Opening kickoff return sparks
KM to 43-7 season opening win
(March 3, 2021 Issue)
Kings Mountain sophomore Caleb Holland made a varsity debut that he will remember for a long time Saturday when he returned the opening kickoff of the 2021 spring season 90 yards for a touchdown to spark a 43-7 win over Stuart Cramer.
The Mountaineers would go into the halftime break with a 36-0 lead and turned the contest into a “running clock” game when quarterback Ethan Reid hit Devin Pressley on a 16-yard touchdown across the middle to run the score to 43-0 with 9:52 left in the third quarter.
Cramer scored its only touchdown in the final seconds of the third period when Jesse Allran managed to get past the KM defense for a 15-yard TD reception.
The Mountaineers showed signs of its typical greatness all through the game, but hurt themselves at times with miscues that can be corrected.
“It was a good first game,” said head coach Greg Lloyd. “We made plenty of mistakes but all in all it was good. Our defense was solid and we had a decent running game. The offensive line was better than a week before” when the Mountaineers scrimmaged Burns.
Last year’s leading rusher, junior Rashaard Brooks, finished with 92 yards rushing in 13 carries as the Mountaineers tried to distribute the ball to a lot of players. Quarterback Ethan Reid and running backs Holland and Jaylin Mims also did a good job running the ball.
“Brooks and Mims played well and the kickoff return by our tenth grader was the first time he touched the ball on varsity,” Lloyd said. “We have to work on a lot of special teams’ breakdowns, but all in all it was good.”
Reid, the top passer in the Big South a year ago, hit 7 of 15 passes for 205 yards.
After KM’s initial score, new placekicker Jayden Ellis put his first varsity kickoff down at the two yard line where Cramer’s Johnny O’Shea caught and returned it to the 21. Three plays later the visitors faced a fourth and 23 at their own seven and the Storm’s punter was tackled in the end zone for a safety to put KM up 9-0.
KM then drove 57 yards in 10 plays to score on a two-yard burst by Jaylin Mims for a 16-0 lead.
The Mountaineers had some problems early with its passing game, but late in the quarter wide receiver Titus Phillips, who had just finished his basketball season earlier in the week, came onto the field and immediately raced down the home sideline past a Cramer defender and caught a pass in stride for a 51 yard touchdown and a 23-0 lead that broke the game open.
Cramer was driving later but Phillips, now in the secondary, intercepted a pass at the one yard line and returned it to the 30. However, a block in the back resulted in KM taking possession at the five. On first down, Reid hit Chance Cannon with a quick screen pass and he went 95 yards down the home sideline for a touchdown and a 29-0 lead.
On their next possession, a 34-yard run off tackle by Brooks was the big run on a drive that ended with Reid’s one-yard sneak and a 36-0 lead with 1:06 left in the half.
Deandre Hoyle recovered a fumble at the Cramer 35 on the first possession of the third quarter to set up Pressley’s touchdown.
KM RUSHING – Brooks 13-92, Reid 6-31, Mims 6-24, Holland 6-25, Patrick 1-2, Team -10.
KM RECEIVING – Cannon 2-103, Fisher 2-23, Phillips 1-51, Hoyle 1-13, Pressley 1-16.
KM SCORING – Holland 6, Mims 6, Reid 6, Cannon 6, Phillips 6, Pressley 6, Ellis 5, Team 2.
INTERCEPTIONS – AJ Richardson, Titus Philllps.
FUMBLE RECOVERY – Deandre Hoyle.