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Winston-Salem State football advances to Division II national championship

Sports Page Winston Salem1 Winston Salem State football advances to Division II national championship

Winston-Salem State quarterback Kameron Smith (6)

Winston-Salem State football advances to Division II national championship

Winston-Salem State quarterback Kameron Smith (6) breaks a tackle from West Texas A&M defensive lineman Tyrell Higgins (2) during their Division 2 semifinal college football game on  Dec. 8, 2012, at Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C.  (Photo by Andrew Dye)

By Bill Kiser

     Winston-Salem State is now on the verge of winning its first national championship. For that, the Rams can thank Kameron Smith, Maurice Lewis and their defense’s performance in a 41-18 victory over West Texas A&M on Saturday in the NCAA Division II semifinals. Smith accounted for three touchdowns and Lewis ran for two more scores for second-ranked Winston-Salem State (14-0), which made it to the D-II semifinals last year, only to get upset by Wayne State.

    Now, the Rams take the next step, facing two-time champion Valdosta State (11-2) for the Division II national title next week in Florence, Ala.

    “We did not want a repeat of last year,” said Lewis, who ran for 118 yards, including scoring runs of nine and 11 yards. “(West Texas A&M) didn’t respect our running game, so we had to prove them wrong. Y’all saw what happened.”

    Smith threw for 233 yards and two touchdowns – both 21-yarders, to Monroe native Jameze Massey and Raleigh native Jamal Williams – and tacked on a 23-yard scoring run late in the fourth quarter to seal Winston-Salem State’s win.

    “The whole team played well,” said running back Bryce Sherman, who added 73 rushing yards, including a 32-yard scoring run in the first quarter. “The offensive line was great. They didn’t think we could run the ball on them, so we tried to set the tone by running the ball.”

    Then there was the Rams’ defense, which gave the Buffs (12-3) – especially quarterback Dustin Vaughan – fits throughout Saturday’s game.

Vaughan, who threw for more than 4,500 yards and 44 touchdowns this season, was held to 169 yards, nearly half his season average, and one score, a 16-yarder to Trevor Hammargren in the first quarter that gave West Texas A&M to a 7-0 lead.

    However, Winston-Salem State’s defense kept the pressure on Vaughan, sacking him four times and forcing a pair of interceptions.

    The first, a grab at the line by defensive end Justin Wilkerson, set up Lewis’ first TD run in the second quarter, which put the Rams in the lead. The second, by cornerback Larry Hearne late in the second quarter, allowed Winston-Salem State to take a 20-7 halftime lead.

    “I just told the guys, ‘Keep fighting,’” said linebacker Carlos Fields, who had 10 tackles. “We didn’t do anything different; we just tackled better in the second half.”

    “(Winston-Salem State) played very sound and executed very well,” said Rams head coach Don Carthel. “But we didn’t play as well as we have in the last three weeks. We were lights out those first three weeks, but we didn’t play good football today.”

 

 

 

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    Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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