Hopewell cruises by Lake Norman
by Staff Writer
MOORESVILLE – Hopewell High’s game at Lake Norman High Friday night was gut-check time for the Titans, who entered the game with a 1-4 record.
Hopewell rose to the challenge. The Titans beat the Wildcats 45-24 thanks to a strong running game from quarterback Tijuan Sifford and running backs Dominique Heath and Deshjion Whitlock.
Hopewell (2-4, 2-1 I-MECK 4A conference) took a 21-0 lead early in the game on a 99-yard touchdown pass from Sifford to Heath.
Titans coach David Johnson said Sifford was the difference for Hopewell, who started the season 0-3.
“That’s what he does. That’s what we’re used to,” Johnson said of Sifford.
Lake Norman quarterback Josh Ladowski scored the Wildcats’ first touchdown on a five-yard run. The Wildcats (3-4, 1-2 I-MECK) closed the gap to 37-24 with 5:10 remaining on a Dylan Miller touchdown run, but Lake Norman could get no closer.
“We got a little lackadaisical (in the fourth quarter),” Johnson said. “They’re a great team. They weren’t going to give up.”
Wildcats coach Rob McNeely said his team’s effort was present all night, but the Wildcats’ execution left something to be desired.
“There’s no quit in our guys,” McNeely said. “The offense scored enough points. Fundamentally, we just have to get better.”
Sifford ran for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage in the second half to give Hopewell a 31-10 lead.
“We did pretty good to have some injured receivers,” Sifford said.
Hopewell’s Jermaine Sanders missed the game due to a concussion. Sifford found other targets, often Heath or Whitlock out of the backfield.
Hopewell travels to Mooresville High Oct. 5 for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff against the Blue Devils.
Lake Norman continues its season with a 7 p.m. game at Vance High on Oct. 5.