KANNAPOLIS – Jakhiry Bennett didn’t get his first carry until the second quarter. But his last carry of the first half and his first run of the second half both produced touchdowns, as Cream of Cabarrus No. 2 A.L. Brown christened its new artificial turf field with a convincing 28-6 win over visiting Gastonia Ashbrook Friday.
Bennett, whose given position is slotback, replaced feature back Todd Kennedy when he got injured in the first half. The senior, who spent the 2018 season at Northwest Cabarrus between stops at A.L. Brown, finished with 17 carries for 182 yards, 167 coming in the second half.
“It’s always great to get a first win, and at an unbelievable facility,” said Wonders coach Mike Newsome. “I think the biggest thing is we fought through some adversity … To have this in the first game and this kind of power rush through a really tough schedule, I think it’s going to do a lot for us.”
Ashbrook’s misdirection rushing attack misdirected itself into four fumbles, all of them lost to A.L. Brown. One was recovered by Josiah Cauthen at the Kannapolis 2-yard line in the third quarter. But the two most costly ended up in the hands of Wonders’ defensive lineman Xavier Jordan.
His 53-yard fumble return in the second quarter led to A.L. Brown’s first touchdown and his second was a 35-yard scoop-and-score that put the game away in the fourth period.
Ashbrook 0-1 overall, 0-0 Big South 3A Conference; A.L. Brown 1-0, 0-0 South Piedmont 3A
THE PLAY OF THE GAME
With less than a minute remaining in the first half, A.L. Brown trailed 6-0 and Ashbrook was threatening to add to its lead. The Greenwave reached the Wonders’ 36-yard line, and quarterback Chandler Meeks faded back to attempt his first pass on second down.
Terry Williams chased Meeks down and forced the ball loose. Fellow lineman Jordan scooped up the loose ball and rambled toward the end zone before Ashbrook’s Nasir Williams chased him down at the Greenwave 7-yard line.
On the next play, Bennett scored his first touchdown, helping Kannapolis take the lead for good with 36 seconds remaining in the first half.
-- Senior running back Kendall Massey had a team-high 81 yards on 14 carries. He also chipped in defensively with nine tackles.
-- J’Don Sowell and Trey Byers both had second-quarter interceptions. Sowell’s came at the Ashbrook 8-yard line to thwart an A.L. Brown scoring opportunity.
-- Senior defensive lineman Jatarius Mason also recovered an Ashbrook fumble to go along with seven tackles.
-- Senior linebacker B.J. Foster had eight tackles.
-- Freshman Jamarie Robinson scored the Wonders’ final touchdown with a 6-yard run late in the fourth quarter.
-- Only in Kannapolis: Four A.L. Brown students rushed the field along with the Wonders players with flags raised in this order: a (large) white “K” with a Kelly green background, a United States flag, then a racing checkered flag with the number 3 honoring K-town native, the late Dale Earnhardt, then a smaller white K with a green background.
-- Longtime Memorial Stadium public address announcer Alan Cauble is usually good for a few on-air laughs. Early in the game, he announced he was a 1976 graduate of Ashbrook then added, “But I think you all know who I’m pulling for.” (A.L. Brown)
-- Ashbrook’s first official pass attempt (one of only three for the game), and only completion, came in the final minutes of the third quarter, a 10-yard gain.
WHAT’S UP NEXT?
Ashbrook plays host to East Lincoln next Friday, while A.L. Brown takes an early break in its schedule, then welcomes Mooresville on Sept. 13.
Ashbrook 0 6 0 0 -- 6
A.L. Brown 0 7 7 14 -- 28
ASH -- Trevon Crank 2 run (kick failed)
ALB – Jakhiry Bennett 7 run (Mario Carmona kick)
ALB – Bennett 54 run (Carmona kick)
ALB – Xavier Jordan 35 fumble return (Carmona kick)
ALB – Jamarie Robinson 6 run (Carmona kick)