New Hanover Wildcats living up to preseason potential

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Since the start of the preseason, New Hanover head football coach Earl Smith has been a believer in his Wildcats.

"I knew that if we played up to our potential, what they have shown in spring practice, that we would have a shot of winning every game," Smith said.

That perfect record was in jeopardy when the Wildcats traveled to Garner last Friday. New Hanover trailed 17-0 after the first quarter, and still was down late to the Trojans.

"In the fourth quarter Friday night, it was just calm on the sideline," Smith said about his team. "We knew what we needed to do, and we are going to do it. That's a sign of a championship team."

The ability to come back is something the Wildcats might not have done in the past.

"If we went down at halftime, we would have been panicking and worrying about the small stuff," senior receiver Wiz Vaughn said.

After giving up 26 first half points, the Wildcats' defense took over, giving up just 12 in the final two quarters.

"On defense we just said it was a test," senior Nas Brown said. "Just a test to see how we would get through this game and if we get through this game, we have a chance to make big things this year."

The Wildcats have championship dreams, but the coach said they need to continue to get better.

"We must improve every game," Smith said. "We can't have any lulls, and in these next seven games, we are going to get everyone's best shot.

Copyright 2017 WECT. All rights reserved.