North Mecklenburg was once again looking to play giant killers on Friday against county rival Hough.
The Huskies’ defense had other plans, coming up with big plays in the second half to key a 30-6 victory over the Vikings.
Defensive back Adam Smith came up with back-to-back interceptions in the third quarter that led to touchdowns for Hough, ranked third in the Sweet 16.
Meanwhile, linebacker Andrew Dziuk had three of his career-best four sacks in the second half as the Huskies shut down 16th-ranked North Mecklenburg and clinched a share of their first-ever MECKA 4A title.
“We really didn’t adjust anything, we just came out more prepared,” Dziuk said. “We came out sluggish, we weren’t really excited in the first half. But we got pumped up in the locker room, and guys started showing up.”
That allowed Hough’s offense to finally get on track – the interceptions set up scoring runs by Jarrett Nagy (1 yard) and Rashad Williams (5 yards) in the third quarter to put the Huskies in the lead.
Quarterback Jackson Gibbs then put Hough’s win on ice with a pair of touchdown passes to Marquill Osborne, a 17-yarder late in the third quarter and a 42-yarder early in the fourth.
“The defense got some turnovers, gave the offense field position and gave us some new life in the second half,” Huskies coach Miles Aldridge said.
Yet neither side could get much going offensively in the first half, with North Mecklenburg leading 6-3 at halftime.
Jordan McCormick’s interception midway through the first quarter set up North Mecklenburg’s only score, a 15-yard Emanuel Wilson TD run with 1:54 left in the period.
However, Hough finally broke the shutout when Zach Stearns hit a career-best 50-yard field goal with 58.1 seconds remaining in the half.
Quote: “They were playing for a conference championship, and we were playing to keep our hopes alive. This one’s on me – I didn’t have them ready to play in the second half.” – North Mecklenburg coach Brad Baker.
Records: Hough 9-1, 5-0 MECKA 4A; North Mecklenburg 7-3, 3-2.
Worth mentioning: Williams finished with 99 rushing yards for the Huskies. … While Hough managed 253 yards total offense, the Huskies also had 155 penalty yards. … Wilson had 79 rushing yards for the Vikings. … Gibbs went 10-of-18 for 125 yards passing.
What's Next: Hough wraps up its regular season at home against Vance Thursday, while North Mecklenburg closes at Mallard Creek Friday.