Cougars maul Pirates, 29-0Courtesy NCHSAA / December 24, 2016
RALEIGH, N.C. – The Wake Forest Cougars defense led the way to make the school’s fourth appearance in the state championship game and defense dominated the day bringing the Cougars their first state championship with a 29-0 victory over Greensboro Page.
The Cougar defense held the explosive Page offense to just 142 yards of offense and forced four interceptions. The defense opened the day by forcing a three-and-out on the Pirates first offensive series. Then Wake Forest special teams came up big as Darius Hodge broke through and blocked the Pirate punt. The block was recovered by Thomas Murray who scooped up the ball at the Pirate 10 and scored to give the Cougars a 7-0 lead with 10:42 to go in the first quarter.
After another Pirate three-and-out on the ensuing possession, Wake Forest took over near midfield at their own 42, driving seven plays and cashing in on the good field position with a 2-yard Devon Lawrence touchdown run. The point after was blocked and the Cougars jumped in front 13-0 with 5:45 to go in the first.
The Pirate offense continued to struggle, as Wake Forest continued to force the pressure on Pirate quarterback Will Jones. Darius Hodge dominated the game from the linebacker spot making 17 tackles on the afternoon, including the blocked punt. He was named the game’s M.V.P. Seth Williams had two interceptions and was tapped as the Cougars Most Outstanding Defensive Performer.
The Cougar offense capitalized on good field position most of the night as Lawrence turned in a strong performance against the Pirates solid defensive front. Lawrence gained 77 yards on the ground, scoring two touchdowns rushing while throwing for another on a halfback pass to Lex Goodwin with 10:08 to play in the fourth, giving Wake Forest a 29-0 lead.
The Pirates completed their season 14-2 on the year and champions of the All-Metro 4A Conference. Javon Leake was named Page’s Most Outstanding Offensive Performer with 36 hard-earned yards on 18 carries.
Wake Forest finished the year unblemished at 16-0, they were the champions of the CAP 8 4A Conference. They claimed the school’s first championship and made their fourth appearance in the state finals, all since 2010. The win for Wake Forest was the first Football Championship for a team from Wake County since Garner won the title in 1987, snapping a 29-year drought.