The undefeated Hunter Huss Huskies had aspirations of winning the state title on their minds. The defending state champions, the Charlotte Catholic Cougars, had repeating the state title on theirs. The Huskies have pitched 6 shutouts this year and have held three opponents to single digits. The Cougars have pitched five shutouts and have held four opponents to single digits. Both were coming off big shutout wins from last week. Prince Bemah returned to action for Hunter Huss after missing the previous two games with a sprained knee. So something had to give.
The Cougars got the ball first and returned the kickoff to the Huskies 40-yard line. But would shoot themselves in the foot with procedure penalties. A sack by Jaheim Mullen would force the Cougars to punt. The Huskies were forced to punt on their first drive as well. A short punt gave the Cougars great field position around the Huskies 30-yard line.
Catholic would get on the board with a Lamagea McDowell 10-yard touchdown run (PAT no good). In the second quarter, the Huskies were forced to punt deep near their end zone. Michael Neel blocked a Trevor Hargett punt and returned it ten yards for a touchdown. Paul Neel’s run for the two-point conversion made it 14-0. The Huskies tried to get a late drive going in the first half to avoid a half-time shutout but would get no closer than the Cougars’ 35-yard line.
The Huskies received the second half kickoff and would make the drive count. Jamal Littlejohn would cap it off with a 14-yard touchdown run (Hargett kick). The Huskies got a big break on the following drive as the Cougars attempted a fake punt, but were stopped at the Hunter Huss 47-yard line well short of the first down. The Huskies were unable to capitalize on and were forced to punt. Brian Jacobs would return the punt 73 yards for the touchdown that extended the Cougars’ lead back to 13. The PAT was no good.
Nothing would go right for Hunter Huss after that. Lamagea McDowell put the nail in the coffin midway through the fourth quarter with a seven yard touchdown run. McDowell’s run for the two-point conversion was good, giving the Cougars their largest lead of the night at 28-7. That score was set up by a 41-yard first down run by Paul Neel. That would be all she wrote.
The Cougars defense registered three sacks and three interceptions. Nick King got two sacks and Ari Rodriguez had one. Jacob Schachte, Adam Robbe and Joseph Satori each intercepted a pass from Huss quarterback Zo Wallace. Robbe, King, Rodriguez, Schachte and Kevin Coss all had tackles for loss. Jaheim Mullen recorded two sacks for the Huskies. He, Deaven Lowery, Marcus Mauney and Prince Bemah also had tackles for loss.
“It’s a tough loss. We have nothing to hang our heads about. I’m proud of these young men. Nobody expected us to even be here throughout the course of the season.” said Hunter Huss head coach Jamar McKoy “We finished the season 13-1 and I am proud. Right now, it just hurts. Right now, it’s just painful.”
“We needed special teams to be special and that didn’t happen for us.” McKoy said “We had a blocked punt for a touchdown and a punt return for a touchdown. They scored 14 offensive points and we scored 7. If those things don’t happen, we’re still in this ball game and possibly tie it or just win it in the end. We had some miscues and turnovers and that hurt us in the end. That punt return for a touchdown was the turning point in the game.”
Charlotte Catholic will host another Big South foe, Kings Mountain (11-3). The Mountaineers defeated the top seeded Northwest Cabarrus (13-1) 49-28. Hunter Huss’s season ends at 13-1.