WAXHAW, N.C. -- The Ardrey Kell Knights broke a three-game losing skid against non-conference rival the Marvin Ridge Mavericks with a 31-21 road win Friday.
The teams, separated by just a few miles across the Mecklenburg and Union County border, played close through three quarters until Ardrey Kell sealed it midway through the fourth.
Ardrey Kell (1-0) led 24-21 with nine minutes, 40 seconds remaining in the game. Marvin Ridge (0-1) drove for the lead, but was stopped a half-yard short on fourth-and-two at the Knights’ 43.
Ardrey Kell took possession and spent nearly four minutes on the clock, scoring on Kalen Elkins’ 11-yard pass to Trey Ellis for the final score.
With the Mavericks holding a 3-0 lead late in the first quarter, Jake Elliot blocked a Marvin Ridge punt and returned it 41-yards for a touchdown to swing the game in Ardrey Kell’s favor.
The ball deflected backwards and Elliot scooped it up on a bounce. He ran into the endzone, herded by fellow teammates.
Ardrey Kell struck quickly after Elliott’s play, scoring on consecutive possessions for a 21-10 lead.
After an errant Marvin Ridge punt gave the Knights possession at the 50, Quay Gilmore burst up the middle on the next play – nearly untouched – for a score. The touchdown run came just 36-seconds after Elliott’s touchdown.
On the next Ardrey Kell possession, Elkins found a wide-open Reginald Woods down Knight’s sideline for a 55-yard touchdown pass with 7:51 remaining in the half.
Ardrey Kell’s big-play touchdowns sandwiched a Marvin Ridge 14-yard touchdown pass from Turner Schwartz to Derek Smith on the first play of the second quarter. Freshman Aaron Pilkington replaced Schwartz, a sophomore, at quarterback on the following Mavericks’ possession.
Once Pilkington entered, Marvin Ridge used its arm to put pressure on the Ardrey Kell secondary by throwing deep downfield. The tactic netted three first half pass interference penalties.
Marvin Ridge kicker Tyler Cochran opened and closed the first half scoring with field goals of 31- and 18-yards. The second kick cut the Knights’ lead to 21-13 at halftime.