QB Litton, Stout Defense Leads Weddington To 28-0 Win

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By The Numbers

Final: Weddington 28, Ardrey Kell 0

3 Weddington forced three Ardrey Kell turnovers.

Weddington scored four touchdowns – two rushing and two passing.

13 Weddington has won 13-straight games.

25 The game started about 25 minutes late because of a lightning delay.

78 Weddington held Ardrey Kell to 78 yards of offense in the second half, 189 for the game.

Weddington High opened defense of its 2016 Class 3AA State Championship in impressive fashion Friday night.

Quarterback Whitner Litton completed 10 of 18 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns and the Warriors defense pitched a shutout as Weddington defeated Ardrey Kell 28-0 in a nonconference football game.

Weddington (1-0) has now won 13 straight football games after ending the 2016 season with 12-straight victories.

“Very proud of the defense, very proud of the whole team,” said Weddington head coach Tim Carson following the game. “The whole team stuck in there. We are under-sized but our kids fight. It was a big win for us.”

Litton tossed completions to seven different players and his 60-yard touchdown pass to freshman Will Shipley gave the Warriors a 28-0 lead with 8 minutes, 6 seconds left in the game. Weddington led 14-0 at halftime.

The Weddington defense was solid all night as the Warriors forced three turnovers, including a pair of interceptions. Weddington scored 14 points off the three Ardrey Kell miscues.

“Our defense stood tall,” Carson said. “We got in on a few blitzes and we hit home on a few of them.”

The biggest turnover of the night was an interception by Weddington’s Chase Turner. Trailing 14-0, Ardrey Kell marched from its own 20 down to the Weddington 36. But Turner intercepted Ardrey Kell quarterback Luke Hefferly in the end zone to stop the threat.

“Chase made the pick down in the end zone and that was huge for us,” Carson said. “Chase played it well. He ran with the guy and he turned at the right time. He did a heck of a job for us.”

Weddington’s Nicholas Rivers recovered an Ardry Kell fumble in the first half while Ryan Goldstein stopped another Knights drive with an interception in the third quarter.

Weddington scored on its first possession of the game when Litton completed a 64-yard drive with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Eamon Murphy for a 7-0 lead. Murphy then put the Warriors up 14-0 with a six-yard scoring run with 9.8 seconds left in the first quarter.

Wayne Dixie ran 17 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter for a 21-0 lead and Litton put the game away with his 60-yard touchdown toss to Shipley. Shipley, who is still 14-years old, caught two passes for 70 yards and he rushed five times for 34 yards.

“Litton did a great job,” Carson said. “He made some great reads. We have some playmakers at receiver. That is probably the strength of our team and Whitner made great reads.”

Another bright spot was the kicking of Ian Williams. Four of Williams’ five kickoffs went for touchbacks and he was 4-for-4 on PAT kicks.

“Ian has done a great job and he finally has his touch back,” Carson said. “To kick it into the end zone, that saves yardage.”

Weddington’s bye week is this week but Carson said the Warriors will work hard this week correcting mistakes from the opener. Weddington returns to action Sept. 1 when the Warriors travel to Porter Ridge.

“Penalties hurt us, but that is a first game thing,” Carson said. “We have to be more disciplined in what we are doing. But overall, they played well.”

Yes, This Happened

After Murphy gave Weddington a 13-0 lead, Ardrey Kell’s Shamari Wingard raced around the end and got a piece of Williams’ PAT kick. Wingard thought he got a clean block but the deflected ball sailed high in the air and barely crossed the crossbar to give the Warriors a 14-0 lead.

Scoring Summary

Weddington 28, Ardrey Kell 0

AKHS 0 0 0 0 – 0

WHS 14 0 7 7 – 28

First Quarter

WHS-Litton 9 pass to Murphy (Williams kick), 8:49

WHS-Murphy 6 run (Williams kick), 9.8

Third Quarter

WHS-Dixie 17 run (Williams kick), 9:15

Fourth Quarter

WHS-Litton 60 pass to W. Shipley (Williams kick), 8:06

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Paul Nielsen
Nielsen was a sports writer for what is now the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for nearly 32 years before moving to North Carolina in February 2016. At the Democrat-Gazette, Nielsen's primary responsibility was beat coverage for Rogers High School. Rogers is a Class 7A school located in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen, a University of Arkansas graduate, covered the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Minor League Baseball team from 2008-2015. The Naturals are the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
Nielsen has experience covering University of Arkansas athletics, including NCAA Tournament basketball games and several football bowl games. He also covered amateur and professional golf tournaments in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen lives in Matthews with his wife, Susan. He can be reached at ripig1979@yahoo.com.