It was shaping up to be a pretty good day for Wake Forest High School. First, the Cougars won their second straight NCHSAA 4AA state title with a 21-0 win over Mallard Creek, running their winning streak to 31 games.
All that was left was for Bryce Love, a 2015 graduate, to cap off the evening by winning the Heisman Trophy. Alas, it was not to be. The Stanford running back finished second behind favorite and runaway winner Baker Mayfield, with 75 first-place votes and 1,300 points to the Oklahoma quarterback’s 732 first-place votes and 2,398 points.
Love still finished higher in the voting than any other player from the Triangle, but that was true from the moment he was announced as a finalist. He’s the third North Carolina native to finish second in the Heisman voting, joining Asheville’s Choo-Choo Justice (North Carolina, 1948 and 1949) and Bryson City’s Heath Shuler (Tennessee, 1993).
Love, who played the second half of the season on a balky ankle, finished second nationally in rushing yards (1,973) and rushing yards per game (164.42) and tied for seventh in touchdowns (17).
Sports columnist Luke DeCock: 919-829-8947, firstname.lastname@example.org, @LukeDeCock