The Weddington Warriors, seeded No. 2, overcame an early pick six and roared back for a 42-21 victory over the sixth-seed Ledford Panthers on Friday night in a second-round NCHSAA 3AA playoff game at Weddington.
After trailing 7-0 early, the Warriors scored 42 unanswered points. Two late fourth-quarter Ledford touchdowns made the score more respectable but Weddington had the game well in hand.
Warriors coach Tim Carson used his depth efficiently as 11 players, including two quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers, had touches in the game.
Senior running back Denzel Patton led the way for the Warriors with 101 rushing yards and two touchdows on 14 carries. Quarterback David Bayha passed rarely but effectively, going 4-of-7 for 71 yards and touchdowns of 30 and 9 yards.
The Weddington defense picked up six turnovers – five interceptions and a fumble recovery. Safety Joey Hobbs had two picks.
“We came out on top of it,” said Hobbs. “We had a lot of checks we knew we had to get done and watched a lot of film. We knew that Ledford was a very disciplined team so we had to be there to make plays and turnovers to put our offense in a good position.”
Things started badly for Weddington. On the Warriors’ first possession, David Wettherington picked off a pass and took it back for a 32-yard touchdown as Ledford took the lead 7-0. Weddington tied the game on a nine-play, 81-yard drive which culminated in a 6-yard touchdown run by Patton.
WORTH MENTIONING: Ledford offensive lineman Nick Grady was taken off the field on a stretcher after suffering a broken ankle late in the second quarter. … In addition to Hobbs’ two interceptions, Harrison Bowers, Chase Randolph and Eamon Murphy had single picks for Weddington.
QUOTE: “Going to A.C. Reynolds is always a tough place to play. They are always well coached, good athletes and it’s a big battle. It’s always a big challenge when you go to A.C. Reynolds. Looking forward to it.” Weddington coach Tim Carson on next Friday’s matchup.
RECORDS: Weddington is 10-3. Ledford finished 9-4.
WHAT’S NEXT: Weddington will play No. 1 seed A.C. Reynolds next Friday night in Asheville in a third-round NCHSAA 3AA game.
David Wetherington 32 interception return; (Hunter Braswell kick)
Denzel Patton 6 run; (Matt Peterson kick)
Chase Randolph 4 run; (Peterson kick)
Max Brimigion 30 pass from David Bayha; (Peterson kick)
Blaise Arthur-Wong 9 pass from Bayha; (Peterson kick)
Patton 8 run; (Peterson kick)
Randolph 4 run; (Peterson kick)
Ryan Hunter 56 pass from Lander Varner; (Braswell kick)
Coleman Reich 85 pass from Varner; (Braswell kick)