Panthers take big win over Hoggard to stay unbeaten

Jackson Weatherwax knew he had the ball.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Carolina Forest wide receiver made a sliding grab that appeared to put the Panthers ahead of Hoggard, but the referee ruled the ball hit the ground.

When Weatherwax made a second sliding catch a few minutes later, there was no doubt.

That touchdown gave the Panthers (3-0) a 42-35 lead and the defense followed it with a key fourth down stop in the waning minutes to secure a major road victory over the powerhouse Vikings.

“This is like a big win going against one of the best teams in North Carolina,” said Weatherwax, who had a 66-yards touchdown catch earlier in the contest. “It’s always a good game.”

Last year, the Vikings shut out the Panthers in a 21-0 drubbing. Weatherwax said the team used that loss as motivation heading into Friday’s contest.

“Last year it was coach [Marc] Morris’s second time only ever getting shut out,” the senior said. “He wanted to win this game big.”

The Panthers jumped out to a 21-7 lead in the first quarter, but the Vikings never went away.

“Typical Wilmington Hoggard,” Morris said. “They battled back, tied the game up. Fortunately for us, our offense came through with a couple big plays there.”

The victory sets up a showdown next week with in-county rival Myrtle Beach. The Seahawks are also undefeated after routing Socastee 63-20.

“Any time you have county rivalries, it’s big for the communities,” Morris said. “It’s big for the area. It’s something honestly that our community should embrace and pump up and be a part of it.”

Photo by Charles Perry/myhorrynews

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