Cardinals advance with 12-0 victory
The Union Academy Cardinals played stifling defense in a 12-0 victory over South Stanly in the first round of the 1A state playoffs on Friday night.
The fourth-seeded Cardinals (6-5) got on the board early in the second quarter when freshman running back Manasseh Missick took a first down handoff and scored from 14 yards out on the right side. The point after was blocked by Malix Lomax.
The Cardinals' defense held the fifth-seeded Rebel Bulls (3-9) to three-and-outs on consecutive possessions.
Cardinals quarterback Craig Twele made South Stanly pay after the latter by finding receiver Maliq Pando down the right seam for a 72-yard touchdown and a 12-0 lead with 4:07 left in the second quarter.
Twele hit Pando for a 24-yard pass on the first play of the next possession, marking the last of eight consecutive completions.
Twele recorded 167 yards on 8-of-15 passing in the first half with a touchdown and no interceptions.
Pando had all three of his receptions in the first half for 120 yards.
South Stanly moved the ball on the ground in the fourth quarter.
The Rebel Bulls had the ball third-and-one at the Cards' 15 when Olin Austin forced Bulls running back Rassoul Parsons to fumble one-yard deep in the back field.
Logan Pautz recovered the ball for the Cardinals to end the threat.
After getting the ball back again at their own 43, South Stanly moved to the Cards' 24 in five plays.
But UA bowed up again on defense, forcing two incompletions to bring up fourth-and-six in which a swing pass to Dakota Lewellen was stopped two yards short of a first down by Pautz and Jake Cadle with 3:20 left in the game.
The Cards' offense finally picked up their first first down of the second half on a 10-yard rush by Christian Almeida.
A second first down was picked up on an offsides penalty on third-and-four and Almeida rushed for eight yards two plays later to seal the game.
The Cardinals will go on the road for a rematch with Albemarle in the second round Friday.