kyle parsons photo

Weddington senior Kyle Parsons (22) broke the school’s single-game rushing record when he gained 265 yards on 25 carries against Marvin Ridge last Friday (Oct. 29).

MARVIN — The Weddington High football team staved off a furious fourth-quarter comeback to take down Marvin Ridge, 23-18, on the road and clinch the Southern Carolina Conference regular season title for a third straight season.

The Warriors controlled the game for the first three quarters, holding a 13-0 lead entering the final period of play. But three touchdowns by the Mavericks in the fourth quarter were almost enough to flip the momentum entirely.

“I thought they played extremely well,” said Weddington coach Andy Capone. “They played really physical football. That’s a good thing to see. We have to be better inside the 20 still. We were over 400 yards again but we just need to be more consistent. We also have to do a better job as a staff and make sure we’re not leaving our kids out to dry like (in the fourth quarter).”

Weddington took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter on a pair of field goals by kicker Matthew Moonan, and that lead held all the way until halftime. On their first drive of the third quarter, the Warriors drove down the field and punched the ball into the end zone for the first time on a 19-yard run by senior Kyle Parsons.

Another Moonan field goal at the start of the fourth quarter made it a 16-point game with just under nine minutes remaining, but Marvin Ridge didn’t go down quietly. After driving down the field, the Mavericks found paydirt for the first time on a 26-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Evan Medders to sophomore receiver Cole Searight, cutting the lead to 16-6 after a failed two-point conversion.

After Weddington’s next drive stalled out, Marvin Ridge got the home crowd back into it with an 85-yard touchdown pass from Medders to senior Luke Raykovicz, making the score 16-12 with less than three minutes remaining in the game.

It took less than a minute for the Warriors to answer back, as Parsons broke loose from 49 yards out for his second touchdown of the day. The Wofford football commit finished the game with 25 carries for 265 yards — a new school record — and two touchdowns.

“We knew how good (Kyle) was, and I think people still didn’t understand how good he was (coming into the season),” Capone said. “He came in and knew he was going to be the bell-cow. He worked for it. He trained for it. Mentally and physically, he’s ready to go. I think our o-line has grown up and played really good football lately, but there are also times where Kyle’s making three or four or five guys miss. It’s a good combination of both, but the guy is really playing at a high level right now.”

The Mavericks wouldn’t go gently into the night, however, as they hit another long bomb to Raykovicz for 80 yards on their first play after the Weddington score. The ensuing onside kick was recovered by the Warriors, who were able to run the clock out and escape with the win.

From here, both the Warriors and Mavericks will begin the state playoffs. Marvin Ridge hosts Charlotte Catholic on Friday, while Weddington will play at home against North Mecklenburg. The Warriors are looking for their third state title in four seasons under Capone.

“I think we have a good gameplan,” Capone said. “We have some good teams we’re going to see. We’ve never played North Meck before. They have some athletes and they’re absolutely huge on the offensive line. I still don’t think we’ve played our best game yet, which is an encouraging thing.”

If Weddington and Marvin Ridge are both victorious Friday, they will play each other at Weddington in the second round of the 4A tournament on Nov. 12.

Weddington 23, Marvin Ridge 18Weddington 5E6 5E0 5E7 5E10 — 23

MR 5E0 5E0 5E0 5E18 — 18

Scoring Summary

W — Matthew Moonan 25 field goal

W — Moonan 48 field goal

W — Kyle Parsons 19 run (Moonan kick)

W — Moonan 20 field goal

MR — Evan Medders 26 pass to Cole Searight (Kick no good)

MR — Medders 69 pass to Luke Raykovicz (Kick no good)

W — Parsons 49 run (Moonan kick)

W — Medders 87 pass to Raykovicz (pass no good)

Individual stats

Passing: W — Grady Brosterhous 12-27-1 85; MR — Medders 17-23-0 281

Rushing: W — Kyle Parsons 25-265, Brosterhous 15-71, Dalen Gordon 5-30, Landyn Backey 2-4, Trace McAment 1-5; MR — Caleb Kelson 7-27, Medders 7-6, Jeremiah Liszewski 3-9, Alex Meeks 1-(-2)

Receiving: W — Griffin Reimer 4-53, Backey 4-22, Zymill Patterson 1-5, Parsons 1-3, Stephon Wright 1-1, Camp O’Connell 1-1