08/19/07 — Richlands edges North Lenoir with late FG

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Richlands edges North Lenoir with late FG

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on August 19, 2007 2:05 AM

From staff reports

RICHLANDS -- Freshman placekicker Matt Davis nailed a 35-yard field goal in the waning seconds as Richlands turned back North Lenoir 17-16 on Friday evening.

The Hawks orchestrated a time-consuming, 10-minute drive in the fourth quarter to build a 10-point advantage. Devontae Bizzell capped the exhaustive march with a 2-yard plunge.

But the Wildcats grabbed momentum with a huge kickoff return near midfield.

"We took the wind out of them, but then that return pulls them back up," said North Lenoir coach Wayne Jackson.

Richlands pulled within 16-14 on Jordan Vanscooter's 60-yard touchdown strike to Jerry Bates. The Wildcats attempted an onside kick, but the Hawks easily recovered the ball.

But North Lenoir committed a critical error. The Richlands defense forced a fumble at midfield, and benefited from a penalty to put Davis within striking range for his game-winning kick.

"We knew the kid's got a good leg and we felt like he needed to be on varsity," said Richlands head coach Jeff Cobb. "We felt like we were in field goal range; we had a key penalty that moved us right where we needed to be.

"He was tickled to death. It was just great to see the kids react and work the way they did."

It was a crushing loss for North Lenoir.

"It was devastating emotionally," said Jackson. "With as young of a team as we've got we had a lot of positive things though."

While the end of the game certainly stung, the play of the young Hawks gave Jackson a reason to be optimistic over the future. Nick Williams opened the game with a 69-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to give North Lenoir the early 7-0 lead.

"Nick had an outstanding game," said Jackson.

Donald Artis -- who had some big runs as well -- made a big play on special teams in the third quarter. Artis tackled the Richlands' punter in the end zone for a safety that gave the Hawks a 9-7 lead.

Defensively, Jackson was pleased with what he saw. The Hawks didn't allow Richlands to get any long drives. In the end, it was big plays and a critical turnover that doomed the young Hawks.

"We were in a good position to win the game," said Jackson. "We just had some mental break downs at the end."

Editor's note: Complete statistics were not available at press time. The Jacksonville Daily News contributed to this report.

Richlands 17, North Lenoir 16

North Lenoir 7 0 2 7 -- 16

Richlands 7 0 0 10 -- 17

First quarter

NL -- Nick Williams 69 yard run

R -- Jordan Vanscooter 35 yard run (Davis kick)

Third quarter

NL -- Safety

Fourth quarter

NL -- Bizzell 2 yard run

R -- Jerry Bates 60 yard pass from Jordan Vanscooter (Davis kick)

R -- Davis 35 yard field goal