MATTHEWS, NC - The Weddington High football team lived up to its pregame hype Friday night as the Warriors dominated Watauga 49-14 in the 3AA Western Finals.

It's the second year in a row that the Warriors have knocked WHS out of the state playoffs. They beat WHS in the 3AA Western Semifinals last season at Jack Groce Stadium.

The Warriors (15-0), who advance to the 3AA State Finals next Saturday at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh against Lee County (Lee County advanced by beating Wilmington-New Hanover 34-9 Friday night), wasted no time jumping on top as they marched 89 yards in eight plays to take a 7-0 lead.

Will Shipley, the No. 1 rated all-purpose back in the nation, got Weddington on the board with a two-yard run. Weddington put its stamp on the game on WHS'(13-2) next possession.

The Pioneers, who had their 12-game winning streak snapped by the Warriors Friday night, had the ball first-and-goal at the Weddington nine-yard-line. A double pass from Jaiden Bond to Grant Oliver, who had a marvelous night in his final appearance (six catches for 105 yards and a touchdown) with the Pioneers, covered 55 yards putting the Pioneers in an ideal position to tie the game.

But the Warriors stiffened on defense, and forced WHS to turn the ball over on downs.

"We left points on the field," said WHS coach Ryan Habich. "Against a team as good as Weddington, you have to take advantage of your opportunities."

The Warriors promptly answered on their next possession, this time punching it in on Shipley's 82-yard run, giving them a 14-0 lead with 1:03 left in the opening stanza.

The Warriors scored on their first five possessions and built a 35-0 lead with 6:10 left in the first half. WHS finally got on the board with 1:01 left before halftime as Anderson Castle hooked up with Oliver on a 14-yard scoring pass.

Isaiah Shirley picked off Dante Casciola with 40 seconds left before halftime, but the WHS drive stalled at the Weddington 30 on an incomplete pass.

The Warriors put the game out of reach with a pair of scores in the third quarter, and the running clock went in affect midway through the period.

Casciola was 9-of-12 for 183 yards with four touchdowns and an interception; Shipley ran for 169 yards on just 14 carries with a pair of scores. Castle paced the WHS running game with 88 yards on 15 carries and a TD. The Pioneers were held to 95 yards on the ground. The Pioneers also committed a season-high three turnovers.

"They were very fast up front," Habich said. "They forced up to throw the ball, and that's not our game. And the two interceptions we threw, our receivers ran the wrong route. Weddington is a great team, and the best team in the state. But these guys, especially our seniors, took ownership this season. We had a great season, unfortunately only one team can walk off the field a winner."

WEDDINGTON 49, WHS 14

Team                  1 2 3 4 T
Watauga             0 7 0 7 14
Weddington       14 21 14 0 49

SCORING PLAYS

1ST QTR
Weddington 06:07 Will Shipley runs for 1 yards. (Point after kick by Ian
Williams is good.) 0 7
Weddington 01:03 Will Shipley runs for 82 yards. (Point after kick by #15 Ian
Williams is good.) 0 14

2ND QTR
Weddington 10:34 Dante Casciola pass complete to Alec Mock for 15 yards.
(Point after kick by Ian Williams is good.) 0 21
Weddington 09:31 Dusty Mercer runs for 6 yards. (Point after kick by Ian
Williams is good.) 0 28
Weddington 06:10 Dante Casciola pass complete to Kambridge Tuttle for 60 yards.
(Point after kick by Ian Williams is good.) 0 35
Watauga 06:10 Anderson Castle pass complete to Grant Oliver for 14 yards.
(Point after kick by Carter Everett is good.) 7 35

3RD QTR
Weddington 07:16 Dante Casciola pass complete to Colby Barsz for 11 yards.
(Point after kick by #15 Ian Williams is good.) 7 42
Weddington 03:16 Dante Casciola pass complete to Landyn Backey for 12 yards.
(Point after kick by #15 Ian Williams is good.) 7 49

4TH QTR
Watauga 08:23 Anderson Castle runs for 23 yards. (Point after kick by Carter Everett is good.) 14 49

TEAM STAT COMPARISON
                                                         Watauga Weddington
Total Offense                                             229 445
Passing                                                     134 188
Touchdowns - Interceptions                       1 - 2 4 - 1
Rushing                                                     95 257
Penalties - Yards                                   4 - 20 6 - 50
Turnovers                                                    3 2
Fumbles - Lost                                        1 - 1 2 - 1
Interceptions Thrown                                   2 1
Defensive Sacks - Yards                          0 - 0 0 - 0
Time of Possession                              23:57  24:03
First Downs                                               12 22
Third Down Conversions/Attempts  3/9 (33.3%) 4/5 (80.0%)
Fourth Down Conversions/Attempts  0/2 (0.0%) 0/0 (0.0%)

PASSING - WATAUGA
Name Cmp Att Yds TD Int
Anderson Castle 7 16 78 2
Jaiden Bond 1 3 56 0 0

PASSING - WEDDINGTON
Name Cmp Att Yds TD Int
Dante Casciola 9 12 183 4 1
Will Shipley 1 2 5 0 0
Grady Brosterhous 0 1 0 0 0

RUSHING - WATAUGA
Name Att Yds Avg TD
Anderson Castle 15 88 5.9 1
Jake Watson 4 14 3.5 0
Jaiden Bond 9 -7 -0.8 0

RUSHING - WEDDINGTON
Name Att Yds Avg TD
Will Shipley 14 169 12.1 2
Landyn Backey 2 30 15.0 0
Trey Gordon 7 27 3.9 0
Kyle Parsons 4 27 6.8 0
Dusty Mercer 2 5 2.5 1
Malik Mustapha 1 1 1.0 0
Dante Casciola 2 -2 -1.0 0

RECEIVING - WATAUGA
Name Rec Yds Avg TD
Grant Oliver 6 105 17.5 1
Jaiden Bond 2 29 14.5 0

RECEIVING - WEDDINGTON
Name Rec Yds Avg TD
Will Shipley 3 66 22.0 0
Kambridge Tuttle 2 65 32.5 1
Alec Mock 1 15 15.0 1
Landyn Backey 1 12 12.0 1
Colby Barsz 1 11 11.0 1
Dusty Mercer 1 10 10.0 0
Kyle Parsons 1 9 9.0 0

 

WHS coach Ryan Habich talks about Friday night's game on the Domino's Post Game Show on WATA Radio and goblueridge.net....

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