Catholic did it again.
The Charlotte Catholic Cougars won their fourth straight N.C. 3A state championship Friday night, winning a tight game against Havelock, 14-7.
Catholic (9-1) won its eighth state championship and its fifth in six seasons. And the Cougars did it with defense. Havelock (10-1) was making its eighth state finals appearance and its first since losing 28-14 to Charlotte Catholic in 2017.
“Going four-for-four is something that doesn’t happen every day,” said championship MVP Liam Barbee. “It’s pretty mind blowing.”
Running back Paul Neel and Barbee were among several Cougars who will leave school having won a state championship in all four years.
“It’s a great legacy,” Neel said. “That’s what we wanted to leave here when first came in here as freshmen, and that’s what we did. We’re going out on top. I don’t know if many people can say they were 4-for-4 in their high school careers.”
This year, Havelock brought a powerhouse offense to the final to end Catholic’s streak. But the Rams, averaging more than 52 points, got 201 yards total offense on 57 plays Friday, and just one score.
Defensively, Havelock shut down the Cougars’ run game all night. Catholic ran 36 times for 125 yards, but the Cougars’ defense just kept making plays.
Havelock coach Allen Wooten felt the teams could play 10 times and each one would win five. He said Friday, unfortunately, was Catholic’s night.
“I hate it for them,” Wooten said about his team afterwards. “I love them. It’s a tough loss. Up until tonight, they were perfect.”
Catholic’s defense was tested throughout the final two quarters, as Havelock mounted several drives in attempt to tie the score, or take the lead.
Three of Havelock’s first four possessions of the second half took the Rams into Catholic territory.
None bore points.
Catholic’s Chase Fuller got an interception with 1:59 to play at the Havelock 45. That sealed the game.
Offensively, Catholic did its damage in the first half.
Catholic got an early lead, scoring on its first drive, thanks to a surprise 36-yard scoring pass from running back Paul Neel to Adam Franek.
UNC recruit Kamarro Edmonds (15 carries, 61 yards) later tied the score for Havelock on a 1-yard run, finishing off a drive where he and receiver Kamron Hoover made several big plays.
But after Catholic answered Edmonds’ score with a 81-yard drive, Edmonds went down with an injury and had to be helped off the field. He later returned to the game but was clearly not 100 percent.
Three who mattered
Connor Dougherty, Charlotte Catholic: Catholic’s defensive MVP had 11 tackles.
Liam Barbee, Charlotte Catholic: Championship MVP had 13 tackles to lead both teams.
Kamron Hoover, Havelock: senior receiver/defensive back caught nine passes for 69 yards and had six tackles.
They said it
“It’s great coaching. My staff has been with me. It’s a special place to play. You get great fans that love the sport and you’ve got these players who really just buy in. They believe in each other. They’ve come up through the sixth grade, seventh grade, eighth grade playing together, so they’ve played for seven years of football. I think that’s a huge key, and then they start believing in us as coaches.” — Catholic coach Mike Brodowicz
Havelock 0 7 0 0 — 7
Catholic 7 7 0 0 — 14
CC: Adam Franek 36 pass from Paul Neel (Jack Jones kick)
H: Kamarro Edmonds 1 run (William Ferry kick)
CC: Jack Larsen 20 pass from Sean Boyle (Jones kick)