WEDDINGTON – It doesn’t matter to Weddington star running back Will Shipley whether he’s wearing both of his cleats or just one, the kid can find the end zone.
Shipley caught a 31-yard touchdown pass in the first half and then went 68 yards for another score on the final play of the third quarter to help lead Weddington to a 28-12 victory over Porter Ridge in a non-conference showdown on Aug. 31.
Shipley’s first touchdown gave the Warriors a 14-6 after he hauled in a short pass from senior quarterback Whitner Litton with 1 minute, 10 seconds left in the first half. Shipley broke a tackle, losing his right shoe in the process, and raced into the end zone to give the Warriors the lead at halftime.
Porter Ridge had climbed to within 21-12 with just under five minutes left in the third quarter after a 54-yard touchdown run by Alex Chapman, but Shipley’s 68-yard run gave Weddington a 28-12 lead going to the fourth quarter.
In the end, Shipley rushed seven times for 84 yards and caught two passes for 36 yards, but admitted it was a little difficult running for a touchdown with just one shoe on.
“I caught the quick pass and I felt the linebacker grab my leg and the shoe came off,” he said. “I cut it out quick with the shoe that I did have and I just took off. I felt like I was running on ice with my other foot.”
Weddington head coach Andy Capone didn’t think running with one shoe hampered his highly touted running back.
“It didn’t look like it slowed him down,” Capone said. “Will is a dynamic guy and we have to get the ball to him in different ways. Will gives us maximum effort. We can’t teach a lot of the things Will does.”
Porter Ridge used field goals of 37 and 34 yards by Charlotte 49er commit Jared Wheatley for an early 6-0 lead, but the Weddington defense kept the Pirate high-octane running attack in check for most of the game.
The Pirates, who entered averaging almost 600 yards of offense per game, finished with just 265 total yards – 183 rushing and 82 passing.
Porter Ridge senior running back Jaylen Coleman entered the game with 449 yards rushing yards through the first two weeks of the season, but the Duke commit was slowed by a foot injury in this one.
Coleman sat for most of the second quarter and had only one rushing attempt in the second half. He ended the game with just four carries for 30 yards.
Quarterback Grayson McCall also missed several series in the first half with an injury but returned in the second half, finishing with 56 yards rushing while completing 10-of-23 passes for 82 yards.
“We knew they were a high-powered offense with a big and physical line with dynamic backs,” Capone said. “Our kids kept fighting and they did a great job. I’m sure we are going to be sore from this, but great effort.”
James Shipley made it a family affair in the scoring department as the senior receiver reeled in a 36-yard touchdown reception while catching six passes for 61 yards.
Litton was 13-of-25 passing for 184 yards and three touchdowns, and Weddington finished with 290 yards of offense.
Weddington returns to action Sept. 7, when they travel to East Meck. Porter Ridge hosts Sun Valley.