VALDESE — Draughn quarterback Braxton Cox became Burke County’s all-time single-season passing touchdown record holder with a pair of touchdowns to tight end Nick Chriso in Friday’s Senior Night win over rival East Burke to end the regular season, 38-7.
The victory left the Wildcats (7-4, 5-2 Northwestern Foothills 2A Conf.) in a tie for second place in the NWFAC with Bunker Hill, which also claimed a victory on the night and earned the tiebreaker via a win over DHS earlier. That means Draughn’s likely first playoff berth since 2012 will be as a wild-card entry.
Cox tied the record with an 11-yard scoring strike before hitting his fellow senior on a 10-yard TD with just 14 seconds to play. Cox finished 24 of 39 through the air for 333 yards, also adding a 40-yard rushing TD to put Draughn on the board in the first quarter.
Chrisco reeled in 10 of those passes for 124 yards, Denver Treadway caught eight for 120, Khe-nai Banks corralled four targets for 52 yards and Beckett Nelson nabbed two for 37 yards.
Nelson also scored twice on special teams, scooping and scoring from 50 yards away when the Cavaliers (2-9, 1-6) fumbled in punt formation in the second quarter before taking the opening kickoff of the second half 78 yards to the house.
Defensively, Treadway also grabbed two interceptions and teammate Robbie Gibby added another.
EB senior running back Josh Moore also set a record, scoring his 41st varsity rushing TD to establish a new Cavaliers’ career mark on a 1-yard dive in the first quarter to tie the game, 7-7.
QB Seth Pruitt, also a senior, completed 14 of 30 passes for 186 yards, hitting receivers Luke Coble (5-105), Johnny Reynolds (5-53) and Chase Childers (4-28). Coble also grabbed an interception on defense.
Freedom 50, McDowell 24
Chase Young rushed for 156 yards and three touchdowns, and the Patriots (7-4, 4-2 Northwestern 3A/4A Conf.) completed 16 of 17 pass attempts for 249 yards to close the regular season with a fifth straight win over the rival Titans on Friday in Marion.
More importantly, Freedom remained tied for second place in the conference with the victory after another victory earlier in the day when it won an early three-way draw for the NWC’s No. 2 state playoff bid over Alexander Central and Hickory, coach Luke Little said.
Freedom led 24-0 early and was never pushed, with senior quarterback Jayden Birchfield (8 for 9, 152 yards) replaced at halftime by freshman Ty Little (8 for 8, 97 yards). Birchfield — who leads the county with 36 total offensive TDs for the year after setting the record last year with 42 — played his first varsity snaps at receiver in the second half and caught two passes for 38 yards. He also had an interception on defense.
Desmond Caldwell had six catches for 143 yards and a TD apiece from Birchfield and Little, who also found Damien Dula for a passing score. Demorian Burgess returned an interception 100 yards for Freedom’s final TD.
Hibriten 52, Patton 0
The visiting Panthers (4-7, 3-4 NWFAC) fell short in a last-ditch playoff push Friday in Lenoir as Hibriten wrapped up its fourth consecutive undefeated conference title season.
Marcus Jones caught two first-half touchdown passes from Daren Perry and Zion Norwood rushed for scores of 80 and 52 yards for Hibriten, who led 35-0 by halftime and ushered in the running clock with 6:31 left in the third period.
Patton’s Weston Fleming had 58 total yards of offense (35 passing), Jackson Vance rushed for 34 yards and Bryson Ratliff had 43 yards from scrimmage (28 receiving).