CONCORD – The Concord football team was in position in the fourth quarter to tie the Sun Valley Spartans Friday night.
The Spider defense had made enough big plays to limit Sun Valley’s scoring, and the Spiders’ option running attack, led by quarterback JoJo Bond, was starting to make plays.
However, injuries also started to take their toll, and Concord lost its third straight game, 24-10, to the previously winless Spartans at Robert C. Bailey Stadium.
The option rushing attack gave Sun Valley fits throughout the game, as three Spiders rushed for more than 50 yards in the game. But injuries to Bond and running back Cameron Sledge in the fourth quarter derailed a promising drive to tie the game midway through the quarter.
“Our kids got after it,” said Concord coach Marty Paxton “Obviously, you see me changing things offensively. Our kids believe in what we’re doing.”
The first half was a defensive struggle, with both teams connecting on field goals. The Spartans looked like they were going to score just before halftime, but Concord defensive back Jacob Melton intercepted a pass inside the Spiders 10-yard to end the threat.
After the second half kicked off, the Spiders allowed a quick first down before forcing Sun Valley to punt on its opening drive. A fantastic punt by Mason Tinsley and great work by the coverage team forced the Spiders to start on their own 3-yard line.
On the first play of the drive, it looked like Concord was going to have a huge gain up the left sideline. Instead, a flag left the Spiders with first-and-10 at their 14, rather than first-and-10 near midfield. Then a false start backed them up inside their own, 10 followed by an interception to set up the Spartans with great field position at the 19-yard line. That led to Sun Valley’s first touchdown of the night.
“We’ve just got to cut down mistakes,” Paxton said. “We have a big play coming out in the second half, and we get a penalty for a block in the back. After a long run, we keep shooting ourselves in the foot. We take three steps forward, then two steps back. We’ve got a lot of young kids learning, getting playing experience right now. We’re getting better, man.”
The Spiders answered on a play-action pass from Bond to Nijel Robinson for a 29-yard touchdown to tie the game at 10, but miscues on the defensive side of the ball led to another Sun Valley touchdown despite the Spiders forcing a third-and-19 situation.
Sun Valley scored another touchdown with about four minutes left in the game after Bond exited with an injury sustained on a fumbled exchange.
Sun Valley 1-2, 0-0 Southern Carolina 3A Conference; Concord 0-3, 0-0 South Piedmont 3A
THE PLAY OF THE GAME
The Spartans had first and 10 from their own 36-yard line in the third quarter when Anthony Flores burst through the line and caused a 4-yard loss. On the next snap, Sun Valley was flagged for a false start. Then the Spiders forced an incomplete pass to set up third and 19 from the Sun Valley 27-yard line.
At the snap, it appeared quarterback Carson Black had nowhere to go with the ball. The Spiders had great coverage at the back end, then pressure forced Black to roll to his left. As more Concord defenders swarmed Black, receiver Adrian Eley worked his way open short of the marker on the sideline. Black hit him, and Eley squirmed his way up to the 47-yard line. That drive quickly turned into a touchdown from Black to Eley and a 17-10 lead.
-- Carson Black had two touchdown passes.
– Flores had seven tackles on the night, and twice he dropped Sun Valley ball carriers in the backfield before the play got going.
– Bond was all over the field, and not just on offense. He had two passes that nearly hit for big plays, if not for the ball possibly getting lost in the lights. He made a team-high nine tackles on defense.
Concord travels to Mount Pleasant to take on the Tigers on Friday September 13th while Sun Valley returns home to host Porter Ridge.
Sun Valley 0 3 14 7 – 24
Concord 0 3 7 0 – 10
C – Isaiah Clark 31 field goal
SV – Mason Tinsley 20 field goal
SV – Gavin Blackwell 19 pass from Carson Black (Tinsley kick)
C – Nijel Robinson 29 pass from Jo Jo Bond (Clark kick)
SV – Adrian Eley 21 pass from Black (Tinsley kick)
SV – Michael Wilson II 1 run (Tinsley kick)