HUNTERSVILLE Just a month ago, Hopewell’s football team wasn’t thinking about making the playoffs – only when it would win its next game.
Yet in the past four weeks, the Titans have engineered a turnaround, with Friday’s 33-7 victory over Vance, moving them into a tie for third place in the MECKA 4A standings.
Dominique Heath scored three touchdowns and Dimitris Camp ran for 109 yards and two scores for Hopewell (5-5, 4-2), which has won four consecutive games after losing five straight.
Now the Titans can take third place in the conference standings – and quite possibly earn a spot in the state playoffs – by beating A.L. Brown (7-3, 4-2) in next week’s regular-season finale in Kannapolis.
“We have our destiny in our own hands,” Hopewell coach Matthew Jenkins said. “We’ve gotten better every week. I know it’s hard for people to believe that, but we lost five football games to teams that have winning records. I don’t know of anyone else in the area who can say that.”
Heath, a Kansas State commit, finished with 137 yards total offense. He had three catches for 71 yards and two touchdowns (30 and 33 yards), and added 66 yards rushing and a score (a 30-yard run that put the Titans up 20-0 at the half).
Camp scored on a 1-yard run – coming after a 47-yard screen pass from Jerry Chadwich – in the first quarter, then busted off a 54-yard run in the third quarter to put the game away for Hopewell.
“We really started to buy into what Coach (Jenkins) was putting us to work on,” said Chadwich, who finished with 169 yards passing on 9 of 17 completions. “We started to believe, and our hard work is paying off.”
The Titans also excelled defensively, holding the Cougars (6-4, 3-3) to 126 yards total offense. They also forced two turnovers, and sacked Vance quarterback Daquan Gladen three times.
The Cougars avoided a shutout on the opening series of the second half, taking advantage of a blocked punt to set up Dquan Bratton’s 9-yard TD run.
But the rest of the game was all Hopewell.
“They came and outplayed us, and we didn’t come ready to play,” Vance coach Keith Wilkes said. “It showed. We looked like a team that’s gone the opposite way as the season’s gone on. We just weren’t in the right mindset tonight.”
Kiser: 704-895-3662; Twitter: @Bkiser_CLTObs.
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