Hopewell wins sixth straight ‘Shield’ game

HUNTERSVILLE – The shield will stay at Hopewell High, but not without a scare.

Hopewell rallied with a fourth-quarter touchdown to edge rival North Mecklenburg 28-21 in the regular-season finale Oct. 26. The Titans won for the sixth straight year against their cross-town rival, in which the winner is presented the “Shield of Victory” trophy.

“It means a lot because not every team has a game at the end of the season where they play for a trophy,” Hopewell coach David Johnson said. “There’s so much pride on the line.”

Hopewell improved to 4-6 and earned a playoff berth. North Mecklenburg (2-8) took a 21-14 lead in the third quarter on Tahjai Watt’s 7-yard touchdown catch from Polo Dargins.

Hopewell tied the game at 21 on quarterback Tijuan Sifford’s 1-yard touchdown run with eight seconds left in the third quarter. The Titans went ahead 28-21 on Ra Williams’ 5-yard touchdown run with eight minutes left.

North Meck got a late chance to potentially tie the game, but were stopped on a fourth-and-1 run at Hopewell’s 19 with 75 seconds left.

“We gave it all we had,” North Meck coach Brad Baker said. “We ran the ball probably the best we have all year. We laid it on the line and just came up a little short.”

Hough falls short of I-MECK 4A title

CORNELIUS – Mallard Creek High won its fourth straight I-MECK 4A conference championship with a 28-3 victory against Hough on Oct. 26.

Hough (9-2) finished second in the conference, its best finish in the school’s three-year history.

A Gary Gore touchdown run with 42 seconds left in the second quarter put Mallard Creek ahead 14-3. Instead of running the clock out before halftime, Hough coach Bobby Collins had quarterback Josh Stilley go to the air.

The strategy backfired. Stilley threw an interception and Mallard Creek turned it into another Gore touchdown run eight seconds before halftime.

“You can’t give an offense like Mallard Creek a short field,” Collins said. “That last (touchdown), I’m going to take (the blame for) that one. ... It’s the first time in three years that our kids are going to play in the playoffs and have a home game, so that’s our focus now.”

Grier has big passing night

DAVIDSON – Davidson Day quarterback Will Grier passed for 514 yards and seven touchdowns in a 56-22 win against Victory Christian on Oct. 26, the second-highest yardage total in Mecklenburg County history. The record is 585 yards, set by Independence High’s Chris Leak in 2002.

– compiled by Cliff Mehrtens and Aaron Burns