New Hanover's defense looks to silence critics

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Members of the New Hanover High School football team's defense have heard the message loud and clear from the non-believers.

"It's either we are undersized, or we are too slow, we might not be able to do this or that," senior linebacker Nas Brown said. "But we come up for show, and make a statement every game."

The Wildcats (14-1) are hoping to make one more statement on the biggest stage when they face A.C. Reynolds (14-1) in the 3AA state championship game at Duke's Wallace Wade Stadium at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

New Hanover's much maligned defense is anchored by its senior linebacking corps.

"Of all the players that I have had over these years, those four linebackers we have are some of the toughest I have ever been around," head coach Earl Smith said. "They have held it together for us, and the younger guys are now veterans. It's a close group."

Even with only one game left to play, Smith said he believes his squad can get better.

"I still don't think we have played our best game," Smith said. "So, I am going to say we are going to have to play our best game top to bottom."

One thing is for sure: The Wildcats are full of confidence heading into Saturday's matchup.

"It's very high, but far from cockiness," said Nas Brown. "It's very high, but we are not satisfied. We have to win Saturday."

New Hanover is trying to win the school's first football title since 1951.

Copyright 2017 WECT. All rights reserved.