North Cross rolls in 50-14 win over Fork Union at home

North Cross rolls in 50-14 win over Fork Union at home 150 150 SWVA High School Sports

Willis Field, Roanoke,VA -There’s a good chance that if you arrived late to Saturday’s North Cross vs. Fork Union game you missed a score or two. It took North Cross :11 seconds to dent the scoreboard with their first offensive play of the game. A little over a minute later, Fork Union matched that with a rushing touchdown of their own. So before fans had warmed their seats, and with only a minute and a half gone, it was 7-7. That’s where the ‘tit for tat’ stopped though, as the Raiders “opened up a can of…” from there, notching an impressive 50-14 win to move to 2-0 on the season. Fork Union dropped their first game (1-1).

Qtr 1 – North Cross came out with both guns blazing. Coach Stephen Alexander made that first play call on the fly. “We rarely run 5-wide, 5 receivers. Carlton (RB 12 Ward) allows us to get into that because he’s such a good receiver. It gives us another dimension. We had just worked on it on

Thursday and I thought it was a good fit. Gabe (QB 9 Zappia) made a great throw and (WR 1 Cann) Ian made a great catch and run.” Zappia’s pass was perfect, splitting the linebackers in the middle of the field. Cann did the rest with his speed and “shake,” finishing off the

North Cross RB/DB 12 Carlton Ward (Photo Capt’n Crunch)


80-yard jaunt. K 55 Vedan Muse booted the point after. Fork Union head coach, Mark Shuman, credited the Raiders, “They’re well coached. We have a lot of respect for Coach Alexander, Coach Tayl

Fork Union RB 2 V’Jon Hampton is hemmed in by Raider Defenders LB 8 Conner Lange and DL 53 Chase Daniel  Photo Capt’n Crunch

or and their staff. They only have 19 or 20 guys but they play hard.” Shuman’s troops answered the Raiders first score with a quick, three play series of their own. The drive culminated with Senior RB 2 V’Jon Hampton (10/34, TD rush; 3/44


rec) darting through the middle of the line and finishing off a 30-yard run. From there though, the Raider defense tightened their grip.


Both defenses stepped up on the next series forcing punts. The difference though, was North Cross Punter 6 Carter Cole (3/47yd avg), who boomed a 55-yard punt, pinning the Blue Devils back in the shadow of their own goal post. The Raider defense, led in the back end by DB/RB 12 Carlton Ward (2 INTs; 11/102, 2TDs rush; 2/29, TD rec) turned Fork Union over with Ward’s first interception of Senior Blue Devil QB 12 Alex Williams (6/14, 90, 3INTs pass). Ward took the handoff on the next play and motored 43-yards to put North Cross up 14-7 after the extra point. The Senior’s second interception ended Fork Union’s next drive and again Ward turned that into points. The Raiders took three plays this time. Ward ran it in from 21-yards out. The PAT was just wide, making it 20-7 NC at the 4:36 mark. The home team Raiders finished off the quarter with a QB 9 Gabe Zappia’s (14/24, 261, 4TDs) 18-yard “dime” dropped over the shoulder of Sophomore WR 1 Ian Cann (4/115, 2TDs) going down the sideline. Make no mistake Cann was covered, and well, but Zappia’s toss and Cann’s aggressive ball catching ability made this a score. North Cross’ lead grew to 27-7.

North Cross WR 1 Ian Cann hauls in a touchdown pass in the first half under tight coverage by Fork Union DB 23 Xavier Foster (Photo B UNCMN)


Qtr 2 – Ward needed a  ward from Fork Union’s perspective. The Senior was at it again in Q2. Zappia hit number 12 on what looked to be a routine pass that ended in a 30-yard pitch-catch-and score. This is not a misprint. Ward then picked off Williams again near midfield. Fork Union’s Williams had little time to set his feet and throw all day as the undersized and scrappy Raider defensive line kept the heat on. The half ended 34-7 NC.

