Marc Morris knew going into Wilmington and beating Hoggard (N.C.) would be quite a feat.
His team did just that – barely.
After building a two-touchdown lead, the Carolina Forest football team escaped with a 14-13 victory when the Vikings missed an extra point after scoring with 21 seconds remaining.
“The kids played hard each play, and fortunately we had a break go our way,” Morris said. “Real fortunate to go to Wilmington Hoggard, a good program, and get a win on their field.”
The Vikings (1-3) were an extra point away from erasing a 14-point deficit in the second half when quarterback Josh Jones scored on a two-yard rush with 21 seconds remaining, but a bad snap resulted in a shanked kick, giving the Panthers the win.
“We made mistakes tonight that you can correlate to practice,” Vikings offensive coordinator Dylan Dimock said. “We’ve got to clean up our mistakes, because we’re seven points away from being 4-0.”
Said Morris: “We had pretty good pressure on them and the boy pushed it to the right.”
The Hoggard offense couldn’t get rolling in the early stages and didn’t get on the scoreboard until late in the third quarter.
Carolina Forest took advantage, jumping out to a 14-0 lead behind quarterback Matt Beale. His first touchdown came with 8:22 left in the second quarter on an 85-yard pass down the middle of the field to Ishmael Garcia.
Carolina Forest doubled its lead with 5:45 remaining in the third quarter thanks to a quarterback scamper. Beale finished a six-play drive with a four-yard touchdown run after a 50-yard carry out them in the Hoggard red zone. Beale’s stellar play was a welcome sign for Carolina Forest, who lost star running back Dyverse Simmons to a leg injury midway through the second quarter. The junior signal-caller kept Carolina Forest’s rushing game afloat with 58 yards on nine carries.
“It was a big win tonight. We did a bunch of good things,” Morris said. “We missed some opportunities on offense we should have took advantage of. But the defense played great. Games like this is what kind of makes you better down in the end, so hopefully we’ll reap the benefits of it. We’ll take it one game at a time – we’ve got a big one next week – and we’ll see how it goes.”
Hoggard immediately responded as Jones ran for 29 yards on the ensuing drive, capping it off with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Chet Radack across the middle to cut the lead to 7 with 2:46 left in the third quarter.
“Their linebackers were doing such a great job keeping us off schedule and on the inside,” Dimock said. “Josh did a nice job running, but it just wasn’t enough.”
Carolina Forest improved to 3-0 and it prepares to face Myrtle Beach at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium next week.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Mickey [Wilson] and their coaching staff. They do a great job year in and year out,” Morris said. “He’s got his boys playing well early, and hopefully we’ll come in there and be up to the task and see how it goes.”
The Sun News contributed to this report.
CF – Ishmael Garcia 85 pass from Matt Beale (Freddie Kane kick), 8:22.
CF – Beale 4 run (Kane kick), 5:45.
HOG – Chet Radack 20 pass from Josh Jones (Will Morton kick), 2:46.
HOG – Jones 2 run (kick missed), :21
Rushing: CF: Dyverse Simmons 9-52, Anthony Mcafee 12-25, Beale 9-58, Ishmael Garcia 1-5. HOG: Tony Allen 19-68, Jones 13-87, Tre Houser 3-21.
Passing: CF: Beal 4-15-1 175. HOG: Jones 13-23- 115.
Receiving: CF: Garcia 4-175. HOG: Chat Radack 5-63, Houser 4-35, Allen 2-6, Patrick Morrison 2-11.