Vikings end Wildcats' streak in series

Hoggard's Gene Beckwith (right) tries to hold off New Hanover's Ramone Simpson while running the ball during the cross-town rivalry game at Legion Stadium on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013. (Photo by Jeff Janowski)


New Hanover quarterback Ward Coleman's fourth-down pass skidded across the Legion Stadium end zone and, back near the quarterback, Hoggard senior defensive end Kyle Delaney could finally breathe a sigh of relief he'd waited years to take.

Hoggard needed a defensive stand in the final seconds Friday to hold on for a 21-18 football win over rival New Hanover. The Vikings allowed the Wildcats to drive within 12 yards of the go-ahead touchdown, then stopped the threat. The victory snapped a three-game Hoggard losing streak that spanned Delaney's varsity career.

"It's always this type of a game," Delaney said. "We know what it's about. It's my favorite game of the year. To be able to actually beat Hanover, it's amazing."

Trailing by a field goal, New Hanover (3-3, 0-1 Mideastern) stopped Keevin Thompson's fourth-down run and took over at their 13-yard line with 2 minutes, 55 seconds left.

Coleman had completed only five of his first 15 attempts when the drive began, then hit three straight passes to move the Wildcats within scoring range. The last of those was a 39-yard completion to senior Travon Holliday, thrown across his body deep down field.

After a short run and a play where Delaney broke into the backfield to force intentional grounding, New Hanover got two cracks at the end zone from the 22-yard line.

Coleman's first pass went out of bounds near the goal line, and the second sailed just out of the reach of Parese Williams. There was some contact on New Hanover's final chance play but calls from the home fans for a flag went unanswered.

"There's nobody we'd rather have on the field to win the game than our defense," Hoggard coach Scott Braswell said. "They've just played lights out."

For the past 40 years, New Hanover County's longest-running rivalry had been played as the regular-season finale. With conference realignment, this year's edition was bumped it to the front of the conference slate but delivered all the usual drama.

Hoggard (6-1, 2-0) never trailed after capping the game's first drive with a trick-play score. Wide receiver Randall Emerson took a handoff and found Harrison Smith behind the defense for a 25-yard touchdown.

Emerson also finished with a game-high six catches for 93 yards and caught another touchdown.

New Hanover trailed by double digits in the first quarter but rallied behind senior Ramone Simpson. The running back finished with 155 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. He pulled the Wildcats within a score on his 12-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter, but their comeback bid fell short.

"When Hanover and Hoggard get together, it's a crazy thing," New Hanover coach Kevin Motsinger said. "This was another one. People got their money's worth."

Eric Detweiler: 343-2261

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