Hibriten wins county title
The Hibriten Panthers rushed for more than 500 yards to defeat South Caldwell 48-26 and win the Caldwell County championship on Friday in Lenoir.
“One thing we talked about all offseason was to get through the non-conference schedule and open the conference schedule with a win,” Hibriten head coach Clay Lewis said. “It just so happened that our first (conference) game was against South Caldwell and was for the county championship.”
“I want to give my guys credit for fighting back early after getting down,” South head coach Butch Carter said. “This team is still trying to find its identity. As a coaching staff, we’re going to evaluate our players and we’re going to continue to work hard and get better as a team.”
This year’s title is Hibriten’s fifth in the last seven years.
“Last year, we played great and just came up a little short,” Hibriten starting quarterback and free safety Jacob Copper said. “We knew coming in that South Caldwell would give us a tough game. But we prepared all week in practice and it made a difference tonight.”
The Panthers took almost no time at all to get on the board as Copper scampered 55 yards for a touchdown on the game’s opening play from scrimmage. Hibriten forced a South punt on the ensuing possession, and Dontavis Caldwell returned the punt 70 yards for a touchdown to give the Panthers an early 14-0 lead.
The Spartans drove the field on their second possession, only to see a 31-yard field goal attempt by Nick Mathews sail wide left. Hibriten struck quickly once again on the first play of the possession with a 46-yard touchdown run by TiShawn Daniels. The Panthers scored on the first play of a possession four separate times in the game.
Following the Daniels touchdown run, it was the Spartans who scored on the first play of their possession. Trevar Soles connected with Mathews for a 73-yard touchdown pass. Soles threw for a career-high 230 yards, while Mathews caught for a career-high 164 yards.
On the ensuing Hibriten possession, Copper was picked off by Nick Hudson inside the South 10-yard line. Four plays later, Gavin Reed took it 35 yards to cut the Hibriten lead to 21-12 at the half.
On the Panthers’ first possession of the second half, they drove it 54 yards on eight plays, ending on a one-yard touchdown run by Daniels. Just three minutes later, Copper scored on another long run, this time from 58 yards out to extend the lead to 34-12 after three quarters.
“Copper played a heck of a game for us today,” Lewis said. “He’s such a competitor and he really stepped up for us.”
In the third quarter, South punted on its first three possessions without getting a single first down. The Spartans finally got a first on the fourth possession with less than one minute left in the third.
“You just can’t do that against a high caliber, quick-striking ability team like Hibriten,” Carter said. “We have to be able to move the ball and sustain drives.”
South found the end zone early in the fourth on a one-yard run by Soles, capping off an eight play, 56-yard drive.
Two minutes later, Hibriten scored on another long run. This time is was Daquan Suddreth on an 83-yard run to take a 41-19 advantage with 7:44 to play.
On next South possession, Copper picked off a pass inside the Panthers 10-yard line. On the very next play, Daniels ran 92 yards for the score to make it 48-19.
The Spartans added one more touchdown late in the game on a one-yard run by Adam Watson.
The win for Hibriten was big in many ways. Earlier in the week, the father of Jonathan and Daniel Minton was hospitalized due to health problems. All he wanted was to be there with his two sons to take picture with the Caldwell County championship trophy.
“He (Minton) really wanted to be at the game to see his two-kids hold the trophy,” Lewis said. “The players knew he wanted to be there. He’s very well-respected among our team. This made the win even more special.”
Hibriten will hit the road next Friday when they travel to Hickory to take on St. Stephens. South Caldwell will host Patton.
HIBRITEN 48, SOUTH CALDWELL 26
SOUTH CALDWELL^6 ^6 ^0 ^14 – 26
HIBRITEN^21 ^0 ^13 ^14 – 48
H — Jacob Copper 55 run (Luke Robson kick, failed) 11:47.
H — Dontavis Caldwell 70 punt return (2-pt. run Zac Walker, good) 8:38.
H —TiShawn Daniels 46 run (Robson kick) :47.
SC — Nick Mathews 73 pass from Trevar Soles (Colby Davis kick, failed) :28.
SC —Gavin Reed 35 run (2-pt. pass, failed) 6:53.
H — Daniels 1 run (2-pt. run, failed) 6:09.
H — Copper 58 run (Robson kick) 3:26.
SC —Soles 1 run (Mathews kick) 9:45.
H — Daquan Suddreth 83 run (Robson kick) 7:44.
H — Daniels 92 run (Robson kick) 5:17.
SC —Adam Watson 1 run (Davis kick) 1:31.
RUSHING - South Caldwell: Gavin Reed 18-90, Mason Sides 11-44, Adam Watson 4-37, Garrison Drum 1-3, Trevar Soles 6-(-14), Team 1-(-1). Hibriten: TiShawn Daniels 8-167, Jacob Copper 9-166, Daquan Suddreth 5-118, Davone Jones 1-27, Devell Maxwell 2-24, Zac Walker 4-8, Dontavis Caldwell 3-5, Team 4-(-13).
PASSING -South Caldwell: Trevar Soles 9-18-1, 230 yards. Hibriten: Copper 0-4-1, 0 yards.
RECEIVING - South Caldwell: Nick Mathews 6-164, Noah Bradshaw 1-33,Garrison Drum 1-18, Elijah Davis 1-15.Hibriten: None.