By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
Williams arrived for Friday night’s football game figuring to try to put Western Alamance out of kilter with an efficient offense.
Perhaps more importantly, the Bulldogs brought a hounding and opportunistic defense that again and again put its stamp on this Central 3-A Conference game.
“It’s what we expected,” Williams defensive lineman Sam Rhodes said. “We just did what the coaches tell us. (They) are always after us to get hats to the ball.”
The result was a 24-7 victory for Williams.
The Bulldogs (6-2 overall, 3-1 Central 3-A Conference) were put in some tough situations, particularly in the first half. The defense kept bailing them out.
“We did what we were supposed to do,” said defensive end Elijah Kimber, whose tipped pass resulted in an interception. “We didn’t get tired.”
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The Bulldogs were having too much success to be worn out. Western (4-3, 1-2) had anticipated a better performance on homecoming, but Williams made it too difficult in the trenches.
“That’s disappointing because I really felt like we were going to control the line of scrimmage,” Western coach Jeff Snuffer said. “And they controlled the line of scrimmage.”
The Williams offense had its moments. That began on the game’s opening possession when the Bulldogs drove 49 yards on seven plays, with Dan Mahan’s 2-yard throw to Haneef Rasheed II resulting in a touchdown when he tipped the ball to himself to make the catch on the side of the end zone.
Mahan was 4-for-4 on the drive.
Three of Western’s first four possessions involved some time in Williams territory. One of those began at the Williams 16-yard line after Jacob Miles’ interception and return.
But there was nothing doing for the Warriors. Quarterback Evan Kuehnel was often under pressure.
“Our D-line was the big difference maker,” Williams coach Patrick Stokes said. “Kept him running.”
Even Rhodes, a senior listed at 230 pounds, pulled in an interception in the second half.
“I’ve always wanted one,” Rhodes said.
Aiden Pulliam and Kris Rogers also intercepted passes.
Keeping track of the Warriors was a concern for Stokes, especially with an opponent that didn’t play the week before.
“We had to prepare for a couple dozen formations,” Stokes said. “Our guys executed a complicated game plan.”
Williams’ Amarion Richmond ran 24 yards for a second-quarter touchdown.
Western got on the board with 28 seconds left in the first half on Kuehnel’s 12-yard pass play to James Newton.
The Bulldogs scored with 15 seconds to play in the third quarter on Mahan’s 20-yard touchdown strike to Bron Rogers on the way to a 21-7 lead. Grant Spoon’s 27-yard field goal capped the scoring with 3:29 remaining.
While wayward snaps and penalties put the Warriors in undesirable situations, Western had an attacking component. They tried several fourth-down plays.
“They came after us,” Stokes said.
Snuffer took the blame for the sluggish offense.
“Our offense, we didn’t get it done,” Snuffer said. “I thought our defense played as good as they could. Our defense kept creating turnovers and giving us good field position.”
Hamilton Plunkett and Chazz May intercepted passes for the Warriors.
Eastern Alamance 65, Cedar Ridge 10: At Mebane, Tyrek Samuel ran for three touchdowns and turned a short pass reception into another touchdown as the Eagles got back on track after a rare regular-season loss (last week at Williams) by winning in the Central 3-A Conference game on homecoming.
Jayden Russo also had a touchdown run for the Eagles (6-1, 2-1).
Zephaniah Gattis had a touchdown by tracking down the ball in the end zone after Coty Chambliss blocked a punt. Tajon Roberson and Amari Gibb scored on interception returns.
Cedar Ridge is 0-8, 0-4.
Cummings 63, Chatham Central 0: Jonathan Paylor scored on three of his seven touchdowns on first-quarter runs and the host Cavaliers (6-1, 5-0) had no trouble in another lopsided Mid-Carolina Conference game.
Paylor, who has committed to play for North Carolina State, finished with 297 rushing yards on 10 carries. His fifth touchdown of the first half came on a 67-yard run. Paylor had 60 receiving yards on four catches (all in the first half), including one that went 44 yards for a touchdown.
Paylor’s early scoring plays came on runs of 65, 5 and 68 yards in the homecoming game.
Chatham Central is 0-8, 0-6.
Southeast Alamance 55, Bartlett Yancey 20: At Yanceyville, the visiting Stallions won their third consecutive Mid-Carolina Conference game.
Southeast (4-3, 4-1) led 21-0 in the first quarter. Bartlett Yancey is 1-6, 1-4.
Northwood 70, Graham 12: At Graham, the visiting Chargers kept their title hopes alive in the Mid-Carolina Conference.
Northwood (6-2, 5-1) led 56-6 at halftime. Graham is 1-5, 1-3.