Storm runs past Central

GREENSBORO | Central Davidson football fans are used to seeing a dominant athlete running for huge yardage.

Friday night, that athlete was wearing the wrong uniform.

Southern Guilford junior Reggie Gallaspy ran for 219 yards and three touchdowns, and the Storm defense did just enough to hold off Central 28-21 in a Mid-Piedmont Conference showdown. One week after Central held the dynamic Ledford tandem of George Melvin and Dalton Harris in check in a victory over the Panthers, the Spartans couldn’t contain Gallaspy.

“We did not play our best football in the first half,” Central coach Chad Tedder said. “We took the first drive and drove it down their throat and scored.

“Then they just sat back and said, ‘Oh, this is gonna be easy.’ Defensively and offense, we didn’t play our best … We played a little better in the second half and gave ourselves a chance. That’s a really good football team, and they’ve got a really good running back. That sucker’s pretty dang good.”

As good as Gallaspy was — he ran for 148 yards and two scores in the first half, and his 1-yard plunge gave the Storm a 21-7 lead late in the third quarter — Central found a way to hang around. Marquez Stiller, who ran for 73 yards, found paydirt from 5 yards out midway through the fourth quarter, and just like that, Central was within striking distance at 21-14. That capped off a 14-play, 77-yard drive on which the Spartans converted two third downs and a fourth down.

But Southern responded with the kind of drive that proves why the Storm is sitting near the top of the MPC standings. Gallaspy chewed up enough yardage to drain the clock then, facing third-and-15 from the Central 41 with 2:15 left to play and a 21-14 lead, Southern coach Darryl Brown called timeout to mull the crucial play coming up. With Central keying on Gallaspy, Quentin Mitchem — listed on the roster as a wide receiver but pressed into quarterback duties by injuries to the two guys in front of him — faked a jet sweep to the star back and lofted a beautiful strike to Terrell Hair for a 41-yard touchdown.

“We have faced a tremendous amount of adversity this season,” Brown said. “Lost seven starters, two quarterbacks, just for something not to go there way and them step up and make plays, that shows a lot of character.

“That was a huge play, and a great catch by Terrell Hair. Great throw by Quentin, he had some time, just sent Reggie in motion and figured some eyes would be on him. But, you play to win. That was a chance for us to make a big play.”

Central responded with a big play of its own. Chris Moore threw a bomb down the left sideline for Brandon Capuano, but Southern’s Jamal Williams tipped the pass in the air. Capuano, with his body twisted, tipped it a second time, then came down with it for an unbelievable catch at the 20. He juked one defender then raced to the end zone to get Central back within 28-21 with 1:42 left on the clock.

But the Storm recovered the ensuing onside kick, and Gallaspy closed out the game with a 19-yard run on third-and-17.

The Spartans opened the game on fire, ripping off nice gain after nice gain en route to a 61-yard scoring drive. Capuano took a sweep around the right side for a 1-yard score, putting the visitors in front 7-0 right off the bat. The Spartans then had a chance to create a little breathing room, when Moore pounced on a Southern fumble on the Storm’s fourth play from scrimmage. But, after taking over on the Southern 46, Central was called for an illegal block that created a down-and-distance nightmare for the grind-it-out offense, and they were forced to punt.

“There were a couple of penalties there that got us,” Tedder added. “But, we only turned the ball over once, and we gave ourselves a chance to win.”

Gallaspy scored his first touchdown after that Central drive stalled, racing in from 35 yards out with 2:13 left in the first period. He made it 14-7 late in the half with a 26-yard run after Williams intercepted a Moore pass at midfield and returned it to the Central 23. Then, with Central’s offense struggling in the third quarter, the Storm moved ahead 21-7 on Gallaspy’s last touchdown, this one from a yard out with 1:21 left in the third.

Desmond Mabe led Central with 74 yards on the ground. The Spartans (3-4 overall, 1-2 MPC) host North Forsyth on Friday. Southern moved to 4-4, 2-1.

Jason Queen can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 220, or