REIDSVILLE –– Junior quarterback Devante Williams was a one-man show for Reidsville, with 284 total yards and a pair of passing touchdowns as the Rams held off Lincolnton’s second-half rally to win 13-10 in a NCHSAA state 2A third round playoff game on Friday.
Fourth-seeded Reidsville (12-2) will host Shelby, a 45-21 winner over North Rowan, in the Western Regional championship next week.
The Wolves (9-5) trailed 13-0 at halftime, and had an opportunity to tie it with a field goal late. But the ball never really got off the ground.
A 28-yard TD run by Justice Charles and Graham Willis’ 28-yard field goal, both late in the third quarter, had the 18-time state champion on its heels.
For just the second time all game Lincolnton forced Reidsville into a three-and-out on its next drive. The Wolves took over at their own 29 after the punt, and went 61 yards on 10 rushes to set up third-and-8 at the Reidsville 10.
Hoping to tie it with Willis’ second field goal, quarterback Jordon Easter was sacked 7 yards in the backfield, turning a 27-yard chip shot into a 34-yard attempt.
The ball barely cleared the line and never reached the end zone.
The Rams then went 79 yards in eight plays, including a 53-yard run by Williams, to set up second-and-goal for the Lincolnton 1. But they fumbled.
The Wolves recovered and with one shot left at their second big playoff upset in as many weeks, couldn’t do anything with it. In fact, they shot themselves in the foot with a procedure penalty –– just their third penalty of the game –– that negated a 46-yard pass between Easter and Nick Hatchett that would have given them a first down at the Reidsville 33.
Two more tackles for loss, including an 11-yard loss on a pass to Chavis Russell from Easter, gave the Rams the ball at the Lincolnton 10.
With no timeouts left, Reidsville took two knees and celebrated another trip to the round of four –– its 10th trip to the regional finals in the last 12 seasons.
Williams, who completed 7 of his 11 pass attempts for 169 yards and the two scores, and rushed for 115 yards, accounted for four plays of 53 yards or more.
The junior hit Eric Poteat on a 67-yard scoring strike to go up 7-0 midway through the first quarter. He then made it 13-0 on a 61-yard TD pass to Noel Cook with 2:15 to play before the break.
Other than that, Lincolnton’s defense held an offense that averaged more than 400 yards per game during the regular season to 369 and to its lowest point total of the year.
Charles had a team-high 94 yards on 19 carries and an interception, and he also recovered the late fumble by the Rams.
MONROE 34, EAST LINCOLN 13
MONROE –– A fumble by the Mustangs inside the Monroe 5 spun the game on its side and East Lincoln’s season to a halt.
For the first time all season its offense was ineffective, and the turnover sparked a 28-0 run for the Redhawks as they advanced to the NCHSAA state 2AA Western Regional championship.
Monroe (12-2) will host Union County rival Parkwood, a 24-14 winner over Hunter Huss.
East Lincoln (9-5), which had its playoff win streak end at seven games and its current win streak halted at nine, got back in on touchdowns passes of 33 and 19 yards from Chazz Surratt to Sage Surratt. But that’s as close as the Mustangs got.
Monroe went up 8-0 right before the break on a 34-yard Hail Mary TD pass by Zephaniah Walls with 1.3 seconds left.
Chazz Surratt, a sophomore who averages more than 200 yards of offense per game by himself, was held to 26 yards rushing on 13 carries in the first half.
The Gaston Gazette contributed to this roundup. For more on these games see Monday’s edition of the Lincoln Times-News.