REIDSVILLE — The Reidsville Rams found themselves in a strange situation Friday night. It was halftime, and they were losing.
Everything else was the same. The Rams were playing on their home field, and they had dealt with the lose-and-you’re-done stakes countless times over the years. The score, however, was Mountain Heritage 14, Reidsville 13.
After a halftime adjustment and a few huge plays, the Rams won the West Region Championship 27-20 over Mountain Heritage, and advanced to the State 2-A title game.
The source of Reidsville’s troubles was Trey Robinson, a 6-foot, 210-pound quarterback who entered the game with 3,004 rushing yards and 43 touchdowns.
On Mountain Heritage’s first possession, Robinson led the Cougars on a 73-yard scoring drive in 10 plays. Robinson ran for 39 yards on the drive and got the touchdown on a one-yard run. The 2-point conversion attempt failed.
The Rams, however, answered back with a big play. With the first play from scrimmage, senior quarterback Titus Jones hit Trevion Canada with a screen pass and watched as Canada broke three tackles and ran 55 yards to the end zone. Zach Baber’s extra point was good, and things seemed normal for Reidsville.
But Robinson and the Cougars kept pounding at the Reidsville defense, using consistent, short gains to move the ball freely.
“He’s an excellent player,” said junior linebacker Trell Rankin, who spent his night meeting Robinson at the line of scrimmage. “He was a problem all night.”
Midway through the second quarter, the Rams used another big play to take back the lead. On third-and-seven from his own 33, Jones bobbled the snap, avoided a sack, scrambled to his left and found Canada open on the 40-yard line.
Again, Canada out-ran the Cougars’ defense to the end zone. Baber’s extra-point attempt was blocked, and the Rams had a 13-6 lead.
But Robinson tossed a 29-yard touchdown pass to Alston Randolph. He ran in the 2-point conversion, and the Rams went to the locker room trailing 14-13.
“We had never been in that situation before, losing at halftime,” said Rankin.
Reidsville coach Jimmy Teague said uncertainty started to show in the Rams’ defense.
“We were doubting ourselves in the first half,” said Rams coach Jimmy Teague “We switched to our basic defense, and that allowed us to play faster.”
Senior linebacker Zion Wade said the Rams’ defense was frustrated.
“We knew what to do, and we knew how to do it, we just weren’t getting it done,” he said. “We had to step it up.”
The Rams got a big boost straight out of the locker room. Their first play was a 43-yard run by Jalen Easley to the Cougars’ 18-yard line. Jones ran it in from there. Jones also ran in the 2-point conversion, and Reidsville was back on top 21-14.
Robinson then scored on a 3-yard run, but the Rams denied him the 2-point conversion.
With the Rams leading 21-20 with 2:27 to play, Canada scored his third touchdown of the night on a 24-yard run. The extra-point attempt by Baber missed.
Trailing 27-20, Mountain View had one more chance.
That chance ended in the hands of Reidsville senior defensive back Cameron Galloway, who intercepted Robinson’s desperate heave.
Now the Rams move on to familiar territory — the state championship game, a title they’ve won 19 time previously. Next Friday at Keenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, Reidsville plays Wallace Rose Hill, who defeated Southwest Onslow 49-7 for the State 2-A East Region Championship.
“Now we get to play for No. 20,” said Rankin.