It’s hard to beat the first half Charlotte Catholic played against West Mecklenburg.
The Cougars, No. 1 in the Sweet 16, scored on three of their first four possessions, and linebacker Xander Gagnon returned a pair of turnovers for touchdowns in a 38-14 SoMeck 4A win Friday at Jim Oddo Field.
Catholic built a two-touchdown lead in the first minute of play with a 79-yard strike from John Walton to Andrew Brouse on the Cougars’ first play from scrimmage, and Gagnon’s 23-yard fumble return with 11:17 in the first. Catholic’s third offensive play resulted in Angel Marrero’s 77-yard touchdown run and a 21-point bulge that grew to 38-0 by intermission.
“We know what we had against them, and we knew their scheme,” said Gagnon, who also scored on a 27-yard interception return in the second quarter. “We knew what we were practicing all week so we just came out and gave it to them.”
Catholic ran 20 plays for 286 yards on offense in the first half, including 156 passing on quarterback John Walton’s 4-of-7 accuracy and a pair of scores. The Cougars had three plays of 77 yards or more compared to West’s 97 yards total.
“It was definitely a good start for us,” Gagnon said. “We definitely wanted to get after them early, like our coach said, so that’s what we did. You can’t be unhappy with that at all.”
The Hawks broke up the shutout on Richard Lattimore’s 92-yard pass to Dyami Brown in the fourth quarter, followed by a 17-yard strike to Shayquan Williams, but Catholic’s torrid start was more than enough to cruise in the second half.
“We had a slow start against South Meck last week,” Cougars coach Mike Brodowicz said. “This week, we stressed let’s get this thing started, let’s put the pressure on them early, let’s impose our will on them right from the start.”
Charlotte Catholic spread the ball on offense, striking for long pass plays against West Mecklenburg’s stacked line, which was geared to stop the run. Jaret Anderson led the Cougars rushing attack with 78 yards on 14 carries.
Quote: “We knew we were going to put 11 on the line because they have a very aggressive defense, so we wanted to take a shot (downfield).” – Charlotte Catholic coach Mike Brodowicz.
Records: Charlotte Catholic is 8-0, 5-0 in SoMeck 4A; West Mecklenburg is 4-5, 2-3 in SoMeck 4A.
Worth Mentioning: West Mecklenburg quarterback/receiver Dyami Brown caught two passes for 109 yards and a score.
What’s next: Charlotte Catholic plays at Ardrey Kell in a conference game. West Mecklenburg plays at Berry Academy in a conference game.