Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday morning and still feeling the tingliness from watching an epic high school football playoff game Friday night.

When Hunt cornerback Malik Williams, in front of Cleveland wide receiver Alex Raines, knocked down the pass from another Rams receiver, Donqua Williams (who had taken a lateral from quarterback Aaron Farmer), in the end zone with no time left, the Warriors had amazingly survived a game they alternately looked like they would dominate or have no chance of winning.

Cleveland, after a long opening kickoff runback, needed two plays to score a touchdown. But Hunt, behind its great senior tailback Josh Joyner, surged to a 21-7 lead that could have been more if they'd converted a turnover, not to mention a failed fourth-down pass on a faked punt that had six points written all over it at first.

But the Rams offense not only came back in the third quarter, their defense did something no other team had done all season — shut down Joyner. I have to admit on one of those three-and-out possessions with Joyner in the wildcat and barely making to to the line of scrimmage, I wondered if that would be the end of Hunt's season.

But the Warriors went to the air to regain the lead and then their defense just did what it had done all year — keep the other team out of the end zone. The Rams got to Hunt's 17 but Lewis Neal and Javis Neal Hill batted down Farmer's passes before Williams knocked away Cleveland's last-gasp heave.

Now Hunt will be the guest of two-time state 3-AA champion Northern Guilford in next week's N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-AA Eastern Final after losing to the Nighthawks in that game in Wilson the past two seasons. The Warriors have put together a three-year run that is the best in Wilson County since those legendary Fike teams won three straight 4-A championships in the late 1960s. The Cyclones, as they were known then, would take half of Wilson to away games, the line of buses a quarter-mile long.

It would be nice if Wilson got back on the bus, so to speak, and hit the highway to support the Warriors in Greensboro next week. Because if you love high school football, this one promises to be an epic showdown.

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