Titans, Cougars face off in NWC battle

McDowell receiver Dakota Effler fends off an opponent after making a catch during a recent game. The Titans host Alexander Central tonight (Friday, 7:30 kickoff). Josh Davis/blueridgesportsphotography.com

Note: "Tonight" in the story refers to Friday.

The Alexander Central Cougars have been among the area’s best teams the last few years, while the McDowell Titans have struggled.

But last Friday night at around 10:30, the impending meeting between the two got a lot more compelling than some may have predicted at the beginning of the season.

The Titans (1-2 Northwestern 3A/4A Conference, 3-4 overall) and Cougars (1-2, 5-2) face off tonight at Titan Stadium (7:30) with both teams jockeying for position in the conference standings – and both coming off wildly different results last week.

McDowell is riding the crest of a convincing 48-28 win at South Caldwell over the league’s only other 4A squad. The victory gives the Titans the inside track for the one State 4A Playoff berth the NWC gets, but if McDowell can finish among the top three in the split conference standings, the Titans would be seeded with the No. 1s as opposed to the at-large clubs.

Meanwhile, the Cougars have sustained back-to-back throttlings at the hands of Freedom (38-6) and Watauga (35-0) the last two weeks after starting the season 5-0. Central’s hopes of defending its NWC championship may have faded, but the Cougars are still a dangerous foe and are a far better club than their NWC record suggests.

But McDowell does have some momentum on which on to build.

The Titans’ offense comes into tonight’s game playing by far its best football of the season. McDowell has scored 84 points and rolled up 908 yards of offense in its last two outings, a 40-36 loss to St. Stephens and last week’s win over South Caldwell.

In the victory over the Spartans, the Titans did something no other MHS team has ever done by having a 100-yard rusher and two 100-yard receivers in the same ballgame.

Tailback J.C. Olivo went for career highs of 28 carries, 150 yards and four touchdowns. Andruw Randolph caught five passes for 146 yards and two scores, and Dakota Effler caught four passes for 103 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Adam Randolph was superb, going 11-for-13 for 300 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.

The key to all that success was a complete performance by the Titans’ young but improving offensive line. It all added up to a season-high 495 yards.

On defense, the Titans made several key personnel moves and held the Spartans largely in check early on, building a commanding 20-6 halftime lead. McDowell ended up allowing 379 yards, but much of it came in a wild fourth quarter that saw the two teams combine for 35 points.

While the Titans have achieved solid balance between the running and passing games at times this season, the Cougars prefer to keep it on the ground. And why not? Alexander Central is averaging 300 rushing yards per game and an impressive 8 yards per carry.

Coach Butch Carter’s Cougars also like to share the wealth. Two players have more than 500 rushing yards and two others are close to the 300-yard mark.

Junior A.J. Miller (5-8, 150) leads the way with 518 yards and seven TDs on 61 attempts. Junior Steven Montgomery (5-8, 175) has 511 yards and seven touchdowns on 43 carries. Senior Tevin Clark (5-11, 210) has carried 59 times for 292 yards and five TDs; and junior quarterback Easton Rhoney (5-11, 160) has rushed for 274 yards and four scores on 28 totes.

Defensively, senior linebacker Jordan Brown (5-7, 145) leads the team with 47 tackles, including 11 for losses. Senior lineman Isaac Chapman (6-1, 270) has 12 tackles for loss, including 3.5 sacks.

For the Titans, Adam Randolph is within sight of a school record. The senior is 84-of-124 passing for 1,318 yards and 13 touchdowns with eight interceptions. He needs just 463 yards to equal McDowell’s single-season record, set by Casey Ray (1,781) in 2014. As it stands right now, his season is already the eighth best on the books.

Olivo has rushed for 619 yards and eight TDs on 119 carries for McDowell. Andruw Randolph (26 receptions, 437 yards, 6TDs) and Effler (25-389-4TDs) have been just two of a reliable stable of pass-catchers.

