DURHAM, NC (WECT) - The New Hanover offense came alive in the second half and propelled the Wildcats to a win over A.C. Reynolds in the 3AA state championship.
New Hanover and A.C. Reynolds went into the locker room knotted up 7-7 at halftime. The Wildcats called Wiz Vaughn's name often to pick up big first down in the second half. Vaughn scored on a short touchdown run to give New Hanover a 27-17 with six minutes left in the fourth.
"It's what we've been working for for four years. Coach [Motsinger] left at the end of my freshman year, nobody knew who Coach Smith was," wide receiver Wiz Vaughn said after the game. "We had to trust him and we worked hard for three years and we got it, we are here now we did it!"
Francis Meehan, the team leader in interceptions, picked off A.C. Reynolds' Alex Flinn with three minutes left to help seal the victory. "It's a dream come true for all of us man," senior linebacker Nas Brown said, fighting back tears. "We ball for four years and we finally got it I just have to thank God."
The win marks New Hanover's first state title victory since 1951. The Wildcats won in 1983 but the North Carolina High School Athletic Association didn't recognize that title.
"It's hard to describe the feeling for me personally and this team and what we've done this year," an ecstatic coach Earl Smith explained. "What a heck of a team what a great effort, it sure is nice to get one I will tell ya."