Jack Collins

Weddington junior linebacker Jack Collins (32) has helped his team hold opponents to an average of 11.9 points per game this season. WHS has three shutouts this season and has held five other opponents to seven points or less.

The Weddington High football team is once again in the middle of a deep playoff run, and to appreciate how far the Warriors have gone this season, it’s worth exploring how the team has handled the postseason in recent memory.

Before crashing out in the second round of the state playoffs last season, during a COVID-hindered season, Weddington had won two straight 3AA state championships — and three of the past four. The latter two were won in 2018 and 2019 in Andy Capone’s first and second seasons as the team’s head coach.

Those two teams were led by the Shipley brothers, James and Will. In 2018, James, then a senior, was named the offensive MVP of the state championship game after catching 10 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown and throwing a 50-yard touchdown to Will, who was a sophomore.

In 2019, Will played a huge role for Weddington’s offense through the playoffs, capping off a stellar run by carrying the ball 26 times for 256 yards and four touchdowns in the Warriors’ 34-14 win over Lee County in the 3AA title game.

Before Capone was promoted to the team’s head coach, he spent time as offensive coordinator under Tim Carson, who was 74-24 as the team’s head coach from 2011-17. Carson won at least one playoff game in each of his seven years with the team and, in 2016, he led the Warriors to the program’s first ever state championship — rebounding admirably after losing three of the first four games during the regular season.

This year’s Weddington team shares similarities with those of the past. The Warriors have always harped on defensive excellence, and the 2021 team is currently giving up just 11.9 points per game while the team has compiled a 12-1 record.

Where the Warriors have really shined, however, is on the offensive side of the ball. Weddington has amassed over 4,000 yards rushing and receiving already. At quarterback, senior Grady Brosterhous has completed 61.5% of his passes for 2,234 yards, 21 touchdowns and four interceptions while also running for 438 yards and six more scores.

Weddington’s top offensive player has been senior running back Kyle Parsons, who totaled 232 yards and three touchdowns in the Warriors’ playoff win over Cuthbertson last Friday.

Through three playoff games, Parsons is averaging 188.7 rushing yards and 2.7 rushing touchdowns per game. During his final year with Weddington in 2019, Shipley — now a freshman at Clemson — averaged 176.4 rushing yards and 2.4 touchdowns in five playoff games.

Weddington’s next opponent, Chambers, is also no stranger to playoff success. The Cougars have won each of the past two 4AA state championships and seem intent on capturing a third. Chambers’ only loss this season came against Hough, which is the No. 1 overall seed in the west region.

Chambers is the only team that didn’t lose to Hough by double digits this season. The Huskies — who play East Forsyth this Friday — will likely await the winner of Weddington’s home game against Chambers.