Defensively, senior Andrew Davis, who moved from linebacker to the defensive front last week, leads the team with 55 tackles. Linebacker Johan Ayala and linebacker Brycen Seymore – who moved inside from safety – have 48 stops apiece. Meanwhile, lineman Bryce Allison has made 43 stops and leads the team with seven tackles for loss and six quarterback sacks.

Junior Braedon Allison also moved to linebacker last week, and made nine tackles.

Notes: McDowell leads the all-time series 17-14, but Alexander Central has won the last six meetings between the two, including a 55-21 win last year in Taylorsville…Tonight is youth league night. McDowell youth players in uniform will be admitted to the game free of charge and will be recognized at halftime.

Northwestern 3A/4A Conference football 2018

 

                                              Conf.          Overall      

Watauga (3A)                         3-0              7-0             

Freedom (3A)                        3-0              6-1    

Saint Stephens (3A)                2-1              3-4

Alexander Central (3A)           1-2              5-2                       

McDowell (4A)                      1-2              3-4

Hickory (3A)                          1-2              3-4                                

South Caldwell (4A)               1-2              2-5             

West Caldwell (3A)                0-3              0-7             

 

Friday, Oct. 5

McDowell 48, South Caldwell 28

Freedom 38, Alexander Central 6

Watauga 43, Hickory 23

St. Stephens 55, West Caldwell 7

 

Friday, Oct. 12

Alexander Central at McDowell

South Caldwell at Freedom

Hickory at West Caldwell

St. Stephens at Watauga

 

Friday, Oct. 19

Watauga at McDowell

Alexander Central at St. Stephens

West Caldwell at Freedom

South Caldwell at Hickory

 

Friday, Oct. 26

McDowell at West Caldwell

Hickory at Alexander Central

Freedom at Watauga

St. Stephens at South Caldwell

 

Friday, Nov. 2

McDowell at Freedom

South Caldwell at Alexander Central

St. Stephens at Hickory

West Caldwell at Watauga

 

Wednesday, Aug. 15

Shelby 31, Freedom 21

 

Friday, Aug. 17

McDowell 22, R-S Central 7

Alexander Central 40, Burns 7

Statesville 30, Hickory 15

Bandys 42, St. Stephens 28

Watauga 36, T.C. Roberson 12

East Burke 42, West Caldwell 0

 

Friday, Aug. 24

McDowell 52, Avery 27

Alexander Central 50, Wilkes Central 7

Freedom 57, Draughn 0

St. Stephens 44, Bunker Hill 6

Kings Mtn. 42, South Caldwell 6

Watauga 43, Ashe 7

Hibriten 58, West Caldwell 0

 

Friday, Aug. 31

Patton 35, McDowell 13

Alexander Central 54, North Iredell 3

Freedom at East Burke (ppd.)

Hickory 35, Newton-Conover 6

East Rutherford 70, South Caldwell 44

Watauga 58, Avery 7

West Iredell 48, West Caldwell 6

 

Monday, Sept. 3

Freedom 55, East Burke 13

 

Friday, Sept. 7

Mitchell 42, McDowell 14

Alexander Central 56, North Lincoln 24

Freedom 49, Patton 6

Huss 35, Hickory 7

Maiden 21, St. Stephens 13

Hibriten 56, South Caldwell 12

Watauga 43, Wilkes Central 14

Ashe 47, West Caldwell 0

 

Wednesday, Sept. 12

Hickory 28, Bandys 27

Foard 38, St. Stephens 22

 

Thursday, Sept. 13

South Caldwell 50, R-S Central 32

 

Friday Sept. 21

Hickory 31, McDowell 0

Alexander Central 69, West Caldwell 0

Freedom 49, St. Stephens 0

Watauga 46, South Caldwell 12

 

Friday, Sept. 28

St. Stephens 40, McDowell 36

Watauga 35, Alexander Central 0

Freedom 43, Hickory 22

South Caldwell 62, West Caldwell 13

 

