On Friday night, Hoggard defeated (2) Cleveland in the fourth round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A state playoffs, avenging their previous defeat.
The Cleveland Rams suffered their first defeat of the season with a 51-35 loss to the Vikings, who scored the first three touchdowns of the match.
Hudson Wilharm was responsible for Hoggard’s first three touchdowns. In the first quarter, he successfully threw a 32-yard pass to Nas Session, resulting in a 7-0 score. In the second quarter, Wilharm made two more touchdown connections – one with Skyler Merrill for five yards and another with Blake Edwards for 20 yards. This brought Hoggard’s lead to 21-0.
Before halftime, Cleveland was able to score twice. Tyson Stokes scored on runs of 16 and 11 yards, bringing Cleveland’s score to 21-14 at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Rams equalized the score. Wilharm and Session made a successful connection for a touchdown, bringing the score to 28-14. Stokes then scored two additional touchdowns with eight-yard and 66-yard runs. By the end of the third quarter, the two teams were tied at 28-28.
However, Cleveland was never able to gain the advantage.
In the beginning of the final quarter, Hoggard’s defense managed to tackle Cleveland’s quarterback, Jackson Byrd, resulting in a safety. Soon after, Wilharm and Sessions teamed up for a 57-yard touchdown. This increased Hoggard’s lead to 37-28.
Byrd made a touchdown throw, bringing Cleveland’s score to 37-35. The second-year player successfully completed an 85-yard pass to Cameron Goins for the touchdown.
Hoggard scored two additional touchdowns in the final quarter to solidify their victory. Wilharm and Session successfully connected for the fourth time, while Brayden Stephens intercepted a pass from Byrd and ran it back for a touchdown.
Next week, Hoggard (13-1) will welcome Cardinal Gibbons for the 4A eastern regional championship. The Crusaders caused an upset on Friday night by defeating top-seeded Rolesville.
The season for Cleveland concludes with a 13-1 record, setting a new school record for the most wins in a season.