Sharp runs for 335; Mellott saves day for Carrboro
Call it the Lazarus Play if you want. Carrboro quarterback Rowe Mellott called his game-saving play simply “a great feeling.”
Mellott was looking to have a stellar night at quarterback when conditioning and a nagging hip problem sidelined him in the third quarter against Cedar Ridge.
But there he was on the final play of the game, resurrected and sprawling airborne to block what would have been the winning field goal on the last play of the game, preserving the Jaguars 39-38 come-from-behind victory.
“Somebody had to make a play, and I just felt like as a senior, as a captain, I had to step up and make that play, block that field goal and win the game,” Mellott said.
“I just hustled off the edge. Nobody blocked me and I got it clean. It was a great feeling. That was my way of showing my teammates I’m still here, I’m still making plays, and I’ve got y’alls back,” he said.
The heart-stopping season opener was the first win for new Carrboro coach Melvin Griffin.
“Both teams played hard. It was a will of attritions, last man standing type of battle, coming down to the last play,” Griffin said.
First-year coach Clay Jones of Big Eight 3-A Conference member Cedar Ridge fell in his debut against the Mid-State 2-A Conference Jaguars.
Despite Mellott’s heroics, the story of the game was Carrboro running back Trai Sharp, back from an injury that sidelined him most of last season. He ran 24 times for 335 yards, including thrilling touchdown gallops of 71, 64, 6, and 4 yards.
“I’ve been dreaming about this ever since last season,” Sharp said. “I felt great. I felt like the old me again.”
“All those yards are nice but we won the game tonight, and that’s what really matters,” he said. And they were able to win it on his game-tying, 4-yard TD sprint on Carrboro’s last series, set up by his 57-yard run with time running out.
“I got the ball, the hole was wide open, the linebacker was kind of slow and I busted by him. I got past the corner and the safety got me” at the 8 yardline, Sharp said. “I was ready. I got back up and punched it in” after an offsides call against Cedar Ridge put the ball at the 4.
With just 1:08 remaining, Cedar Ridge quarterback Peyton Pappas moved the Red Wolves into scoring position. But Mellott batted down Dylvan Livingston’s 34-yard field goal attempt. Pappas had TD runs of 7, 6, and 2 yards, and threw scoring passes of 72 yards to running back Julius Walton and 32 yards to Chris McKoy.
“It was a great effort from the kids to come down there and drive down the field and get in that position,” Jones said.
“Julius carried the ball well tonight, Chris McKoy had some big receptions, John Hall finally got a touch, and [wide receiver] Simon Little came up big on that last drive,” Jones said.
“I know the stats are going to say Trai Sharp had an outstanding night, which is true, but all in all that was a team effort,” Griffin said.
“Grayson Magee made some plays, Austin Martin caught a touchdown, Thad Carey caught an interception,” Griffin said.
“You’ve got to give Adam Bussian credit” for coming in to replace the injured Mellot, he said. “In the third quarter, fourth quarter, Adam Bussian did a great job, so it was a team effort.”
“It came down to extra points,” Griffin said. Cedar Ridge had one extra point blocked and misfired on four 2-point conversion attempts. Cedar Ridge blocked two Carrboro extra point attempts and the Jaguars missed a third.
“I’m not going to lie to you I did have second thoughts” about going for a 2-point conversion with the game tied 38-38, Griffin said. But he decided to stick with kicker Matt Junker, who booted in the winning point.
CARRBORO 39, CEDAR RIDGE 38
Cedar Ridge |12|18|0|8 — 38
Carrboro |20|6|0|13 — 39
C—Greyson Magee 52 pass (Matthew Junker kick), 9:28
CR—Peyton Pappas 6 run (Dylan Livingston kick blocked), 6:09
C—Trai Sharp 64 run (Junker kick), 5:51
CR—Pappas 7 run (2-point conversion fails), 2:04
C—Austin Martin 37 pass (Junker kick blocked), 1:10
CR—Julius Walton 72 pass (2-point conversion fails), 11:43
C—Sharp 6 run (Junker kick blocked), 9:12
CR—Chris McKoy 32 pass (2-point conversion fails), 7:47
CR—McKoy 25 run. (2-point conversion fails), 4:39
C—Sharp 71 run (Junker kick fails), 9:02
CR—Pappas 2 run (2-point conversion John Hall pass), 2:55
C—Sharp 4 run (Junker kick), 1:18
RUSHING— Cedar Ridge Julius Walton 12-74, Peyton Pappas 17-49. Carrboro, Trai Sharp 24-335.
PASSING— Cedar Ridge, Peyton Pappas 17-29-334. Carrboro, Rowe Mellott 6-8-123, Adam Bussian 1-3-5.
RECEIVING— Cedar Ridge, Chris McKoy4-121, Julius Walton 3-109, Simon Little 6-68, Trenton Gill 1-12. Carrboro, Greyson Magee 1-52, Austin Martin 1-37, Darius Glover 2-22, Trai Sharp 1-16.
Records—Cedar Ridge 0-1, Carrboro 1-0