Hopewell dominates Shield Game
The Titans defeated rival North Mecklenburg, 33-6, on Oct. 28 in the rain to hold onto the trophy shield for the fifth consecutive year. Hopewell has a 7-4 lead in the series, which began in the school’s inaugural season of 2001.
With the victory, Hopewell secured a spot in the Class 4A playoffs.
Senior Denzel Heath rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns and had an interception on defense. Gabe Crocker returned an interception 35 yards for a touchdown for the Titans, and Michael Sanders also picked off a pass as Hopewell (4-6) forced five turnovers.
“I thought we had a good week of practice and executed our game plan,” Hopewell coach David Johnson said. “(The players are) starting to get it and understand what it takes to put in (time-wise): We need to practice Monday through Thursday efficiently.”
“That’s what led to our roller-coaster season. There are good weeks of practice where we win and bad weeks of practice where we slip up. We’re a young team, so it was big to get a rivalry win and expand on it. I thought our secondary stepped up and did a good job breaking on the ball. Again, a good week of practice.”
Heath, picked to play in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas next month, made an immediate impact. He ran for 23 yards on the first play from scrimmage, which set up Chandler Chase’s 29-yard scoring pass to Darius Smalls. Heath’s five-yard touchdown run two minutes later gave Hopewell a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
North Mecklenburg cut the lead to 14-6 when Tahjai Watt scored on a 66-yard pass from Bryll Moss in the second quarter. But Hopewell pulled away with three touchdowns in the second half, which was played in a steady rain.
North Mecklenburg finished with a 1-10 record.
SouthLake Christian earns No. 1 playoff bid
SouthLake Christian received the No. 1 seed in the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association’s Division II playoffs after going 9-1 in the regular season.
The Eagles crushed Forsyth Country Day, 42-0, in the finale on Oct. 28. Their first-round playoff opponent? The same Forsyth Country Day squad, which will travel to SouthLake Christian for the Friday, Nov. 4, game.
SouthLake Christia scored 28 first-quarter points for an early cushion last week, including two touchdown runs by Adam Gilkerson, one by Dimitri Allison and Brian Jones’ 23-yard interception return for a score.
Patriots’ stellar first season rolls on
Davidson Day earned the top seed in the NCISAA Division III playoffs after capping the regular season with a 21-18 victory against Victory Christian on Oct. 28.
The Patriots (9-1) will host Fayetteville Christian (5-5) at 7:30 p.m. this week, and the game will be played at Hopewell High.
The Division III playoffs include four teams, meaning Davidson Day needs two victories to become a state champion. The title game is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 11.
Davidson Day rallied from an 18-7 halftime deficit against Victory Christian. Quarterback Will Grier ran for a third-quarter touchdown that cut the lead to 18-13, and Jordan Brown’s 25-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter was the winner for Davidson Day.
Brown rushed for 130 yards on 10 carries and had six tackles and an interception on defense. Grier ran for 106 yards on 10 carries, Tre Hunt had 17 tackles, and Lamar Briggs and Glen Coates had an interception apiece.
Turnaround season for Charter
A year ago, Lake Norman Charter’s football team was 1-10. This season, The Knights went 5-5 in the regular season and earned a berth in the Class 1AA playoffs.
Lake Norman Charter, which will play at South Stokes on Friday in the first round, closed the regular season with a 35-12 victory at Gastonia Highland Tech. Alex Scearce ran for two touchdowns (including an 85-yarder) and caught a scoring pass from Michael Dorsainvil.
Blake Douglas and Randon Hassell scored a touchdown apiece, and J.C. Brooks was 5-for-5 on extra point kicks.