DUDLEY - Southern Wayne head football coach Ronnie McClary Jr. has has said all season that his team has the ability to match up with anyone on the gridiron.
He’s seen glimpses of consistent play.
Yet, the positive mentality - much to McClary’s chagrin - remains lacking.
Untimely penalties and miscues inside the red zone proved crucial in a 34-0 loss to West Johnston in Quad County 3A action Tuesday evening.
“We just ended up shooting ourselves in the foot a couple of times…a touchdown called back on a penalty,” McClary said. “We’ve got to get in the mindset we don’t any option but to score [in the red zone]. We can’t get nervous or scared…just have to know what no matter we’re getting either seven points or three points.
“The second half, we started off strong and still didn’t score.”
The Saints took the opening possession after halftime and marched inside the Wildcats’ 10-yard line. A fumble ended the threat and eventually led to a West Johnston score.
Late in the fourth quarter, Southern Wayne advanced inside the 10-yard line again and threw an interception. The Wildcats, again, converted the turnover into a touchdown.
West Johnston forced three turnovers on downs, including one at its own 3-yard line in the second quarter. The Saints punted twice in the opening half.
“We just have to work on, mentally, that we can play with everybody we line up against,” said McClary, whose team accumulated 182 yards of total offense on 71 plays.
Adam Cain led the ground attack with 46 yards on 15 carries. Wadshon Pierre-Louis grinder out 39 yards on 19 totes, while quarterback Josh Kearney scrambled for 16 yards.
Kearney completed 5 of 22 passes. Kevin Brown (23 yards) and Daylan Kornegay (20 yards) hauled in two receptions apiece. Pierre-Louis snagged a 10-yard catch.
Southern Wayne (1-8 overall, 0-6 QCC) wraps up its 2021 campaign Friday at county rival Charles B. Aycock. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Hardy Talton Stadium in Pikeville.