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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: ‘The middle eight’ lead to Vikings' demise once again in final non-league game

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CONCORD – You might hear coaches talk about how they wish their teams would either start a game stronger or finish stronger, but Central Cabarrus football coach Zach Bevilacqua is looking for better play from his team somewhere in between.

Hosting Morganton Freedom Friday, the Vikings lost a halftime lead for the second time this year and fell to the Patriots, 46-29, at Dink Jordan Field at Viking Stadium.

“The middle eight minutes of games is killing us,” said Bevilacqua in a phone interview with The Independent Tribune. “We’ve had leads at halftime in three different games, and we’ve lost two of them. Even in the game we won (two weeks ago against Gastonia Hunter Huss), we blew the lead in the first four minutes of the second half.”

Central Cabarrus (1-3) led Freedom 21-14 and was poised to score on its opening drive of the second half. But the Patriots (3-2) intercepted a Vikings pass and took a 22-21 lead on their following possession. Freedom’s momentum carried it to a 40-21 lead before Central Cabarrus scored its final points with four minutes left in the game.



Central Cabarrus opened the game’s scoring in the first quarter when Tylee Barnett blocked a punt and Chris Burnette picked up the loose ball and hauled it 35 yards to the end zone. Trailing 14-7 in the second quarter, the Vikings’ Michael Forney scored on a short run to tie the score.

Later in the period, Central Cabarrus completed a drive when quarterback Kaden Kline connected with receiver Adriel Miller on a 20-yard fade route for a touchdown with 1 minute, 30 seconds remaining in the second quarter for a 21-14 lead.

The Vikings’ final points came in the fourth quarter when Kaden Kline and Miller hooked up on another fade route from about 30 yards out. Burnette caught a pass for the two-point conversion.

“I think Adriel Miller played one of the better games he’s played all year,” said Bevilacqua. “Michael Forney got banged up a little bit, but he ran the ball hard. Our backup running back, Amari Russell, came in and played well for us.



“We had a lot of kids that played hard. We just have to fix the middle eight (minutes) somehow.”

The Vikings open up South Piedmont 3A play at home against Concord next Friday.


Morganton Freedom  7    7   14   18 -- 46

Central Cabarrus       7  14     0     8 -- 29

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