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Lake Norman 38, Hopewell 7

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Lake Norman defeats Hopewell 38-7

By Seth Lakso
Correspondent

MOORESVILLE Josh Ladowski connected with Corey Joyner on Lake Norman’s first play from scrimmage for a 47-yard touchdown Friday and the Wildcats (2-0) never looked back on their way to a 38-7 victory against Hopewell in their home opener.

Asked if he could think of a better start for his team to have gotten off to, Lake Norman coach Rob McNeely kept it short and to the point.

“Nope,” said McNeely, whose team snapped the Titans’ six-game winning streak. “That’s the plan.”

Ladowski, who accounted for 5,276 yards and 59 touchdowns in the air and on the ground as a junior, just missed passing for 300 yards in the victory (296).

The 5-foot-10-inch UNC commit (to play baseball) connected with Joyner again on the Wildcats’ second possession, this time for a 65-yard score to put his team up 14-0 less than four minutes in.

The pass came on a broken play, where Ladowski – who threw for four touchdowns – used his feet to buy an extra few seconds for Joyner to break away.

“Those guys have so much chemistry together, and Josh just anticipates making the big play,” McNeely said. “He can get out of jams like no other, and then, he’s got the arm to get it to anybody that’s open.”

Joyner, who had seven catches for 109 yards in last week’s victory, bested his Week 1 performance before the end of the first quarter and finished the game with six receptions for 156 yards.

“We just have a special connection,” Ladowski said. “It’s a good duo, you know?”

The Wildcats entered the half with a 21-0 lead over the Titans (1-1), just as they had the week before against North Mecklenburg – when they allowed North Meck to rally and take a seven-point lead. However, this time around, McNeely made it clear there was still a half of football to play.

“We went into halftime with the mindset that we were going to come out in the second like the score was zero-zero,” he said. “We made a couple big stops on defense to prevent them from getting too much momentum. I was really happy with that.”

Lake Norman put the game out of reach on its first possession in the fourth when Dylan Galbo hauled in a 34-yard pass from Ladowski to put the Wildcats up 38-0.

From there, the game belonged to the backups.

“It was great,” Ladowski said. “The fan base was awesome. It’s great playing for such an awesome community.”

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