Jamari Williams gets the Turnover Chain after scooping and scoring with a fumble Friday night against Gray’s Creek. Photo Credit Emily Raynor.

CFNN Football Correspondent Ansley Thomas

Cape Fear traveled across the river to take on the Gray’s Creek Bears Friday night for their last regular season game. This was a must win game for the Colts because it would determine whether the Colts would advance to the playoffs. They came out with the win, 57-27.

Cape Fear Quarterback Cole Wilson drops back to pass against Gray’s Creek Friday night. Photo Credit Emily Raynor.

Cole Wilson, the Colts junior quarterback, was absolutely phenomenal, throwing for 364 yards and 6 touchdowns. Wilson had many options to throw to, specifically receiver RJ McDonald, who turned out an amazing performance himself with 220 yards receiving and a whopping 3 touchdowns. Sophomore standout Jeremiah Melvin had 51 yards and a pair of scores on the night. Seth Jackson had 44 yards and junior speedster Jacary Lightsey had 43 yards and 1 touchdown. 

The Colts started the first quarter strong, forcing a Gray’s Creek punt on their first possession. The Colts first drive stalled, but Tyler Buckley’s punt was muffed by the Bears returner at the Gray’s Creek 18 yard line. The Colts capitalized quickly, as Wilson rolled left on third down and connected with Lightsey in the back corner of the end zone. The Colts never looked back from there, leading 7-0 after Lightsey’s touchdown. 

Jamari Williams celebrates with Avery Moore after scoring its seventh touchdown of the season. Photo credit Emily Raynor

In the second quarter, McDonald snatched a 19 yard reception from Wilson for a touchdown. McDonald followed that up with another acrobatic catch and run for 57 yards. Senior running back/linebacker Keyshon Washington topped it off with a 4 yard touchdown run. 

Grays Creek answered with touchdown runs of 56 and 9 yards. This left the Colts ahead 21-14 at the half. 

In the second half the Colts came out ready to secure the win. They scored on the opening drive of the second half on another connection from Wilson to McDonald. While the Colt defense held fast in the third, Wilson was able to connect on a long pass to Jeremiah Melvin in the corner of the end zone.

The Colts defense continued with their hard-nosed, physical play, swarming to the football and containing a solid Bear rushing attack. Senior Jamari Williams recovered a fumble for a touchdown adding to the list of defensive touchdowns for the Colts. 

The Colt defense makes a stop Friday night. Photo Credit Emily Raynor.

“Knowing this win would guarantee our chance of getting a spot in the playoffs, I knew I had to be at my best defensively,” said Williams. “Whether that’s making a tackle, forcing a fumble, scooping a fumble for a score, or just being a defensive leader for my team. Contributing to the win by scoring on defense really means a lot to me, and I know it meant a lot to our defense to put another score on the board.”

Scoring on defense has started to become a routine for Coach Thomas’ defensive unit, as this was their 7th defensive touchdown of the season. The hungry Colt defense has also notched 2 safeties as well.

“Our philosophy is to bring a lot of pressure and make the offense adjust to us,” said Head Coach Jake Thomas. “We want to play with a ‘make something happen’ attitude. We work turnover circuits every week, and our theme for practices on Wednesdays is ‘Winning Wednesday’ We award extra points to each unit for creating turnovers and to the offense for protecting the football.”

Receiver RJ McDonald between plays Friday night. Photo Credit Emily Raynor.

Gray’s Creek refused to back down, answering with two touchdowns in the fourth, but it wouldn’t be enough, as Wilson picked apart the secondary with the precision of a surgeon, finding Melvin and McDonald again for scores in the fourth. 

¨Coming into this game with the possibility of it being the end of our season, I had to come in with a dog mentality and go crazy for my team and community,¨ said McDonald after the game. 

This was by far the biggest offensive output of the season for the Colts, who needed a win to keep their playoff hopes intact.

“Our receivers continuously made amazing plays throughout the night and their defense had no chance of stopping them,” said Wilson.

They ended the game with 57 points, 21 of those in the fourth quarter. The defense limited the Bears to 27. The win firmly secured an invitation to the Big Dance, ensuring that the Colts will be participating in the 3-A Playoffs next week. With this playoff appearance, the Colts will now have made the playoffs for 8 of the last 9 seasons under Head Coach Jake Thomas. The lone exception being the abbreviated 2020 season. This includes a trip to the State Championship in 2016.

The Colts will now travel to Morehead City Friday night to take on the Patriots of West Carteret High School. Make sure to show your support for the Colts!!