Warriors Repeat as 3AA State Champions

Weddington celebrates one of many wins this year (Photo by: D. M. Wallace)

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Your Weddington Warriors are repeat NCHSAA 3AA football state champions, topping off a year of elite performances with yet another. The Warriors are perfect on the season, at 16-0, after Saturday’s decisive state championship win over the Lee County Yellow Jackets. The Warriors earned the title by a score of 34-14, after leading 21-0 for most of the first half.

Junior, Dante Casciola fills multiple roles for the Warriors (Photo by: D. M. Wallace)

The Yellow Jackets showed a spark of life in the third quarter, bringing the score as close as 21-14. The Warriors quickly put a stop to that run, and proceeded to light up the scoreboard via junior running back Will Shipley, who would go on to score the rest of the team’s touchdowns. Shipley scored four on the night, carrying the ball 26 times for 256 yards.

Weddington has been tough to tackle this year (Photo by: D. M. Wallace)

The Warriors stopped Lee County on their first four possessions of the night. Weddington scored on their first. With less than four minutes off the game clock, Weddington forced a three and out, and quickly ran Will Shipley down the field, ending the drive with a four-yard touchdown run out of a wildcat formation that the team calls “monster.”

Possession number two for Lee County ended in disaster, after reaching the red zone on one of their most impressive drives of the night. At fourth and goal, the Yellow Jackets were intercepted by senior linebacker Alec Mock. The Warriors, however, failed to capitalize on the turnover, punting the ball away after just a single first down.

Landyn Backey, a sophomore, has made many catches for Weddington this year (Photo by: D. M. Wallace)

The following possession was even worse for Lee County. Forced to punt after three downs, the Yellow Jackets prepared to bring their defense onto the field, when Weddington Senior Malik Mustapha blocked the punt deep in Warrior territory. Junior cornerback Bryson Parker reacted quickly, picking up the blocked punt, and scoring Weddington’s second touchdown of the night from 26 yards out. Weddington wasted no time forcing another three and out for the Yellow Jackets. They followed with a 67 yard touchdown from Will Shipley, making the score 21-0.

Head coach Andy Capone is 31-1 in two years (Photo by: D. M. Wallace)

A short kickoff by Weddington put the Yellow Jackets in great field position as the first half was winding down. Lee County made it into the red zone for the second time of the night, and this time the Yellow Jackets scored on a fourth and goal touchdown from one yard out. The tide seemed to have shifted as the second half got underway. The Warriors’ first possession of the third quarter ended with an interception thrown to Lee County’s Jackson Lamb. The Yellow Jackets scored on the following drive with a 44 yard touchdown pass. At 21-14, both teams faced several unsuccessful possessions before Will Shipley broke the ice, scoring once more in the third quarter. Both teams seemed stifled again in the fourth when Shipley scored the final touchdown of the night with three minutes left to play, making the score 34-14, and earning the Warriors the title of repeat NCHSAA 3AA state champions.

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