Charlotte Catholic is hitting its stride in SoMeck 8 4A play.
The Cougars’ 41-14 win against Harding on Friday was Catholic’s second straight – a first this season. After opening 2-2, Catholic (4-2, 2-0) is building momentum and confidence behind an offense that cranked out 562 yards, including 520 on the ground.
“It was a great night,” said Cougars running back Elijah Hood, a North Carolina recruit who ran for 209 yards and four touchdowns on 13 carries. “The offensive line did a great job of giving me holes and I just followed what they gave me.”
Everyone got in on the action for Catholic, which ran the ball 44 times against two passes. The Cougars rolled up 24 first downs and seven players ran the ball, with Hood’s backup, junior Nicholas Rizzieri, gaining 111 yards on 17 carries. Defensively, Catholic limited Harding (3-2, 0-2) to 165 yards total offense, with Rams quarterback Xzavier Caple completing 5-of-12 passes for 93 yards and touchdowns to Brittain King-McKay (37 yards) and George Paul (40 yards).
“That’s just the good work we put in,” Hood said. “Everyone on the team works hard and the second-stringers go just as hard as we do. They’re with us at practice and do the same drills and try to make each other better.”
Catholic put the game out of reach by halftime, scoring on seven of nine possessions and racking up 351 yards total offense en route to a 34-6 advantage at intermission. Hood, who amassed 179 yards on 10 carries during in the half, rushed for 129 in the first quarter, with scoring runs of 23 and 45 yards for a 20-0 Catholic advantage. Of the Cougars’ 185 total yards in the quarter, 170 were on the ground.
Catholic kept it going in the second quarter. The Cougars tried but two passes in the half, but Ryan Miller connected with Tyler Pumeno for touchdowns from 15 and 27 yards and Hood wrapped up his night with a 15-yard run in the second quarter for a 34-0 lead.
“We’ve been working real hard at developing the passing game and putting that into our scheme,” Hood said.
“We can bring something and give teams different looks. Obviously, when they have to think about the pass, that opens up the run, and you know we love to run.”
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