The Mint Hill Times
Anthony Carrothers and the Independence offense were effective as usual Friday night. The Patriots also took advantage of several Hopewell turnovers and costly penalties.
Hopewell fumbled the ball in three straight possessions in the second half which led to three straight touchdowns by Independence.
“I thought the defense played with a lot of intensity and really got after it,” said head coach Tom Knotts. “We wanted to play more assignment football than what we played against Mallard Creek. We didn’t play our assignments last week but we did tonight.”
Carrothers finished the night with 289 yards and three touchdowns on 16-24 passing.
“He’s a special special player, he’s grown up a lot,” said Knotts. “He throws it on the money.”
Other key players on offense were Kierre Brown and Nyjee Fleming. Despite fumbling the kick return to start the game, Brown caught six passes for 173 yards and 2 scores. Fleming punched in two 3-yard touchdowns for the Patriots.
• Courtland Carson and Jeremy Inglesi forced the first fumble with a sack at 10:04 in the third quarter. Inglesi recovered the fumble and returned it 47 yards to put the Patriots up 28-6.
• Leonard Gleaves recovered a fumble on the next possession at the Hopewell 27 yard line. That led to a 5 yard rushing score by Carlton Brown after a pass interference penalty against Hopewell.
•The next possession linebacker Jebarri Cuffie forced another fumble that was recovered by Chris Brundage. Independence would later score on a 10 yard touchdown pass from Carrothers to Kierre Brown.
Independence faces a tough opponent in South Pointe on the road next week.“They’re probably the best in North and South Carolina so we got our work cut out for us,” said Knotts. South Pointe went 15-0 and won the South Carolina 4A state championship last season.
-Senior DB Leonard Gleaves celebrated his birthday with a fumble recovery early in the second half
-Sophomore Jarri McCoy-Williams and several other second stringers got some playing time with 9:30 left in the game. Williams threw an interception in the end zone that was returned to the Patriot’s 18 yard line. He made up for it by scoring on a 14 yard run with just over a minute left in the game.
-After Fleming’s second touchdown of the night Hopewell was called for a neutral zone infraction penalty during the extra point try. The Patriots lined up like they were going to attempt to a 2 point conversion but then called a timeout and kicked another PAT.
More photos from tonight’s game: