Mount Airy – The Maroon Devils found themselves in all too familiar territory in last Friday’s 2nd round NCHSAA 1AA playoff game. The undefeated Bears presented a problem of holding a high powered, highly talented offense in check, much like Mountain Island Charter had presented a week earlier, only this time Swain was on the road. The #1 seeded Granite Bears downed the Devils by the score of 50-20, but this game was much, much closer than the final score indicated.
With the score 15-6 in favor of Mount Airy, Swain found themselves on the move just before half. Swain drove 75 yards in just 6 plays to find themselves with a 1st and goal on the Bears 5 yard line. The next play turned out to be the pivotal play of the game. The Maroon Devil’s Damian Lossiah carried up the middle and was stopped for no gain at the 5, and Lossiah was driven back to the 7 by the Bear tacklers. Lossiah ended up laying on top of a Mount Airy defender, as this happened another defender landed on top of both players. The ball squirted out and was scooped up by Mount Airy’s Donavon Greene, who proceeded to race 93 yards for a Bear touchdown. From the Swain perspective, Lossiah was clearly down, and play should have been stopped when his forward progress was stopped, or when he was laying on the Granite Bear defender. Folks on the field say they heard a whistle. If the play were a fumble, the closest official should have thrown his beanbag to mark the spot of the fumble and to indicate a fumble, no beanbag was thrown.
The result of the play was a Granite Bear touchdown, making the score 22-6 going into halftime. Let’s be clear, this play did not cost Swain the game, it did however change the complexion of the game by taking whatever momentum the Maroon Devils could have generated for themselves away, and making it a two score game. Both of which are huge when you are on the road in the playoffs.
Swain forced to dig out of the deficit ended up having to break away from their normal plan of running the ball, and take to the air. While Swain was effective in the passing game, they did give up 2 pick 6 scores in the second half that made the score look way more lopsided than it was in actuality.
To further show this was far from a blow out, take a look at the stat sheet. Swain had 25 first downs to the Bears 13 on the night. The Maroon Devils rushed for 307 yards to Mount Airy’s 87, and in total offense the Maroon Devils had 466 yards to the Bears 327. The major difference on the night was the Maroon Devils 7 turnovers, which proved to be back breaking.
Swain got 125 yards on 23 carries from Bryce Sain and a touchdown. Damian Lossiah rushed for 96 yards on 16 carries and threw for an additional 159 yards on 8 of 23 passing. Ian Brooks scored a pair of Swain’s touchdowns while rushing for 50 yards on 14 carries.
The Maroon Devils had cut the Granite Bear lead to 36-20 as the 4th quarter opened, but the 2 pick 6 touchdowns by the Bear defense sealed the final score.
On defense Daniel Ammons had a pair of interceptions, to push his season total up to 6. Jacob Langston and Hunter Burrell had 6 tackles each to pace the defense.
Swain finishes their season with a 7-6 overall record