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West Mecklenburg 45, Hough 10

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West Mecklenburg pounds Hough

Hawks reach nine-win plateau for the first time since 1988

CORNELIUS Junior Shaun Wilson had 267 rushing yards and four total touchdowns to lead West Mecklenburg to a 45-10 win against Hough in the first round of the 4AA playoffs.

Wilson, who also caught passes for 44 yards, said the win was a team effort.

“My line did an excellent job blocking, but everybody did what they were supposed to do,” the 5-foot-9, 180-pound running back said.

“We’re coming together more as a team.”

With Friday’s win, the Hawks reached the nine-win plateau for the first time since 1988.

“It’s been a while since West Meck has won a playoff game,” said third-year coach Jeff Caldwell.

“It’s a big milestone for the kids. Our first year, we had to learn how to compete. ... This year we’ve learned how to finish games.”

West Meck (9-3) came out looking to be the aggressor Friday night.

The Hawks went for it on fourth down twice during their 69-yard opening drive. On fourth-and-16 at the Huskies’ 21-yard line, quarterback Jalan McClendon connected with Wilson for his first touchdown of the night six minutes into the game.

The Huskies (9-3), the No. 14 team in the Observer’s Sweet 16, struggled offensively, accounting for only 101 yards in the first half, but were able to put together a 45-yard drive to set up kicker Tim Gawert’s 28-yard field goal early in the second quarter. West Meck led Hough 8-3 going into the break.

The Hawks picked up their intensity in the third quarter, when they outscored Hough 23-7.

“We had to make some adjustments,” said Caldwell. “We pride ourselves in running the ball, so we went back to that, ran some misdirection and that opened up some things.”

West Meck used three long runs in the second half to put the game out of the Huskies’ reach.

Senior Robert Coleman got the Hawks off to a good start in the third quarter bounced off tacklers to break away for a 91-yard touchdown run.

Although the Huskies would respond, with quarterback Josh Stilley lobbing the ball to receiver Nick Burrow in the end zone to get Hough within a touchdown, the Hawks would take over the game.

Wilson scored from 64 yards out to close out the third quarter before catching for a 16-yard score to open the fourth. He also broke away for a 91-yard touchdown with six minutes left in the game.

The Hawks also scored on a 25-yard keeper by McClendon as they closed out the game with a 29-0 run.

McClendon, a junior, was ejected from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct after celebrating his touchdown run. He could miss the Hawks’ second-round playoff game at Olympic next week.

Caldwell planned to review game film before deciding whether to appeal McClendon’s suspension.

Tovar: 704-358-5941; Twitter: @sergiotovar
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