The Grimsley Whirlies and the Glenn Bobcats squared off Friday night in a NCHSAA 3rd Round Playoff game at Jamieson Stadium to determine which team would advance to the Western Regional Final on Friday, December 6.
Glenn fell behind early before taking advantage of a turnover to score with thirty seconds remaining in the first half to cut the deficit to 16-8. With Glenn receiving the kickoff at the start of the 2nd half, it appeared that the momentum was swinging to the Bobcats. After taking the kickoff, Glenn started its possession on its own 35-yard line. After two plays netted 4 yards, sophomore quarterback Camden Coleman dropped back and threw a pass to the sideline. Grimsley linebacker Cam Allison reacted perfectly and stepped in front of the Glenn receiver and picked the ball off at the 45-yard line. Dodging several would-be Bobcat tacklers, Allison returned the pick for a touchdown that proved to be the final nail in the coffin for Glenn. The Bobcats could not emotionally recover from this turnover and were unable to mount any challenge to Grimsley in the final half. The result was Grimsley winning easily 32-8 and advancing the Western 4-A final.
After the first few offensive possessions of the game, it appeared the game might be a defensive struggle. However, Glenn finally got its offense moving midway through the first period driving from its own 24-yard line to the Grimsley 26. The drive stopped when Grimsley defensive back Darryl Motley intercepted Coleman’s pass at the Whirlies’ 15-yard line. Following the turnover, it took little time for Grimsley to get its first score. After a pass from quarterback Chris Zellous to Jaquavion Mayo earned a first down at the 32-yard line, running back Quan Nora took the handoff and scampered 68 yards for the first score of the game. Grimsley went for 2 points after the touchdown and were successful with a pass from Zellous to Sincere Burnette. With 2:52 showing on the clock, the Whirlies led 8-0.
Glenn drove down the field again following the kickoff and reached the Grimsley 9-yard line before a fumble a loss of 12 yards. A fourth down pass from the 21-yard line was incomplete, and the Whirlies took over. On the very first play, Nora found a seam in the defense and outran all of the Bobcat defenders on his way to a 79-yard touchdown dash. The Whirlies went to two points again and were up 16-0 after Zellous found Lawson Albright in the end zone.
Both offenses stalled at this point exchanging punts before Grimsley regained possession with 2:49 left in the first half. Facing a third-and-one at their own 34-yard line, the handoff between Zellous and Noir was botched resulting in a fumble that was recovered at the Whirlies’ 31-yard line by the Bobcats Kedrick Green. Glenn had 1:30 to score and they succeeded. Facing a fourth-and-two at the 10-yard line, Coleman fired a strike to Aronson Cook for the score. Daniel Napper ran for the two-point conversion, and the Bobcats trailed 16-8 as the half came to a close.
The second half opened with the Allison pick-six, and the remaining eleven minutes of the third period were scoreless. Grimsley did have two excellent chances to score, but miscues curtailed the opportunities. On the Whirlies’ first possession of the half, they drove it to the Glenn 4-yard line before a fumble resulted in a loss of 14 yards. After the mistake, Grimsley turned it over on downs at the 12-yard line. After Glenn was unable to muster any offense and punted, Grimsley started its next drive at the Glenn 46. The Whirlies moved to the Bobcats’ 17-yard line, but were unable to earn a first down and Glenn took possession.
The fourth quarter began with Glenn losing yardage on a fumble and then punting again from deep in its own territory. Grimsley enjoyed excellent field position following the punt and found themselves only 37 from pay dirt. It took only four plays for the Whirlies to score as Noir scored his third touchdown of the night on a 15-yard run. Noir also ran for the two-point conversion increasing the Grimsley lead to 32-8 with 9:17 left in the game.
Glenn was unable to garner a first down after receiving the kickoff, and Grimsley took possession at it own 31 with 8:13 remaining in the contest. Using its strong running game, the Whirlies drove to the Glenn one-yard line before Zellous took a knee as the clock wound down to zero.
Grimsley’s tandem of quarterback Chris Zellous and running back Quan Nora were the stars of the Whirlies’ offense as has been the case all year. Nora gained 265 yards on 31 carries with 3 touchdowns. Zellous ran for 61 yards on 11 attempts while completing 5 passes for 60 yards. The Grimsley defense was outstanding as it held Glenn to minus-10 yards of offense in the second half and shut down the Bobcat offense the entire evening.
Glenn quarterback Camden Coleman completed 21 of 34 passing attempts for 136 yards, and receiver Aronson Cook has seven receptions for 79 yards.
With its victory, Grimsley will now face the East Forsyth Eagles this Friday in a rematch of an earlier season game that was won by the Eagles 21-20. That loss is the only blemish on Grimsley’s record this season. The #1 seeded Whirlies will definitely be seeking revenge against #2 seeded East Forsyth, and an outstanding battle in Jamieson Stadium should result.
Meanwhile, Glenn finishes its season with a 9-5 record and can look forward to an even better season in 2020 as the Bobcats lose only 3 of their 22 starters to graduation.