Lake Norman running backs Zach Ladowski and Joseph Bowers led a rushing onslaught too efficient for North Mecklenburg to stop in the 42-7 Wildcat win.
Quick defensive stops by the Lake Norman defense gave the Wildcat offense prime field position to start several drives. After forcing its second three-and-out, Lake Norman got the ball at midfield. Ladowski ran up the middle for a first-down run setting up first-and-goal. He completed the drive with another downhill run putting the Wildcats ahead 7-0.
North Mecklenburg continued to pursue its running game for much of the night, but Lake Norman linebackers effectively plugged gaps in the Viking offensive line. And though Viking quarterback Songa Yates showed agility, Wildcat pass rushers kept him in the pocket and stopped his rushing attempts.
Wildcat defensive lineman Jason Diaz sacked Yates on third down of North Mecklenburg’s third drive. And Bradley Wilson blocked the ensuing punt, giving Lake Norman the ball at the Viking three yard line. Ladowski’s second two-yard touchdown put the Wildcats ahead two scores.
Lake Norman’s consistent running game opened the field for Anthony Limon to throw, and the Wildcat quarterback found Zac Zipadelli wide open over the middle for a 27-yard touchdown giving Lake Norman a 21-0 lead.
North Mecklenburg completed five passes on its final first half drive ending with the highlight of the night, a leaping 12-yard touchdown grab by Daqon Stewart who held onto the ball despite being hit out of bounds.
But Lake Norman did not let any Viking momentum last into the second half. Wildcat return man Crishon Shepard took the half’s opening kickoff to midfield. Will Gordon and Andrew Downum made first down runs. And after faking a pitch and scrambling in the pocket on fourth down, Limon found Kris Petroski in the back of the end zone for a nine-yard touchdown.
Limon executed well-timed option runs for long gains from him and Bowers.
Bowers eluded tackles with agility and broke them with power. His 26-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter gave Lake Norman a 35-7 lead.
Lake Norman’s offensive line wore the Viking defense down as the game went on. To cap a third down drive comprising of seven runs over five yards, Graydon Morrow ran 12 yards up the middle giving the Wildcats a five-touchdown advantage.
Lake Norman 7;14; 21; 0 — 42
North Mecklenburg 0;7;0;0 — 7
:20 Lake Norman Zack Ladowski 2-yard run (Nick McCue PAT)
7:22 Lake Norman Ladowski 2-yard run (McCue PAT)
1:27 Lake Norman Zac Zipadelli 27-yard catch from Anthony Limon (McCue PAT)
:17 North Mecklenburg Daqon Stewart 12-yard catch from Songa Yates (Sulemani Fortuna PAT)
7:51 Lake Norman Kris Petroski 9-yard catch from Limon (McCue PAT)
4:53 Lake Norman Joseph Bowers 26-yard run (McCue PAT)
3:26 Lake Norman Graydon Morrow 12-yard run (McCue PAT)