Weddington’s football squad has put away 14 opponents this year, all with little resistance. Their most recent win, 49-7 against Northwest Cabarrus, was no different as Weddington quickly ran up the score, and coasted through the second half. Officials introduced a running clock before the fourth quarter, seeing early in the night that there was no chance of a comeback. As the Warriors move into the regional championship round of the NCHSAA 3AA state playoffs, one might expect Weddington’s next opponent, the Watauga Pioneers, to be a worthy match for the undefeated Warriors. Statistically speaking, they probably won’t.
The Pioneers, while high scoring, have allowed nearly four times as many points as Weddington this year. That’s 283 points scored against Watauga on the season, to Weddington’s 76. While the Warriors’ tenacious, high energy offense tends to steal the show with wildcat formations and field length runs by star running back Will Shipley, Weddington’s defense is a major component of what sets them apart from higher level competition. Only 13 points have been scored against the Warriors since postseason play began.
Northwest Cabarrus, Weddington’s highest scoring playoff opponent, scored their only touchdown with just two minutes left to play. Weddington, in typical fashion, scored on their opening drive with a short run from Will Shipley. The Weddington defense stayed on the field for a short time, and Shipley followed with another touchdown, this time from 73 yards out. The Warriors went on to end the first quarter with a touchdown pass from quarterback Dusty Mercer to junior receiver Kambridge Tuttle, making the score 21-0. Weddington began the second quarter in the same intimidating style, with a fumble recovery for a touchdown by junior defensive end Joe Zovistoski. Neither team would score again in the half.
With just 12 seconds gone in the third quarter, junior Bryson Parker intercepted a pass that would lead to Will Shipley’s third touchdown of the night. This touchdown, number 36 on the year, tied Shipley for first place in the Union County record book for touchdowns in a single season. With at least one game left to play, Weddington’s top scorer is almost sure to break that record this week. Weddington would go on to score two more touchdowns on the night, leaving the final score at 49-7.
The Warriors will play at home against the Watauga Pioneers on Friday, December 6, for the NCHSAA 3AA regional championship. The winner of Friday night’s game will go on to play for the state championship at Carter-Finley Stadium the following week. Gates open at Weddington on Friday at 6 p.m. Kickoff will follow at 7:30 p.m.