WAXHAW — The Weddington football team clinched their sixth conference title in program history and their second consecutive outright Southern Carolina Conference title under head coach Andy Capone (37-1 record in three seasons) on Friday night, rolling past Cuthbertson, 54-13, on the road.
The loss dropped Cuthbertson to 2-4 in their final game of the regular season. The Cavaliers were unable to stop Weddington’s ground attack, as the Warriors (6-0) racked up 206 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns Friday night.
Weddington was supposed to play two games last week, but the Warriors makeup game against Piedmont, originally scheduled for last Monday, was cancelled (resulting in a forfeit win). Capone says he is proud of his team fighting through adversity.
“I’m just happy for these kids to get a chance to play as many games as they could,” Capone said. “… We know what’s at stake and we just got to continue to come ready to go and make sure we’re ready for (the first round) on Friday.”
Cuthbertson started the game strong, as Wingate commit Evan Bernard (6-of-12 for 59 passing yards) used his legs to fool the Warrior defense. Bernard capped off the opening drive successfully with a 12-yard scamper to the end zone with 7:47 left in the first to take a 7-0 lead.
Weddington immediately responded its first drive. Dayton commit Dante Casciola (9-of-14 for 175 yards) found junior wide receiver Landyn Backey alone for a 55-yard touchdown pass to tie the game just two minutes later.
On the Cavaliers’ next drive, they went three-and-out and bobbled the snap on the ensuing punt. The Warriors recovered the ball at the Cuthbertson 5-yard line and struck again when offensive tackle Wilson Owens punched in a rushing score from one yard out to take the lead for good 14-7.
The second quarter was all Weddington. Junior running back Kyle Parsons found a gaping hole and bulldozed 15 yards to extend the Warrior lead 21-7. Casciola then threw another touchdown pass to Kambridge Tuttle (39 yards) before backup quarterback Grady Brosterhous found the end zone on a 3-yard keeper. Junior kicker Matthew Moonan nailed his first field goal attempt from 51 yards out to close out the first half with a 38- 7 lead.
The Warrior defense had another successful game getting to the Cavalier quarterback. Five players ended up with at least one sack: Michael Colonna (2), Evan Schwartz (1), Joe Zovistoski (1), Connor O’Keefe (1), and Camp O’Connell (1).
“I thought (Cuthbertson) came out and had a good drive against us early, but we had to go back and relax and play our game,” Capone said of the overall effort. “Coach Hall and (the rest of my) staff do a great job of putting in a great game plan and giving us the ball in good positions offensively. That’s a good offense in (Cuthbertson), and Evan (Bernard) is a great quarterback. We were worried about him all week, but our kids came ready to go, and we settled in and played our game.”
Weddington added three more scores in the second half: a 17-yard touchdown pass from Casciola to Brooks Johnson, a Moonan 30-yard field goal and a 24-yard rushing touchdown by junior Camp O’Connell.
Cuthbertson scored its final points on a 48-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Louie Deiullo to junior AJ Colombo to cut the deficit 54-13.
The unbeaten Warriors will host Asheville in the first round of the 3AA playoffs next Friday. Weddington is 3-0 all-time against Asheville, with all three wins coming during the state playoffs. The last meeting between the two teams on Nov. 13, 2015 saw the Warriors earn a 30-17 win in the first round of the 3A tournament.
Cuthbertson, meanwhile, will look much different next season, as the Cavaliers are set to graduate 26 seniors this offseason. Among those moving on are Bernard (112-of-151 for 1,085 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions; five rushing touchdowns), running back Myles Teasley (74 carries, 376 yards, four touchdowns) and linebackers Andreu Rastia and Kurt Petroff (56 combined tackles, 6.0 TFL).
Weddington 54, Cuthbertson 13
Weddington14 24 10 6 — 54
Cuthbertson 7 0 0 6 — 13
C — Evan Bernard 12 Run (Tanner Larson kick)
W — Landyn Backey 55 Pass from Dante Casciola (Matthew Moonan kick)
W — Wilson Owens 1 Run (Moonan kick)
W — Kyle Parsons 15 Run (Moonan kick)
W — Kambridge Tuttle 39 Pass from Casciola (Moonan kick)
W — Grady Brosterhous 3 Run (Moonan kick)
W — Moonan 51 Field Goal
W — Brooks Johnson 17 Pass from Casciola (Moonan kick)
W — Moonan 30 Field Goal
W — Camp O’Connell 24 Run (#33 kick)
C — AJ Colombo 48 Pass from Louie Deiulio (run no good)
8 First Downs8
180 Receiving yards136
Rushing: W — Trey Gordon 8-107, Michael Price 3-20, Parsons 2-25, Brosterhous 2-14, Makiya Evans 1-9, O’Connell 1-24, Backey 1-3, Casciola 1-2; C — Myles Teasley 12-36, Bernard 12-(-21), Tyler Hatfield 3-10, Colombo 1-4, Deiulio 1-(-2)
Passing: W — Casciola 7-11-0 175, Brosterhous 2-3-0 4; C — Bernard 6-12-0 59; Deiulio 4-6-0 77
Receiving: W — Tuttle 3-85, Johnson 2-30, Backey 1-55, Zach Reda 1-5, #5 1-4, Trace McCament 1-0