DURHAM, NC (WWAY) — A 15-1 season for the New Hanover High School Wildcats was capped off at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham as the hometown team defeated A.C. Reynolds to claim the NCHSAA 3AA State Football Title by a final score of 27-17.
The game was scoreless after the first quarter and tied at seven after the first half but the offensive explosion we expected to see came in the second half. The teams went back and forth exchanging blows until the Wildcat defense came up with clutch stops including the game-sealing interception by Senior Francis Meehan, the Defensive Player of the Game, in the endzone to hault the Rockets from scoring.
Senior Wiz Vaughn was named the game MVP and Senior Blake Walston was the Offensive Player of the Game.
This is the first title for the team under Coach Earl Smith who calls this a special moment for the City of Wilmington.
“It’s wonderful,” Coach Smith said. “These young men deserve every bit of it. It’s so exciting to bring it back to New Hanover and put that 2017 State Champion banner up.”
“It’s unbelievable,” Walston said. “I went 0-1 for baseball and now I’m one for two. I hope I can get another ring in baseball.”
“This is just so surreal right now,” Meehan said. “We had one goal at the beginning of the year and we’re here right now. I love my boys more than anything.”
“All year long it has always been about the defense making stops,” New Hanover Captain Nas Brown said. “Our improvisation made us prepped to come up with this stop. We knew coming into the second half we had to get stops and we came through.”
“The moment is so big and it means so much to me,” Vaughn said. “I’m still shocked. My team fought all year and the dream came true. We just came out and played our game. We didn’t let the stage get too big for us. We finished and fought and this is what we worked all year for and we pulled it off. This is what I’ve been waiting all four years for. It feels good.”