3rd Qtr – Things didn’t improve for the visiting Blue Devils in the second half. You can thank the North Cross defense for that. Linebackers 3 James Jackson, a UVA signee, (5Tkls, Sack, Hur), 21 Michael Mack (3Tkls) and 10 Zach Morgan (7Tkls, INT, TFL) along with Defensive linemen 53 Chase Daniel (6 Tkls, 2 Sacks, Hur) and 50 Raleigh Cundiff (5Tkls) kept the Blue Devils behind the chains. Daniel sacked new Fork Union QB 18 Kieran Meyer (8/18, 108, TD, INT) on third down on the five yard line. Pinned deep and forced to punt, Fork Union’s fortunes went from bad to worse. Punter 25 Russ Alexander inadvertently took a knee in the end zone on a bobbled snap for a Raider safety.

The Raider defense followed that stand with another on the Blue Devil’s second series. DL 53 Daniel and LB 10 Morgan combined for a sack of QB 18 Meyer. North Cross quickly turned that into more points. Zappia looked to his 6’3″ reciever, WR/LB 3 James Jackson, down the left sidelines. Jackson, earmarked as a future linebacker for UVA, high pointed the toss and strolled into the end zone. The catch pushed the lead to 43-7.

The Raider defense blows up a Blue Devil play with LB 8 Zach Morgan, DL 50 Raleigh Cundiff, LB 10 Zach Morgan, and LB 21 Michael Mack (Photo Capt’n Crunch)


4th Qtr – Fork Union QB 18 Meyer showed his mettle with a TD toss to WR/LB 16 Dominic Julius on a 14-yard slant pattern across the middle. K19 Matthew Ward’s PAT was good. To cap off the afternoon, DB 7 Cross Thompson completed the day with a ‘pick 6’ interception. The Junior, snagged Meyer’s pass near midfield. He outran one defender down the hashmarks. James Jackson hustling ahead of Thompson got a key block on the last player with a chance, to complete the score. This was Cross’s second defensive touchdown in as many games.

That put the final nail in the coffin and capped off another impressive North Cross win. These two teams are scheduled to meet again at Fork Union on October 30th later this month. That could be worth the trip.

Offense: RushingNorth Cross– Ward 11-102, 2TDs, Jackson 1-10, Zappia 2-3, Team- 2-(-10). Fork Union– Hampton 10-34 TD, Wallace 4-37, Meyer 7-17, Williams 1-0, Alexander 1-(-5) PassingNorth Cross– Zappia 14-24,261,4TDs. Fork Union– Williams 6-14,90,3INTs, Meyer 8/18,108,TD,INT ReceivingNorth Cross– Cann 4-115,2TDs, Jackson 3-42,TD, Mack 3-26, Ward 2-29,TD, Hines 1-36, Cole 1-3. Fork Union– Hampton 3-44, Wallace 3/21, Mayfield 2/44, Billingslea 2/13, Dominique Julius 1-26, Williams 1/23, Dominic Julius 1/14,TD, Bolduc 1/9. PuntingNorth Cross– Carter Cole 3-47. Fork Union 3-22.

Defense: TacklesNorth CrossMorgan 7,INT,TFL, Jackson 5,Sack,Hur, Daniel 6, 2 Sacks, Cundiff 5, Lange 4, Mack 3, Hines 3, BU, Thompson 2, INT, Ward 2 INTs, (several with 1); Fork UnionWallace 3, Billingslea 2, Hampton 2, Williams 2, Jordan 2, (several with 1)


  • NC: Zappia to Cann 80-yd TD pass; Muse PAT
  • FU: Hampton 30-yd TD run; Ward PAT
  • NC: Ward 43-yd TD run; Muse PAT
  • NC: Ward 21-yd TD run; Muse PAT missed
  • NC: Zappia to Cann 18-yd TD pass; Muse PAT
  • NC: Zappia to Ward 30-yd TD pass: Muse PAT
  • NC: Safety
  • NC: Zappia to Jackson 31-yd TD pass; Muse PAT
  • FU: Meyer to Dominic Julius 14-yd TD pass; Ward PAT
  • NC: Thompson 49-yd INT for TD; Muse PAT


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