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Weddington’s the only Sweet 16 left, and here’s a preview of the Hoggard team it will face

Weddington is the only team left playing in The Observer’s Sweet 16 poll. The poll is sponsored by Deer Park Water.

All of the other 106 football playing schools in the newspaper’s coverage area have completed their seasons. The Warriors, now 13-2 and ranked second, will play Wilmington’s Hoggard High School Saturday in Raleigh for the NC 4A state championship.

Weddington won NC 3AA championships in 2016, 2018 and 2019. The Warriors are now playing in the championship game in the state’s most difficult class for the first time. The Warriors beat Independence 34-14 in the 4A Western Regional Championship game to earn its state finals berth.

Hoggard scored 34 straight points to beat Raleigh’s Cardinal Gibbons 41-20 in the 4A Eastern Regional final Friday. Hoggard won its first regional championship since 2007, when it went onto beat Mount Tabor 28-0 in the 4A state championship game.

This season, Hoggard lost its season-opening game, 28-20, to Cleveland. Since then, it’s won 14 straight games and outscored opponents by an average score of 44-10. In the playoffs, Hoggard has increased its scoring average to 45.2 points per game, led by 6-foot-5, 190-pound senior quarterback Hudson Wilharm and three senior running backs — Javion Joseph-Fontaine, M’kel Bellamy and Tamear Webb — who were all averaging more than five yards per carry through their first 10 games of the year.

The defense is led by 6-1, 205-pound middle linebacker Reagan Printy, who has 172 tackles and seven sacks. Teammate Malakahi West, a 6-3, 235-pound defensive end, has 14.5 sacks.