When presenting this particular case, the defense refused to rest.
Compiling all the evidence in its favor, the Mooresville High School defensive unit barely bent and only once came close to breaking before logging in with a shutout in the Blue Devils’ 10-0 decision over West Rowan in the weather-marred season opening appearance for both teams.
With the win, held almost exactly a day later than originally planned, the Devils banked the verdict to head back out onto Coach Joe Popp Stadium field later this week flashing the 1-0 record. That allows them to also kick off a campaign on a winning note for a third straight season. It was also the second consecutive such favorable outcome to open the season under current second-season head coach Thad Wells’ regime.
The contest was initially scheduled to take place Friday night but was first delayed for nearly two hours before being postponed completely for a near 24-hour period due to a strong thunderstorm. As a result, the debut for both the Devils and visiting non-conference member Falcons was finally able to take place late Saturday night.
Despite the delays, emotions building over the course of the delay continued to spill over and out onto the field in particular on the part of the hosts. Special pre-game tributes took place on several fronts.
Mooresville paid particular homage to one of its own during a moment of silence dedicated to the memory of former Blue Devils football player Gavin Sharpe, who died following an accident during the preseason in the stadium’s parking loss during a community service project that also involved other football players. As part of that process, Sharpe’s jersey No. 63 – one that will also be worn by various select players throughout the upcoming season - was displayed prominently during the team’s pregame entrance through a traditional cloud of smoke courtesy of engaged fire extinguishers.
Additionally, salutes were conduced recognizing the efforts of the school’s wrestling team that snared its second straight outright team title at the N.C. High School Athletic Association’s 4A class individual state championships held earlier this calendar year.
Also, in attendance members of North Carolina’s Little League Softball World Series fastpitch team that featured products of both Mooresville and bordering Rowan County were honored accordingly for gloving that organization’s second such international title in the last five years.
Out on the field, football took top billing. In that regard, the Devils’ defense – one that sophomore season mentor Wells revealed would be “ahead of the game’’ at the start of the season – displayed just the kind of confidence its coach felt when chiming in with the whitewash.
There were some limited anxious moments in place, though, before the defense was able to polish off its mission.
Mooresville allowed West Rowan, whose latest edition of Falcons represent a program that boasts of multiple NCHSAA 3A class state championships, to dig down as deep as the Devils’ 12-yard-line late in the opening half before forcing a possession turnover on downs to at the time preserve the latter’s one-score lead. For the game overall, MHS held West Rowan to only a total of two drives that both stalled somewhat deep into the Blue Devils’ territory
Buoyed by the stout defensive stand, Mooresville cashed in on what accounted for the game’s only two points-producing possessions to also capture its third straight win the longstanding series with West Rowan that dates all the way back to 1960. In the process, the Blue Devils also improved to the 29-22 mark in the all-time showdowns against the Falcons, with some of that outings also taking place when the teams served as same-conference counterparts.
The Devils, riding the emotional tidal wave in place practically throughout, scored theirs, the season’s and ultimately the game’s first touchdown on their second possession of the night near the midway mark of first-quarter play. Following senior returning starting Devils’ quarterback Hunter DeBerardino’s pass completion allowing his troops to huddle up inside the visiting entry’s 20-yard line, junior runningback Glenwood Robinson chugged 14 yards on a touchdown tote providing the Devils with the lead. Senior MHS placekicker Isaac Riffle complimented the punch with a successful point-after kick.
Mooresville used the late second-period defensive stand to preserve the edge during the intermission break.
After the half and following what initially appeared to be a TD return following a pass interception before the score was nullified by a penalty, the Devils increased their cushion courtesy of kicker Riffle’s 39-yard field goal climaxing their second drive of the second half’s opening period.
The Devils never again allowed West Rowan to reach potential scoring range the remainder of the game.
Again, in a lingering tribute, Mooresville purposely took a delay of game penalty on what wound up being its next-to-the-last play of the game to draw additional attention to the memory of the fallen former team member.
For the Devils, Robinson carried the ball carrying load on the offensive front with his 101 yards rushing and lone touchdown carry.
Mooresville takes aim at extending its current non-conference winning streak dating all the way back to the last such appearance of the 2017 season and covering a total of now seven games at the CJPS site to take on a perennially powerful and fellow 4A class member West Forsyth squad coming off an impressive, 42-13 win over Greensboro Dudley in the regular debut last week.
Game time on the MHS on-campus field is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday.