Titans sink Raiders with 3rd quarter surge

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 31, 2013

On a night filled with fall chill, the Reagan Raiders football team was burned by a red-hot quarterback and a white-hot defense during a 34-7 loss to West Forsyth last Friday night.

Darion Slade, West’s elusive 10th-grade signal-caller, delivered a series of big plays to compliment a defensive unit that just keeps getting better.

With the win, the Titans (9-1, 5-0) earned at least a share of this year’s Central Piedmont Conference title. Idle this week, the Titans could secure the title outright with a win over North Davidson at home on Friday, November 8th. Reagan (6-3, 3-1) will travel to meet North Davidson this week.

“We’re happy to be where we are but we hate to have to sit out this week,” mentioned West coach Adrian Snow. “We’re ready to go again. We want to get back out there and win this thing outright. Sharing is the right thing to do in most cases, but not this one.”

Aligning themselves with the “no-share” philosophy, the West defense was downright miserly in its play against Reagan. The Titans stood their ground against an outstanding quarterback and a potent offensive attack, blanking the Raiders in the first half and allowing only one score in the second. The win marked the sixth time this season that West has held an opposing team to 10 points or less. In conference play, West is giving up slightly less than six points per game.

On the other side of the ball, Slade took several steps forward in his development as a quarterback. Making only his sixth varsity start behind center, Slade ran for 121 yards and one touchdown. He also threw for 126 yards and two touchdowns. His 25-yard strike to Schiem Lindsay late in the second quarter broke a scoreless tie and sent the Titans into halftime leading 7-0.

In the second half, Slade guided the Titans down the field on their opening drive and scored on a seven-yard run. After Reagan answered with a touchdown, he connected with receiver Luke Hedrick on a beautifully-executed pass play that went for a 33-yard score.

“Darion did some very good things back there and you love to see that in a big-game setting,” Snow noted. “But we received big plays from a bunch of people on both sides of the ball.”

That list included Kedlin Huntley, a speedy 5’5” junior defensive back and return man. Huntley nixed Reagan’s best offensive march of the first half by picking off a pass deep in West territory. But his most impressive contribution occurred in the third quarter when he returned a punt 69 yards for a score that boosted the West lead to 27-7.

In the fourth quarter, Kealand Dirks closed out the scoring with a 12-yard TD run. Dirks, West’s top running back, finished with 101 yard rushing. He currently has 1178 rushing yards and has scored 11 TDs.

Defensively, end Quintin Brinkley continued to be dominant force. The Titan senior finished with three sacks and one fumble recovery. For the season, he now has 91 total tackles and 22 sacks.