APA's defense shines in victory over nemesis
Shy Thompson (11) picks up some of his 225 yards rushing during Friday’s win against Rocky Mount Academy. He finished with 270 total yards. Photo by William ‘Bud’ Hardy / Neuse News
One week removed from one of the worst defensive performances in program history, Arendell Parrott Academy used defense to defeat their nemesis Friday night.
The Patriots (4-2) shut out defending NCISAA 2A 8-man champion Rocky Mount Academy in the second half on their way to a 46-28 victory against the Eagles (2-3) on Homecoming Night at Hodges Field.
The victory was especially sweet for the Patriots as they entered Friday’s contest with a four-game losing streak against RMA – including last season’s 66-60 overtime loss in the state championship game.
The game was tied at the half following a pair of Shy Thompson touchdown runs, a short Blake Smith TD plunge and a long scoring pass from Zach Vendemia to Matthew Huntley. However, APA also gave up two touchdown passes to 2017 8-man MVP Isaiah Thomas as the Eagles forged a 28-28 score at the half.
APA coach Matt Beaman said he told his team at halftime they were playing for their playoff lives.
“I told them they’re not assured of anything right now,” he said. “We win this game, we’re in a pretty good situation but if we lose, they’re not promised anything. We told our seniors their days are numbered – if they want to play extra games, they needed to dig deep and execute.”
But after giving up four first-half touchdowns – on the heels of giving up 60 points a week earlier at Raleigh St. David’s (tied for the sixth-most points surrendered in a game in program history) – the Patriots shut out the Eagles in the second half.
“The defense really stepped up and played their assignments,” Beaman said. “In the first half, it wasn’t like (RMA) was marching down the field, it was just big plays – blown coverage here or a blown coverage there. We shored up those things and it helped us be successful.”
In particular, the Pats did a fine job slowing down Thomas.
“He can beat you with his legs or his arm,” Beaman said of RMA’s 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior quarterback. “We started sending more pressure, covering him with two on the back end. Giving him more pressure really seemed to frustrate him.”
Smith added two more short scoring runs – he finished with six carries for 5 yards and three TDs – and the APA defense forced a safety to complete the scoring.
Parrott finished with 442 yards of offense and was led by Thompson, who had 225 yards rushing on 24 attempts and 45 yards receiving on three catches. Vendemia completed six of his 12 passes for 120 yards and a score while passing for one two-point conversion and running for another. The Patriots host Raleigh Grace Christian next Friday night for Senior Night activities.
RMA finished with an even 400 yards of offense and was led by Thomas, who threw for 178 yards. Junior halfback Oliver Bissett added 150 yards rushing on 13 carries while Jacob Braddy had 58 yards rushing and 62 yards receiving.
Arendell Parrott Academy 46, Rocky Mount Academy 28
RMA 14 14 0 0 -- 28
APA 16 12 8 10 -- 46
RMA—Oliver Bissett 69 run (Bissett kick), 9:58
APA—Shy Thompson 4 run (Thompson run), 9:09
APA—Matthew Huntley 49 pass from Zach Vendemia (Huntley pass from Vendemia), 6:28
RMA—Jacob Braddy 44 pass from Isaiah Thomas (Bissett kick), 3:22
APA—Blake Smith 2 run (run failed), 11:19
RMA—Thomas 5 run (Braddy run), 6:38
APA—Thompson 25 run (pass failed), 5:19
RMA—Caleb Chesis 52 pass from Thomas (run failed), 4:32
APA—Smith 1 run (Vendemia run), 6:35
APA—Safety: Thomas tackled in end zone, 9:09
APA—Smith 1 run (Thompson run), 8:22
First downs 11 14
Rushes-yards 41-222 49-322
Comp-att-int 7-11-2 6-12-0
Passing yards 178 120
Total yards 400 442
Punts 1-44.0 3-43.0
Fumbles/lost 4-1 2-1
Penalties 7-61 10-85
Rushing: RMA—Oliver Bissett 13-150, Jacob Braddy 10-58, Isaiah Thomas 16-8, Jackson Bryant 2-6. APA—Shy Thompson 24-225, Trey McLawhorn 12-52, Zach Vendemia 5-31, George Cobb 1-11, Blake Smith 6-5, Matthew Huntley 1-(minus-2).
Passing: RMA—Thomas 7-9-1, 178; Bryant 0-2-1, 0. APA—Vendemia 6-12-0, 120.
Receiving: RMA—Braddy 2-62, Caleb Chesis 1-52, Bryant 3-43, Thorne Pruden 1-21. APA—Huntley 2-49, Thompson 3-45, Jonah Beaman 1-26.