KANNAPOLIS, N.C. -- In a battle of ranked teams from different classifications Friday, 4A Indian Trail Porter Ridge roared past 3A Kannapolis A.L. Brown in the second half to a 41-14 victory.
Ranked sixth in the state and third in the Observer’s Sweet 16, the Porter Ridge Pirates scored 34 unanswered points between the second and fourth quarters. The game was tied 14-14 at halftime.
The A.L. Brown Wonders, ranked No. 1 in the state and sixth in the Sweet 16, committed five turnovers as they lost toPorter Ridge for the second straight year by a nearly identical score. A.L. Brown’s only regular season loss in 2011 was to Porter Ridge, 41-13.
Winning at head coach Blair Hardin’s alma mater, Porter Ridge stretched its regular season win streak to 22 games. A 2000 A.L. Brown graduate, Hardin was welcomed by family and friends on the field after the game.
Several Porter Ridge players were key as the Pirates scored on five of six possessions between the end of the first half and the four-minute mark of the fourth quarter.
Junior Jerrick Robbins started the comeback with a 27-yard touchdown catch with 10.8 second remaining in the second quarter. He added a 22-yard scoring run with 8:56 left in the final period as Porter Ridge built a 28-14 lead. Robbins’ two interceptions led the team’s defensive effort in the fourth quarter.
The quarterback tandem of Nick Vagnone and Zach Danielson passed for 97 yards and three touchdowns.
Vagnone’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Luke Bayly early in the third quarter gave Porter Ridge its first lead. Chris Duffy rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns in the second half on 12 carries. He finished with 140 yards on 18 rushes.
“We didn’t change our game plan,” said Hardin. “We saw multiple things in the first half. We just came out (in the second half) and stayed true to our plan.”
Keeon Johnson’s 15-yard touchdown pass from Keenan Medley gave the Wonders a first quarter lead. Medley scored on a 19-yard run in the second quarter. A.L. Brown’s Kalif Phillips rushed for a game-high 146 yards on 15 carries.
Porter Ridge scored both of its first half touchdowns following the Wonders miscues. After recovering a Brown fumble at its own 44, Porter Ridge drove 56 yards to tie the game 7-7 with 10 minutes, five seconds left in the second quarter.
Trailing 14-7, Casey Hardison recovered a blocked field goal attempt to set up Porter Ridge at its own 48 with 3:29 left in the second quarter. Bayly’s 27-yard catch-and-run to the A.L. Brown 29 on third-and-28 preceded Robbins’ 27-yard touchdown catch from Danielson just before halftime.