This wasn’t exactly the way that Jupiter Wilson thought his coaching career at Hickory Ridge High School would get started.
Playing rival Central Cabarrus on the road, Wilson’s team promptly got down 20-0 after the first quarter. And by the time he got to the locker room at halftime, with his team still down 20, Wilson said he didn’t have to do too much talking.
“My kids kind of went in and talked to each other before we got in there,” Wilson said, “and I said, ‘Hey, we’ve got to embrace this opportunity.’ I just didn’t think the opportunity would be 20-nothing.”
Wilson made one big change, inserting senior basketball player Kobe Clifton in to play quarterback. Clifton threw second half touchdowns to spark a 27-20 come-from-behind win.
“We just kind of settled down,” Wilson said. “We had a bad snap go over our kid’s head in the first half and we gave up a TD. We just couldn’t get out of our own way.”
But Wilson said once his team got its first score, to trim the lead to 20-7, he felt it would be alright. Sure enough, Hickory RIdge got the lead with seven minutes to play, and got a putaway score after that.
“I knew it would be a tough battle,” Wilson said. “Central has one of the better players in the state (DeAndre Boykins). We did a good job on him. So now, we’ve got to get ready for Concord (Friday) and go back to work.”
↑West Rowan, Mooresville: Playing its first game of the season - and the first since football player Gavin Sharpe was tragically killed -- Mooresville honored its fallen teammate by taking a knee on its first play at home against West Rowan. That drew an intentional delay of game penalty. Fittingly, West Rowan declined it. Mooresville went onto win 10-0.
↑Isaiah Bess, Shelby: After Friday’s four TD performance, Bess moved into fifth-place in career passing yards at the school. Bess has 4,364. The school-record is 6,181 by Malik Sarratt (2015-17)
↑Trey Kavanaugh, Waxhaw Cuthbertson: got a win in his debut as coach, as the Cavaliers beat South Iredell 34-20.
Saturday’s #BIG5 Top Performers
Kobe Clifton, Harrisburg Hickory Ridge: starting basketball guard didn’t come out for football until Aug. 1, but threw three second half touchdown passes Saturday to spark his team’s 27-20 win over Central Cabarrus.
Shaleak “Punch” Knotts, Monroe: two interceptions, a receiving score and a fumbled punt recovery in the first half against Anson Senior. Knotts had a fourth quarter TD reception. Monroe rallied for a 35-24 win.
Will Shipley, Weddington: The Warriors’ all-everything senior dashed 59 yards for an early touchdown and added a fourth-quarter score on a 10-yard pass. He finished with 12 carries for 110 yards; 2 receptions for 25 yards; 1 rushing TD, 1 pass TD and a sack on defense. Weddington beat Ardrey Kell 28-14.
Josh Johnson, Ardrey Kell: Johnson caught eight passes for 99 yards against Weddington. Six of his receptions came in the second half.
Jay Rector, Waxhaw Cuthbertson: two rushing touchdowns in a 34-20 win over South Iredell. Cuthbertson scored 31 points in the second half after trailing 6-3 at half.
▪ Had to be a little bittersweet for Ardrey Kell coach Greg Jachym to start his high school head coaching career against Weddington. Jachym is a Weddington graduate.
He won the 3A state shot put championship in 2001 and was a standout football player with the Warriors.
No. 6 Weddington 28, Ardrey Kell 14: Will Shipley had his moments, but it was another running back and the defense that played key roles in Weddington’s 28-14 season-opening football victory Saturday evening over neighborhood rival Ardrey Kell.
Shipley, a senior running back who is among the nation’s top recruits, raced 59 yards on the game’s second play from scrimmage for a touchdown.
But when the visiting Knights keyed on Shipley, defending state 3A champion Weddington found other weapons, including Dusty Metzger, the backup quarterback and running back. Metzger had several key receptions and a big 12-yard run in the second half, taking some of the pressure off Shipley.
Shipley, whose team ran out to a 28-0 lead, finished with 110 yards rushing and a passing touchdown to go with his opening score.
- Steve Lyttle
No. 16 Rock Hill South Pointe 17, Rock Hill Northwestern 14: Quay Chambers scored on a two-yard run with 4:30 left in the third quarter that proved to be the game-winning points in the annual showdown between York County rivals. Northwestern led 14-3 before Chambers scored with 64 seconds left in the first half.
South Pointe held Northwestern to 44 yards rushing and 106 passing. Chambers ran 14 times for 63 yards and two scores. QB Tahleek Steele completed 19-of-29 passes for 165 yards. Northwestern QB Riley Duran hit on 11-of-25 passes, including one TD.
Mooresville 10, West Rowan 0: Glenwood Roinson ran 21 times for 101 yards and a score in the Blue Devils’ season-opening win. Kicker Isaac Riffle, a Campbell recruit, made a 39-yard field goal for Mooresville, which got its first shutout since Oct. 20, 2017, when the Blue Devils beat Hopewell 45-0.