FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS: Resilient Blue Devils fall short to Myers Park

Hough, E. Lincoln, Lake Norman advance

Mooresville defenders Latron Jackson and Casey Lettie Walker celebrate a second-half stop in the playoff loss to Myers Park Friday, Nov. 5. /Doug Coats

CHARLOTTE – Mooresville entered halftime down 28-0 to Myers Park, but the Blue Devils showed zero quit, and the first-round playoff game wasn’t decided until midway through the fourth quarter in a 44-26 loss.

With just under 6 minutes left in the game trailing 34-20, the Blue Devils defense was swarming, forcing the home Mustangs into a third and 19 in their territory. That’s when MP quarterback Lucas Lenhoff hit Amir Turner on the sideline just ahead of the cornerback, then ran free for a 71-yard touchdown. It was a back-breaking play when Mooresville had all the momentum and never stopped battling back.

“The kid threw a good ball, the kid made a good catch,” Mooresville coach Joe Nixon said. “They got jobs to do to just like we do. They just made a couple more than we did tonight.” 

The Devils showed spark right out of the gate in the third quarter when they recovered an onside kick on the opening kickoff. After a deep pass to Davyn Reid, running back Jawarn Howell put them on the board on a sweep to the right side.

Nixon, in his first year making the playoffs in two seasons in Mooresville, was proud of the way his team kept fighting down to the final whistle. The Blue Devils finished the year 6-5.

“I’m super proud of our players, super proud of our seniors,” he said. “I thought they showed a lot of character tonight and a lot of resolve. They gave us a chance.” 

After the Blue Devils were blanked for two quarters, quarterback Sebastian Brown threw for three touchdown passes in the second half. Campbell commit Reid caught the first on a fade route, but came out of the game the next drive from injury. In his stead, fellow senior wideout Kaden Pigeon filled his shoes seamlessly, catching a deep ball down the sideline then in the end zone on the next play.

Pigeon’s score with 4:22 left to make it 41-26 was Mooresville’s last score of the game. The ensuing onside kick was recovered by Myers Park to seal the game.

“I’ve been with those guys, Kaden for six years, Davyn for four,” Brown said. “We have a great connection. Tonight, we just stuck with it, kept the connection going. I just throw the footballs, and they make the plays.”

The Blue Devils entered the game on a four-game winning streak, shutting out rival Lake Norman in the final week of the regular season to finish second in the Greater Metro 4. Myers Park tied for first in the South Meck 7, but got the conference’s second seed on a tiebreaker, creating a bit of bad bracket luck on each side.

Kaden Pigeon caught two second-half touchdowns against Myers Park.

The matchup against the high-powered Mustangs didn’t phase Nixon. They boasted four players with more than 300 yards receiving, with Isaac Hill demonstrating tremendous ball skills throughout the game.

“We came out here to win the football game,” he said. “That’s the bottom line. I’ll never take a team into somewhere and not expect to win.”

Brown started the season backing up Jamere Cherry, but became the start in week six against Providence when Cherry had a season-ending injury. After a 33-13 loss, the Devils didn’t lose until facing another south Charlotte school Friday.

“We started off the year a little rough, but finally find our rhythm,” said Brown, who finished with 13 touchdowns this season. “When Jamere got hurt, it’s not something that I wanted, but I had to step up and lead the team.” 

Brown’s leadership to keep battling was among the examples that made Nixon proud.

“The seniors did a phenomenal job leading us in the second half,” Nixons said. “It would’ve been easy for them to quit at halftime.”

Other scores

4A: No. 1 Hough 52, No. 32 Page 3

Up Next: vs. No. 16 South Meck

No. 22 Lake Norman 28, No. 11 Northern Guilford 21

Up Next: vs. No. 27 Cuthbertson

No. 3 Weddington 35, No. 30 North Meck 6

3A: No. 20 West Rowan 34, No. 13 North Lincoln 28

No. 18 East Lincoln 22, No. 15 Oak Grove 14

Up Next: at No. 2 Statesville

2A: No. 24 East Gaston 57, No. 9 Community School of Davidson 39

N0. 13 Chase 47, No. 20 Pine Lake Prep 8

1A: No. 11 South Stokes 28, No. 22 Christ the King 16

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