VALDESE — Homecoming never felt so good in Wildcat Country.
Braxton Cox threw for three touchdowns, Trent Corn ran for three touchdowns and the Draughn football team won its first-ever running-clock game at home Friday over Patton, 44-6.
The Wildcats (5-2, 3-0 Northwestern Foothills 2A Conf.) extended their program-record win streak to five games, scoring on six straight possessions — including four straight to end the first half — and pitching the shutout until under 5 minutes to play in the game.
Cox completed 10 of 17 passes for 302 yards, finding Khe-nai Banks twice (77, 21 yards) and Nick Chrisco once (66 yards). Banks had four catches for 113 yards, Denver Treadway had three catches for 91 yards and Chrisco had two for 88.
Corn rushed 18 times for 63 yards and scores covering 3, 11 and 3 yards. Ahead 20-0, Corn set up a Ryan Kaminske 26-yard field goal with an interception near midfield, the game’s lone turnover.
Then with just 1:11 left in the half, Draughn got a stop and score from Cox to Banks in the back corner of the end zone to up 30-0.
In addition to Corn (½ tackle for loss), Draughn’s defensive gem was led by Mason Pratt (two sacks), Donnell Wilkins (1½ TFL), Chrisco (TFL), Zach Poteet (TFL), Donavan King (TFL), Beckett Nelson (pass breakup) and Alex Carter (pass breakup).
Minus its top two tailbacks due to injury, Ethan Pons ran for a team-high 34 yards for Patton (1-5, 0-2 NWFAC) and quarterback Weston Fleming added 26 total yards with a 12-yard TD run late.
Kalen Byrd added 17 yards, a blocked punt and a tackle for loss, Bryson Ratliff had a tackle for loss and a pass breakup, and Demetric Greene and Rico Barrino also had stops for loss.
Hickory 23, Freedom 22
A 22-3 second-half rally wasn’t enough as the Patriots (4-3, 1-1) suffered a stunning loss to Northwestern 3A/4A Conference foe Hickory on the road Friday night.
A 20-0 halftime deficit was further complicated by the loss of senior quarterback Jayden Birchfield to a back injury, but the Freedom running game came alive after the break as Mekhi Spates, Cam Silvers and Chase Young scored touchdowns for the offense led by freshman backup Ty Little.
But Hickory’s three second-half points — on a 36-yard field goal — were enough for the Red Tornadoes to hold on as two late Freedom drives were torpedoed by turnovers.
The loss was Freedom’s first to Hickory since 2009 and the Patriots’ first league defeat in the current NWC alignment at the hands of any team other than Watauga or Alexander Central.
W. Iredell 43, EB 20
In a game in which they never led Friday in Icard, two of Josh Moore’s three rushing touchdowns brought the Cavaliers (2-4, 1-1 NWFAC) within single digits, including midway through the third period at 29-20.
But the Warriors’ defense held East Burke scoreless afterward as the Cavs’ hopes were dampened by injuries to Seth Pruitt and Brett Childers, the team’s top two options at quarterback who also hold significant roles on defense.
Down 29-7 quickly to open the second half, Moore took a 57-yard pass from Pruitt to the end zone to cap a quick drive. His 9-yard TD run 4 minutes later kept EB within striking distance until falling down by 16 on a Warriors TD late in the third. The guests’ final score came in the opening minute of the fourth.
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