Sunday, December 10, 2023

Weddington Dominates in Fourth Title Win in Eight Years

RALEIGH – In a spectacular display of dominance, the Weddington Warriors clinched the NCHSAA 4A state championship with a resounding 56-14 victory over the Hoggard Vikings at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, NC. The Warriors' defense played a pivotal role in their triumph, relentlessly shutting down Hoggard's offensive attempts. Led by standout players like Drew Harris and Sam Neely, the Warriors' defense applied unrelenting pressure, accumulating sacks and turnovers that stifled any hopes of a Viking comeback.

The defensive dominance was on full display as Drew Harris and his teammates showcased their skills with a combined total of 8 solo tackles, 24 assists, and multiple tackles for loss. Gannon Anthony made a significant impact with a crucial interception, while Aiden Harris and Matthew Massaro contributed to the defensive dominance with sacks and tackles that kept Hoggard on the backfoot throughout the game. Weddington's defensive unit proved to be an impenetrable force, allowing only 14 points and sealing their championship victory.

The scoring kicked off in the first quarter with the Hoggard Vikings taking an early lead. After Trey Nixon intercepted a Weddington pass and nearly ran it back for a pick-six, quarterback Hudson Wilharm connected with Charlie Kilbourne for a 4-yard touchdown pass, putting the Vikings on the board. However, the Weddington Warriors quickly responded, with Keenan Jackson's 5-yard rushing touchdown, followed by another impressive 27-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Budge to Jackson, bringing the score to 14-7 in favor of the Warriors by the end of the first quarter. The Warriors continued to dominate in the second quarter, extending their lead with Nick Diamond's 12-yard rushing touchdown and Jackson's 21-yard touchdown reception, entering halftime with a commanding 28-7 advantage.

The third quarter showcased the Warriors' defensive dominance with a punt block return for a touchdown by TJ Davis starting off the scoring. The Weddington offensive onslaught continued with rushing touchdowns by Nick Diamond, Brady Ritter, and Tyler Budge, pushing the score to 56-14 and a running clock by the end of the quarter. Despite a late resurgence by the Hoggard Vikings in the fourth quarter, including a 65-yard rushing touchdown by Hudson Wilharm and a 20-yard touchdown toss from Wilharm to Ryan McAllister, the Weddington Warriors secured their triumph with a final score of 56-21.

On the offensive side, quarterback Tyler Budge orchestrated a masterful performance, completing 17 of 24 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns. The rushing game complemented the aerial assault, with Nick Diamond leading the charge with 105 yards and two touchdowns. Keenan Jackson's dynamic playmaking abilities were showcased as he contributed both in the air and on the ground, scoring two rushing touchdowns and receiving one.

In the end, the Weddington Warriors secured a well-deserved victory, showcasing not only their offensive fireworks but also their resilience in the face of a determined opponent. As the players and coaches exchanged handshakes at midfield, the mutual respect between the two teams was palpable, a testament to the sportsmanship that defines high school athletics.