MOORESVILLE Josh Stilley threw four touchdown passes and ran for another, and the visiting Hough Huskies overcame a sluggish first half and a Lake Norman rally in the second half to claim a 51-29 victory Friday night.
Hough, No. 7 in the Observer Sweet 16 poll, led 20-14 at the half despite being outgained by the hosts 198-76 in the first two quarters. Big plays – the biggest of which was a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Tylan Murrell – helped give the Huskies the lead at intermission.
Hough (3-0) appeared poised to win in a rout after scoring the first 17 points of the third quarter to go up 37-14. But Lake Norman (1-2), keyed by a 27-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Kyle Kirby, scored 15 points in the final minute of the third quarter to pull within a touchdown, 37-29.
The Wildcats dominated statistically in the first half. Quarterback Josh Ladowski rushed 20 times for 111 yards before intermission, keeping the Huskies off the field for much of the time. But Murrell’s kickoff return and a pair of short touchdown drives gave Hough a lead it would never relinquish.
Hough, which struggled to move the ball on the ground, had no such trouble in the passing game, with Stilley going 12 for 21 for 269 yards and four touchdowns. Stilley, who had two long touchdown passes nullified by penalties, added a 41-yard run for a score early in the third quarter.
Stilley had scoring tosses of 63 yards to Carl Tucker, 14 yards to Caleb Hines and hooked up for 30- and 35-yard scores with Will McIntyre. McIntyre ended the game with a 56-yard run to the Lake Norman 10 yard line.
Ladowski finished with 30 carries for 157 yards and two touchdowns, including a 9-yard scamper with 44 seconds left before halftime that brought the Wildcats to 20-14. The junior also threw for 140 yards and a 33-yard touchdown to Corey Joyner.
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