Charlotte Catholic’s defense forced five turnovers Friday night and the fifth-ranked Cougars handed visiting Weddington its first loss of the season 20-0.
The No. 9 Warriors’ hopes of scoring their first-ever victory against Catholic ended in a cascade of mistakes. They had two passes intercepted, lost three fumbles and had had uncharacteristic problems with penalties.
Weddington’s defense played well in the Southern Carolina 3A Conference battle, but the Warriors didn’t force any turnovers.
Catholic’s Brian Jacobs picked off a Weddington pass on the third play of the game, but the Warrior defense held. Later in the quarter, the Cougars’ Adam Robbe intercepted a Warrior pass at the Weddington 8. That time, the Cougars converted, scoring on a 1-yard run by Michael Neel on the first play of the second quarter.
Midway in the quarter, Weddington quarterback Whitner Litton fumbled at his 15, and Catholic’s Nick King scooped up the ball and ran for a touchdown.
The Cougars’ final score came with 1:28 remaining, when McDowell ran 11 yards to cap a 69-yard drive – Catholic’s only sustained march of the night.
That final drive came after Weddington, trailing 14-0, had returned a punt to the Catholic 25. But Litton was hit hard on a keeper and fumbled. King recovered again.
The Cougars held Weddington to 13 yards’ total offense in the first half and 39 yards for the game.
Records: Weddington is 5-1, 1-1 Southern Carolina 3A; Charlotte Catholic is 5-1, 2-0.
3 who mattered
Nick King (Charlotte Catholic): King, a 6-2, 260-pound senior, had the game of a lifetime. He recovered two fumbles, returning one for a touchdown. He also had two tackles for losses and batted down three Weddington passes.
Kevin Coss (Charlotte Catholic): A 6-2, 235-pound defensive end, Coss had three sacks, including one that took Weddington out of field goal position late in the first half.
Eamon Murphy (Weddington): The Warriors’ standout senior linebacker had two sacks and three tackles for losses.
▪ Weddington coach Andy Capone shuffled quarterbacks. Dante Casciola, a sophomore who had started the last two games, opened the game. But after he threw two interceptions, senior Whitner Litton took over. Litton started the Warriors’ first two games. Casciola returned late in the third quarter and Litton replaced him in the fourth quarter.
▪ Weddington never got to use one of its key weapons, junior kicker Ian Williams. The Warriors were close enough for a field goal three times, but fumbles or sacks took them out of kicking position each time.
▪ Charlotte Catholic finished with 243 yards total offense, but 69 of that came on the final drive against a seemingly tiring Weddington defense.
▪ The longest play of the night was a halfback pass, thrown by Catholic’s Michael Neel to Adam Robbe. The play covered 43 yards.
▪ Catholic and Weddington had played each other five times before Friday night. The Cougars were 5-0, with an average margin of victory of 32 points.
Weddington is home next Friday against Unionville Piedmont; Charlotte Catholic is home next Friday against Indian Trail Sun Valley.
Weddington 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Catholic 0 14 0 6 -- 20
CC - Michael Neel 7 run (Will Griggs kick)
CC - Nick King 15 fumble return (Griggs kick)
CC - Lamagea McDowell 11 run (kick failed)