McDowell Titan football stats 2018

 

                           Opponents            McDowell

First downs         120                       112

Rushes-yds.        271-1490               220-1077

Passing               68-124-4-6             84-129-9-13

Passing yds.        799                       1318

Total yds.           2288                      2395

Fumbles/lost       13/7                      14/7

Penalties-yds.      65-569                   58-512

 

Opponents                   52   47   42   69 – 210

McDowell           48   49   14   74 – 185

 

Individual stats

Offense

 

Rushing

 

Player                           Att.              Yards           Avg.            TD

J.C. Olivo                     119              619              5.2               8

Adam Randolph           74                298              4.0               3

Andruw Randolph        04                74                18.5             1

Cedric Biddle               06                64                10.7             1

Dequan Boyce              10                54                5.4               0

Dakota Effler                01                02                2.0               0

Brycen Seymore           02                02                1.0               0

Seth Baird                    01                m7               00                0

Team                            03                m29             00                0

Totals                           220              1077            4.9               13

 

Passing

 

Player                 Comp.         Att.          Yds.      TD     INT

Ad. Randolph     84                124          1318      13      8

Richard Handy    00                04            000        0        1

An. Randolph     00                01            000        0        0

Totals                 84                129          1318      13      9

 

Receiving

 

Player                           Rec.   Yds.  TD

An. Randolph               26      437    6

Dakota Effler                25      389    4

Olivo                            14      227    2

Steven Webb                10      151    0

Handy                          07      104    1

Boyce                          02      010    0

Totals                           84      1318  13     

 

Kickoff/punt returns

 

Player                 Ret.             Yds.            Avg.            TD

Olivo                  15                408              27.2             0

Effler                  01                10                10.0             0

Tice Edwards      01                10                10.0             0

Andrew Green     02                09                4.5               0

Seymore             01                06                6.0               0

Bryce Allison      01                01                1.0               0

 

 

Kicking

 

Player                 XPA  XPM  FGM FGA  Blk.    Long

Seth Baird           23      20      01      02      00      25

 

Scoring

 

Player                           TD     Rush  Rec.   Ret.   FG     XP     Pts.

Olivo                            10      08      02      00      00      00      60

An. Randolph               07      01      06      00      00      00      42

Effler                            04      00      04      00      00      00      24

Baird                            00      00      00      00      03      20      23

Ad. Randolph               03      03      00      00      00      02      20

Biddle                          01      01      00      00      00      00      06

Handy                          01      00      01      00      00      00      06

Webb                           00      00      00      00      00      02      02

Seymore                       00      00      00      00      00      02      02

Totals                           26      13      13      00      03      26      185

 

Punting

 

Player                 Punts           Avg.

Baird                  20                29.9

 

Defense

 

Player                           Solo            Assist          Tackles

Andrew Davis               38                17                55

Seymore                       36                12                48

Johan Ayala                  27                21                48

Bryce Allison                28                15                43

Drew Green                  30                10                40

Biddle                          22                14                36

Tice Edwards               16                13                29

Harley Allison               16                13                29

Nick Ivy                       15                13                28

An. Randolph               22                05                27

Boyce                          17                10                27

Walker Hughes             14                08                22

Nathaniel McEntire        09                10                19

Braedon Allison            07                08                15

 

Tackles for loss: Bry. Allison 7, Ayala 4, Ivy 3, Davis, Biddle, Seymore 2, Hughes, Edwards 1

Sacks: Bryce Allison 6, McEntire 2, Davis, Ayala, Ivy 1, Edwards .5

Fumble recoveries: Bryce Allison 2, An. Randolph, Biddle, Seymore, Edwards, Ayala, Ivy 1

Caused fumbles: Effler, Davis, Ayala, Bry. Allison, Hughes, Grayson Blackwelder, Seymore 1

Interceptions: Boyce 2, Seymore, Davis 1

 

 

 

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