By Aaron Burns

CORNELIUS – Hough High’s first trip to the Class 4AA state playoffs was a short one.

West Mecklenburg High made sure of that. The Hawks dominated the Huskies in a 45-10 win Friday night.

Hough (9-3, 6-1 I-MECK 4A conference) posted its first winning season in school history and earned its first home playoff game, but a first-round loss wasn’t what Huskies coach Bobby Collins had in mind.

Hough trailed 8-3 at halftime after allowing the Hawks (9-3, 4-2 ME-GA 7 conference) to score a touchdown on their first drive. Things didn’t get easier in the third quarter.

“8-3 at the half wasn’t bad, but coming out after halftime, we gave up too many (points in the second half),” Collins said. “We just couldn’t keep it going.”

West Mecklenburg running back Shaun Wilson terrorized the Huskies’ defense. Wilson ran for two touchdowns – of 64 and 91 yards – and caught two touchdown passes.

“I think Shaun Wilson is probably the best tailback in the city,” Collins said. “I think he proved it tonight. We had a pretty good run defense this whole year against pretty good tailbacks, but I think he had a gear that we just weren’t ready for.”

Collins also had good things to say about his quarterback, junior Josh Stilley, who connected on several deep passes late in the game but couldn’t find the end zone.

“He’s the smartest high school football player I’ve ever coached,” Collins said. “He’s determined. On his back, we’ll win a lot of football games next year.”

West Mecklenburg advances to play Olympic High Oct. 9.

Hough’s quick exit from the postseason didn’t keep its highest officials from calling the season a success.

Both Collins and athletics director Masanori Toguchi said they were pleasantly surprised by the third-year program’s leap from four wins in 2011 to nine in 2012.

“To come in Oct. 26 and be able to play for a conference championship (and) be that caliber is a little surprising but the way our kids were coached and the work they put into it all year, I wasn’t surprised in the end,” Toguchi said.

Collins said the Huskies’ goal next year will be to extend their stay in the postseason.

“I’m proud of my guys,” Collins said. “We’ve got a lot of good returning players who will take pride in working hard in the offseason to make us better.”