“I was trying to juke him and that didn’t work out, so I just decided to run him over,” said McAlpine, whose 47-yard return sealed the Wolfpack’s 43-14 win over Fellowship Christian on Friday.
Richard Sherrell ran for 166 yards and a touchdown and quarterback Everett Pollard ran for one and threw two more, but Whitefield coach Jimmy Fields saw a sloppy team that fumbled the ball twice and was flagged for too many penalties.
“There was a lack of execution and we were very sporadic (but) despite the sloppiness, the scoreboard shows a win,” said Fields. “Well, this week is a good indicator of when you win, you ain’t as good as you think you are.”
The win didn’t come easy as Fellowship scored on their first offensive play, using a system similar to the one Pollard is in charge of.
“It’s really helpful, but it’s still really hard to stop,” said Pollard, who also starts at defensive end. “It’s just power. You know what’s coming, you just have to take (the man) down.”
No one took down quarterback Hunter Bryant, who sold the fake dive to the tailback and snuck around the line. Before the Wolfpack recognized it, he was finishing a 61-yard run for an early 7-0 lead.
“We had missed assignments and that’s a credit to them. They came out ready to play,” Fields said. “We didn’t get the job done execution-wise.”
Sherrell and Pollard both executed well after the initial score, responded with a two-play drive to tie the game. The ensuing kickoff return was stripped and recovered by Sky Dupree.
Two plays later, Pollard connected with Matt Olson on the third bubble screen of the first quarter. The first two plays went for minimal gain, but the third time was the charm as the sophomore broke past the initial tackle to put the Wolfpack up 13-7 with an 18-yard score.
“They made their share of mistakes (Friday),” said Fields, “that we were able to take advantage of.”
The next one came on a punt by Max Kemether when a Paladin blocker didn’t notice the bouncing ball. It hit off his leg and Whitefield recovered. Sherrell scored five plays later from 13 yards out, part of 23 unanswered points to take a 26-7 halftime lead.
Fellowship attempted to answer back in the third quarter after a Sherrell fumble near midfield. Bryant connected with receiver Dalton Depew for 32 yards to get the Paladins in the red zone. Four plays later on fourth-and-goal from the 5, he hit Conor Linneen on a slant for a touchdown.
McAlpine would follow with a touchdown of his own and Steven Lemasters would recover Sherrell’s second fumble of the game in the end zone for the final score.
“But it’s still a long season and we’ve got a lot of football to play,” Fields said. “There were a lot of missed assignments that need to be corrected for next week.”