The 2018 state champion Weddington Warriors won their season opener against Ardrey Kell, on Saturday, by a decisive 28-14 score. With an offense that couldn’t be stopped and a defense that couldn’t be moved, the Warriors marched along unhindered until the fourth quarter when the Knights scored two touchdowns in rapid succession. By the time Ardrey Kell had figured out a way to score, however, Weddington was far out of reach and the clock was running out.
Weddington’s offensive showcase was sparked early on when Weddington all-purpose back, Will Shipley, turned in a first quarter touchdown, making the score 7-0 at the start of the second. Incomplete passes and a defensive showing from both teams left the Warriors and the Knights without a touchdown through the second quarter. Weddington kicked off for a touchback to begin the second half.
An overthrown pass on the third down of the opening drive led to a 4th and 12 situation for Ardrey Kell. A punt following the missed pass gave Weddington possession on the 39 yard line. After the punt, several carries from senior Dusty Mercer moved the Warriors into scoring position and a short touchdown pass by Mercer to sophomore Landyn Backey capped off the drive, making the score 14-0 with nine minutes left in the third quarter. The extra point was good and senior kicker Ian Williams launched another kickoff into the back of the end zone for a touchback.
Ardrey Kell seemed to be in position to score after an impressive drive to begin the third, when Weddington earned two drive-stopping sacks against the Ardrey Kell quarterback via senior Will Shipley and junior defensive end Joe Zovistoski. A Weddington touchdown on the next drive by Tre Gordon made the score 21-0 at the end of the third.
With just over 11 minutes left in the game, senior will Shipley earned his second touchdown of the game. That touchdown would be Weddington’s final score of the game and at 28-0 early in the fourth, it was all they needed. A scoring run and a late scoring pass by the Knights made the score 28-14 and despite several onside kick attempts, that would be the final.
Weddington head coach Andy Capone said that the team’s ability to defend early on allowed them the chance to figure things out offensively. He said that while it is always nice to win the first game of the year, he and his players know that they must continue to improve in order to play the kind of football that they want to play this year. Coach Capone said that their upcoming game against Porter Ridge, this Friday, will be a dog fight for all four quarters. But, he said, he hopes that they have the Pirates all figured out.
The Warriors will play at Porter Ridge this Friday, August 30, at 7:30 p.m.