By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
Southern Alamance has averaged more than 40 points per game this season, largely a sign of an offense in sync.
Yet the Patriots concluded a Central 3-A Conference championship run by using a safety for the decisive points against visiting Western Alamance on Friday night.
A third-quarter safety marked the only second-half scoring in Southern’s 16-14 victory.
“It’s good to learn to win when you’re not at your best,” Southern coach Fritz Hessenthaler said.
The Patriots’ coaching staff handed out championship shirts to players after the game.
Josiah Tysinger scored on a 28-yard run and Jackson Parrish reached the end zone on a 7-yard run for the Patriots (9-1 overall, 6-0 Central 3-A Conference). Southern’s only lead came via the safety.
It occurred at the end of a sequence of shifting field position. Western quarterback Evan Kuehnel went back to pass, but was trapped in the end zone and tried to make a play. The ball appeared to end up in the hands of offensive lineman Landon Adkins, who was out of the back of the end zone.
That aside, fourth-place Western (6-4, 3-3) played perhaps its best game, so it was an awkward result.
“I’m proud of how well we played,” Warriors coach Jeff Snuffer said. “It hurts to not win. Played great. They’re the conference champions. Obviously, we’re not that, but we played like that (in this game).”
The Warriors had chances, driving 80 yards on 12 plays in the fourth quarter. That left them facing fourth-and-goal from the 4-yard line. Kuehnel’s pass to the end zone was knocked away with Myles Darroch and Kater Cornwell providing coverage.
“I hit it,” Darroch said. “We just tightened on defense.”
Snuffer was second-guessing his decision to skip a field-goal attempt with about six minutes left. In the third quarter, Jacob Carter’s 36-yard attempt was blocked by the Patriots.
“It also was that they just blocked one, and they had two guys get through on that play,” Snuffer said. “But I made the wrong call.”
Southern took possession with 5:51 left. The Patriots converted on running back Logan Foust’s fourth-and-1 run from their own 13 with 3:35 remaining. But Western ended up with a final possession, beginning at midfield with 46 seconds to play following a punt.
By then, the Warriors were out of timeouts and didn’t pick up a first down.
“Our defense is playing really, really well against teams that are used to scoring a lot,” Hessenthaler said.
Western scored two touchdowns in the first eight minutes. James Newton returned the opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown.
Tysinger scored for Southern. The Warriors were back in front on Cam Cotton’s 3-yard run.
Then the Patriots scored on their second possession, using a drive of more than 6½ minutes. The seventh play of the 13-play march was Foust gaining 4 yards on fourth-and-2.
Western reached the Southern 10 midway through the second quarter before a fumble. Then the Patriots kept the ball for the final 6:29 of the half.
Foust gained 114 yards on 28 carries.
For Western, Keontae Poteat caught three passes for 84 yards and Newton picked up 51 yards on four catches among the Warriors’ 190 passing yards.
Williams 55, Roxboro Person 42: At Roxboro, Amarion Richmond scored on three runs and on one reception and Dan Mahan ran for two touchdowns and threw for another as the Bulldogs wrapped up second place in the Central 3-A Conference.
Williams (8-2, 5-1) led 48-24 midway through the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs finished with 512 yards of total offense, with 243 of those coming on the ground.
Richmond rushed for 103 yards on seven carries. Mahan threw for 269 yards with an interception and gained 71 yards on six carries.
Haneef Rasheed II added 69 rushing yards with two touchdowns. Will Cooper caught four passes for 69 yards.
Roxboro Person (5-5, 2-4) lost its third game in a row.
Eastern Alamance 41, Orange 27: At Hillsborough, Josh Murray scored three touchdowns and Tyrek Samuels had two touchdown runs as the visiting Eagles got the offense rolling.
The third-place Eagles (8-2, 4-2) led 27-12 at halftime before the Panthers scored first in the third quarter. Eastern stretched the gap to 41-20 early in the fourth quarter.
Murray and Samuel both scored two first-half touchdowns. Jason Ball connected on a touchdown pass to Douglas Kittrells Jr. early in the fourth quarter.
Orange is 3-7, 1-5.