to Maurice Thomas for the Buccaneers (7-4).