At the end of the regular season, there is currently a three-way tie for the top spot in the Mid-Carolina 1A/2A Conference, as North Moore secured a victory against Cummings in the last minute of their game on Monday evening.
In the final quarter, North Moore was behind 33-29 but managed to secure the lead through an eight-minute drive. On 4th & 13 from the 22-yard line, Nathaniel Dyer successfully passed the ball to Joseph Ritter at the 2-yard line, earning North Moore a first down. The following play saw Jakarey Gillis scoring a touchdown by running into the end zone, solidifying North Moore’s 36-33 victory.
The game ended fittingly, with 10 lead changes adding to the excitement.
Devin Witherspoon scored a 23-yard run on the fourth play of the game, giving Cummings the initial advantage. However, North Moore successfully blocked the extra-point attempt, resulting in the Cavaliers holding a 6-0 lead.
Gillis achieved his first touchdown during North Moore’s next offensive possession. He scored with a 42-yard run and the team successfully made the extra point, resulting in the Mustangs taking a 7-6 lead by the end of the first quarter.
The ball was returned to North Moore, but the Cummings defense caused them to punt on the opening play of the second quarter. Jonathan Paylor, who has committed to play for N.C. State, caught the punt at the 21-yard line and ran 79 yards along the sideline for a touchdown, giving Cummings a 14-7 lead after successfully converting a two-point conversion.
The Cummings defense caused the Mustangs to face a 4th & 5 scenario on their subsequent possession. However, Kolby Ritchie managed to make a 27-yard run for a touchdown on fourth down, resulting in a tied game of 14-14 at halftime.
Once again, Paylor found the end zone in the beginning of the third quarter thanks to a strong defensive stand by Cummings. On their first possession of the half, North Moore was unable to gain a first down and was forced to punt. Paylor’s touchdown came on a 3rd and 9 play from the 26-yard line. Despite their previous successful two-point conversion, Cummings was unable to replicate it this time, resulting in a 20-14 lead for the Cavaliers with 7:42 remaining in the third quarter.
North Moore responded quickly, taking less than a minute to answer. Gillis made a 60-yard run to reach the Cummings 30-yard line, followed by Colby Pennington’s 30-yard touchdown run on the following play. This gave North Moore a 21-20 lead with 6:43 remaining in the third quarter.
However, the scoring in the third quarter was not finished yet. Witherspoon managed to score a touchdown from the 10-yard line with only 1:54 remaining, but the team failed to convert a two-point attempt once again. As a result, Cummings was still leading North Moore 26-21 by the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter began with a quick pace as the Mustangs took a 29-26 lead with 9:00 remaining after Ritchie’s 15-yard touchdown and a successful two-point conversion. However, on the first play of the Cavaliers’ possession, Paylor broke through for a 52-yard touchdown, putting Cummings back in the lead at 33-29. Paylor ultimately scored three touchdowns in the game.
North Moore took over possession with 8:51 left in the fourth quarter. The Mustangs methodically drove the field, milking the clock as they went. The drive ended with 50.1 seconds left when Gillis scored what was the eventual game-winning touchdown.
On their last possession, Cummings had chances to score. Paylor made some significant gains, helping the Cavaliers advance to the middle of the field. However, North Moore was able to keep Paylor from going out of bounds, and since the Cavaliers had no timeouts left, they ran out of time. A final desperate throw towards the end zone was unsuccessful, resulting in a 36-33 victory for the Mustangs.
Cummings, North Moore, and Southeast Alamance are currently in a three-way tie for the top spot in the Mid-Carolina 1A/2A Conference, each with a record of 6-1. On Friday night, Cummings will face off against Southeast Alamance in their last game of the regular season. Meanwhile, North Moore will wrap up their regular season with a home game against conference rival Chatham Central. Both games are set to begin at 7:30 p.m.