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.
Meanwhile, the Warrior defense shut down Ardrey Kell until the final quarter. By that time, Weddington led 28-0. The Knights had only 9 yards’ total offense in the first half.
“We looked at what they had done (in the first half),” Weddington coach Andy Capone said of Ardrey Kell. “We made some adjustments. We had a package designed for Dusty, and we gave it some use.”
The loss spoiled the head coaching debut of Ardrey Kell’s Greg Jachym -- whose was coaching against his alma mater.
The Knights came to life in the final minutes, with quarterback Jared Joseph running for a touchdown and passing for another.
Shipley finished with 110 yards rushing and a passing touchdown to go with his opening score. He also had a big sack from his linebacker position, spoiling an Ardrey Kell drive in the third quarter when Weddington’s lead was only 14-0.
“We’ve got to clean some things up,” Capone said. “But we don’t want to be at our best in Week 1. We want to keep improving.”
Three who mattered
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.
Josh Johnson (Ardrey Kell): Johnson caught eight passes for 99 yards. Six of his receptions came in the second half.
Dante Casciola (Weddington): A senior quarterback, Casciola managed a solid game, passing for 112 yards with no interceptions.
▪ About the only thing that didn’t go right for the Warriors in the second half was a 55-yard field goal attempt by senior Ian Williams, a major college recruit. Williams, who has converted from beyond 50 yards several times, was wide-right but had the distance.
▪ It was a sloppy game, at times. Weddington was penalized 12 times for 113 yards. Ardrey Kell was whistled eight times for 82 yards.
▪ Ardrey Kell’s Jachym is a part of athletic history at Weddington. He won the 3A state shot put championship in 2001 and was a standout football player with the Warriors.
▪ The temperature at kickoff was 68 degrees in Weddington. It’s not often that you seen fans wearing jackets and even sweatshirts to a Carolinas high school football game in August.
Each team faces a nonconference foe next Friday, with Ardrey Kell home against East Mecklenburg, and Weddington traveling to Indian Trail Porter Ridge.
Ardrey Kell 0 0 0 14 -- 14
Weddington 7 0 14 7 -- 28
W -- Will Shipley 59 run (Ian Williams kick)
W -- Landy Backey 43 pass from Dante Casciola (Williams kick)
W -- Trey Gordon 9 run (Williams kick)
W -- Shipley 10 pass from Casciola (Williams kick)
AK -- Jared Joseph 2 run (Jackson Price kick)
AK -- Brooks Stankavage 9 pass from Joseph (Price kick)
Steve Lyttle on Twitter: @slyttle