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Parsons, defense lift Eagles past Warriors

PARSONS, DEFENSE LIFT EAGLES PAST WARRIORS

In the game of football, rarely does one play decide the outcome of a contest. One play may not have decided the final score on Friday night, but it may have served as a turning point for Wilkes Central in its 36-20 win against West Iredell. For the second straight week, the Eagles were in a tight contest with a team from Iredell County and found a way to pull out the victory. “I’m just thrilled to death because it hasn’t been easy on them in that they’re playing for each other right now and they’re listening to their coaches,” Wilkes Central Head Coach Ron Turner said. “The improvement I saw this week compared to last week is obvious, how hard they’ve practiced this week to fix the things they did wrong last week but I’m just so happy for them, so thrilled for them.” West Iredell led 20-19 with 25 seconds left in the third quarter as it faced fourth-and-10 after an intentional grounding penalty. A bad snap on the ensuing punt attempt sailed out of the end zone and resulted in a safety for Wilkes Central. After being forced to punt on the ensuing drive, the Eagles took firm control of the game with two Justin Parsons touchdown runs of 80 and 35 yards. The latter made it a two-possession game with 5:06 remaining, following Jack Privette’s extra point. Parsons finished the game with 175 yards on the ground. Both of his second-half touchdowns came on the first play of a drive for the Eagles. “I thought when we had to play good defense, we did. We made some adjustments at halftime that worked for us,” Wilkes Central Interim Head Coach Terry Johnson said. “Offensively, Justin was running the ball well, we were blocking well, we had some big plays on third downs that we executed.” While the ground game allowed the Eagles to pull away late, the defense had trouble with West Iredell’s passing game in the first half. The tandem of quarterback Dillan Davis and wide receiver Xavier Little hooked up twice on touchdown passes of 52 and 19 yards in the first half. The second score gave the Warriors a 14-13 advantage with 2:56 left in the first half on John Barnet’s extra point. Little had 156 receiving yards in the first half and finished the game with eight catches for 169 yards. A week after rushing for 139 yards and two scores in the Warriors’ win against Saint Stephens, A.J. Summers finished with 54 yards on 15 rushes but left the game just before halftime after suffering from cramps. “Xavier really stood out tonight. He put us in position to score and Dillan did a really good job on his reads,” West Iredell Head Coach Monte Simmons said. “When A.J. went down with the cramps, it affected us. He’s the go-to guy and we didn’t have an answer for their defense after that.” Wilkes Central responded just before halftime thanks to a strong return from Parsons to put his team near midfield. Following the return, quarterback Camden Wyatt found Jasiah Ferguson on a 24-yard pass and five plays later, Parsons put the Eagles back ahead, 19-14, on a 20-yard run .The senior also added two catches for 92 yards. For the second straight week, Wyatt played well under center as he finished 8-for-19 with 153 yards. The sophomore put the Eagles on the board following their first drive of the contest when he found John Durham in the back of the end zone on a 19-yard pass. Wyatt and Parsons connected on a 37-yard strike in the second quarter. Another player Johnson felt make big contributions to the win was the play of Privette, who made a pair of extra points a week after having his only attempt blocked. The senior’s kickoffs also put the Warriors in unfavorable field position. West Iredell started inside its own 30 six times in the contest. “C-Dub (Wyatt) played a great game. He has gotten amazingly better with each game. He’s making the right decisions out there and I hope can continue to do that,” said Johnson. “The kicking game was great; Jack put the ball in places where they didn’t have anybody. He kicked it deep when we needed him too, getting a roll that would bounce over their heads so they had trouble picking it up and a couple of times it got us some good field position.” Turner, who watched the game from the track as he continues to recover, felt the coaching staff helped the players find ways to adjust as the game wore on. The defense held Davis to just 14 passing yards in the second half. The Warriors, who play Stuart Cramer next week also fumbled the ball four times, but lost only one. “Coach (Jodi) Weatherman and the defensive staff had a great plan and did just a great job. Coach (Shane) Compton did a great job on offense of adjusting to the things the defense was doing,” said Turner. “The staff has been working so hard. They’re doing everything that I’d normally be doing in addition to what they’re doing and having to get ready for school to start — they’ve been unbelievable.” Notes: Wilkes Central will remain on the road next week as it travels to Surry Central….both teams committed double-digit penalties in the contest

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