For the first time in a while, there was a lot of hype leading up to the “Park Road” rivalry game between South Meck and Charlotte Catholic.
And the game absolutely lived up to the hype, as host Catholic (7-1 overall, 4-0 SoMeck 8), No. 7 in the Observer Sweet 16, scored the game-winner with just over two minutes remaining to knock off No. 16 South Meck (6-2, 3-1) 23-20 at Oddo Field Friday night.
“It’s cliché but it’s a shame somebody had to lose that one,” Catholic coach Mike Brodowicz said. “That was a well-played game between two good teams and fortunately for us we came out on top.”
Leading 6-3 at the half, Catholic struck a big blow on the second half kickoff, as Angel Marrero went 90 yards untouched for a touchdown and a 13-3 Catholic lead.
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South Meck responded with an 80-yard drive that was capped by a 13-yard scoring pass from Antonio Wallace to Stephen Griffin to cut the lead to 13-10.
After the teams traded field goals (combined the two kickers were 5-for-5), South Meck went 70 yards in 10 plays and took 4:17 off the clock, taking its first lead when Devin Andrews scored on a 1-yard run with 7:33 left.
But Catholic did what Catholic does, and that’s run its wing-T offense. The Cougars went 80 yards in 12 plays (all runs) and regained the lead when Clay Lozzi went around the left side and dove into the end zone for a 15-yard scoring run with 2:04 left.
“After South Meck scored, our linemen came to us and said let’s just go right at ’em,” Brodowicz said. “That’s who we are as a football team.”
South Meck still had two minutes, but Catholic forced Wallace into four straight incompletions to take back possession and run out the clock.
Wallace threw for 169 yards for South Meck, with Moryah Johnson catching seven balls for 158 yards (two of those came from AJ Elam on a fake punt and flea-flicker), while Cole Perry led Catholic on the ground running for 95 yards. The teams combined for just one turnover and were separated by just 11 yards in total offense (271 for South Meck, 260 for Catholic).