New Hanover hangs on against Garner, 41-38
Posted September 7
Updated September 9
Garner, N.C. — Westley Gaines hit a 32-yard field goal with 2:21 left in the fourth quarter New Hanover overcame a two-score deficit and defeated Garner 41-38 on Friday night at South Garner High School.
For Gaines, the field goal, his second of the night, came just moments after a Garner fumble and recovery by the Wildcats - Gaines had missed a 41-yard attempt on the previous drive prior to the fumble.
Garner (1-3) built a two-score lead to open the game as Jaydin Dixon scored from 53-yards out to give the Trojans a 7-0 lead. Following the first of two interceptions for the Garner defense, sophomore quarterback Nolan McLean found Jon Anthony Jonson for a 16-yard score and a 14-0 Garner lead.
New Hanover (4-0) would respond with a seven yard rushing score from Meegan Canty but Garner had another answer and took at 20-7 lead into the second quarter as McLean connected on another passing score, this time to Donovan Evans, but the extra point was missed and the Trojans had to settle for the 13 point lead.
The Wildcats stormed back on a 12-play drive to open the second quarter culminating in a quarterback sneak from Blake Walston and trimmed the Garner lead to 20-14.
Garner scored again late in the first half when McLean threw his third score of the first half this time to tight end, Spencer Stephenson and gave the Trojans a 26-14 lead after a failed two-point conversion. On the ensuing drive, New Hanover marched down the field and Gaines nailed a 41-yard field goal to close the half with Garner leading 26-17.
Both teams traded scores to open the second half, with New Hanover opening the scoring on a 10 yard score from Wiz Vaughn to cut the Garner lead to two, 26-24 before the Trojans answered when McLean connected for his fourth touchdown pass of the night, connecting with Justin Lewis and expanding the lead to 32-24.
New Hanover answered early in the fourth quarter when Walston found Vaughn for the score but the two-point try was no good and the Wildcats trailed 32-30.
Garner once again regained an eight point lead late in the quarter when McLean led the Trojans on a 10 play drive, all on the ground as Dixon marched Garner down to the one-yard line before McLean scored to give the Trojans a 38-30 after another missed two-point conversion.
On the ensuing kick-off, New Hanover found a seem and ran it all the way back for an 85-yard kick return - the Wildcats made the two-point try and evened the score at 38 with just over four minutes left the game.
After Garner went three and out, Gaines missed the 41-yard field goal before connecting on the next drive.
Garner had a shot to win the game at the end, however McLean's fourth down pass went just past the outstretched arms of the Trojan receiver and allowed the Wildcats to hold on to the 41-38 win.
New Hanover continues its road trip next week when they travel to South Brunswick while Garner will welcome Leesville Road to South Garner High School.