‘Landers drop heartbreaker at Avery

Carter County Sports

In the blink of an eye, the tide turned on the ‘Landers.

Cloudland fell 35-34 to Avery County (N.C.) as the Vikings capitalized on a final minute CHS turnover and scored with 11 seconds remaining to take the win in Newland, N.C.

The ‘Landers fell to 1-3 despite out gaining the homestanding Vikings 439-192.

Cloudland senior Noah Arnett picked up where he left off in Week 3.

Arnett put Cloudland on the board midway through the first quarter to on 2-yard run to give CHS a 6-0 advantage. Sam McCollum, however, answered for Avery a minute later with a 37-yard run with the extra point giving ACHS the lead.

Preston Benfield broke into the end zone from eight yards out as Cloudland took a 12-7 lead into the second stanza.

The Vikings regained the lead in the opening minute of the second quarter as Christian Hicks scrambled for a 44-yard touchdown run. Steven Sanchez pushed the ACHS lead to 21-12 with a 54-yard punt return with 4:01 left in the first half.

Cloudland battled back with an impressive drive that was capped with a 2-yard score by Arnett. That pulled CHS within 21-18 at the half.

The third quarter saw the ‘Landers take control.

Arnett capped off a nine-play drive with a 2-yard run. Josh Blair caught the two-point conversion to push CHS up 26-21. The final minute of the quarter saw Arnett score on a nine-yard run to give Cloudland a 34-31 advantage heading to the fourth quarter.

Avery quickly closed the gap with a 5-yard run from Ethan Johnson with 11:11 to play.

However, the final minutes looked like Cloudland was going to ice the win until the Vikings got a lucky bounce.

Hicks picked up a fumble with a minute on the clock and raced to the Cloudland 20 to set up shop. After converting a fourth and nine, Brett Smith caught a 1-yard pass from Hicks with 11 seconds remaining. The Sanchez extra point gave Avery the win.

For the second straight week, Arnett rushed past 300 yards as he recorded 338 yards on 37 carries with four touchdowns. Benfield added 72 yards on 18 carries while going 1-of-2 passing.

Jacob Singleton caught a pass for the ‘Landers, while Blair added 14 yards rushing.

McCollum had 88 yards rushing, while Hicks went 7-of-15 passing for 91 yards.

Cloudland returns to action on Friday night with a trip to Concord Christian.

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