Havelock falls short in 3A state championship to Charlotte Catholic, 14-7

Published: May. 7, 2021 at 11:01 PM EDT|Updated: May. 8, 2021 at 12:15 AM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN/HSOT) - For the fourth straight season, the Charlotte Catholic Cougars are 3A state champions, fending off Havelock, 14-7, Friday night at Carter-Finley Stadium.

The driving force for the Cougars (8-1, 5-1 Southern Carolina 3A) was the defense, as they shut out the Rams (10-1, 5-0 Coastal 3A) in the second half and held UNC running back commit Kamarro Edmonds to 61 yards rushing on 15 attempts (4.1 yards per carry) and a touchdown. Havelock averaged 52.1 points per contest heading into the game, and was held to just 201 yards of total offense.

Senior linebacker Liam Barbee and senior defensive end Connor Dougherty led the way for Catholic with 13 and 11 tackles, respectively. And senior defensive back Kevin Dumser came up with the game-sealing interception with 1:59 remaining, allowing the Cougars to run out the clock.

Catholic opened the scoring on its first drive, thanks to a critical third-down conversion on a 12-yard pass from Sean Boyle to Jack Larsen. That play set up the first of many trick plays from the Cougars: a 36-yard halfback pass from Neel to Franek for a touchdown to make it 7-0.

It took a couple drives for Havelock’s offense to get going, but the Rams closed the first quarter with a couple of big plays. Kamron Hoover took a screen pass from Andrew Frazier and broke a couple tackles on his way to a 46-yard gain. Havelock then went no-huddle and handed it off to Edmonds for 22 yards down to the 2-yard line to end the period. Two plays into the second quarter, Edmonds punched it into the end zone to tie it at 7-7.

Catholic answered that score with some big plays from underclassmen: a 42-yard run by freshman Ryan Henley and a 20-yard touchdown pass from the sophomore, Boyle to his freshman tight end, Larsen ,to take a 14-7 lead with 9:50 left in the half.

The Cougars were able to get off a last-second heave to the end zone at the end of the half, thanks to a hook-and-ladder pass play from Boyle to Robert McKernan to Franek. However, Hoover was able to bat down the pass and keep it a one-score game at the break.

Havelock’s defense came up with a couple of turnovers in the third quarter, with Damario Reeves and Hoover each coming up with interceptions on back-to-back possessions. But the Rams failed to capitalize both times, with a 23-yard penalty in the red zone resulting in a turnover on downs at the Catholic 18-yard line with 8:34 remaining.

Prior to the game, Catholic’s Bobby Verrier and Havelock’s JaQuon Franks received the NCHSAA’s Sportsmanship Award for their respective teams.

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