HUNTERSVILLE – The shield is staying put.
Host Hopewell High, unleashing a powerful running game, beat neighboring North Mecklenburg 47-34 in the “Shield of Victory” football game Friday night. The Titans beat North Meck for the seventh straight year to retain the trophy – a gold and silver inscribed shield – which goes to the winner of the annual game.
The giddy Titans carried the shiny shield to the stands, took turns kissing it and posed for photos afterward.
It also was a key MECKA 4A conference game for both teams. Hopewell (2-5) improved to 1-2 in conference. North Mecklenburg slipped to 3-4 overall and 1-2 in conference.
The Titans were led by speedy running backs Dimitrus Camp and Dominique Heath, who combined for all seven touchdowns. Camp, a junior, rushed for 193 yards and six touchdowns on 17 carries. Heath, committed to play at Kansas State next season, ran for 143 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. He also caught seven passes for 68 yards.
“This is a big win for us,” said Heath, who this week was named to the Shrine Bowl all-star game in December. “Our goal was to get the running game going and we did.”
Hopewell wasted little time setting the tone.
On the third play from scrimmage, Camp cut outside and ran 44 yards for a touchdown. His other scoring runs covered 1, 1, 10, 8 and 40 yards.
Hopewell controlled the line of scrimmage and methodically went on long drives. The Titans’ first four scoring drives covered 72, 70, 80 and 73 yards.
North Mecklenburg’s Nolan Beasley threw four touchdown passes, but the Vikings allowed seven sacks and didn’t establish a consistent running game.