Weddington's playoff run ended on Friday night, losing a heartbreaker to Grimsley, 28-27, in the 4A West Regional final.
On the road for the first time since late October, the Warriors came out with an impressive offensive first half scoring 21 points. But, unfortunately, every time Weddington scored, Grimsley's offense struck back, with both teams entering halftime tied at 21.
The third quarter saw both teams' defenses settling in, resulting in no difference in score heading into the game's final quarter.
Early in the 4th quarter, Weddington broke the deadlock when quarterback Tyler Budge hit Brett Williams over the middle for a 27-yard catch and run touchdown with 11:14 remaining in regulation. However, the extra-point attempt was blocked.
Weddington's defense forced a Grimsley's punt on their next possession, giving Weddington the ball at midfield, still leading 27-21. After a clutch 4th and 11 pass and catch from Budge to Griffin Reimer, things were looking good for Weddington on Grimsley's 11-yard line with a fresh set of downs.
Credit Grimsley's defense for tightening up and forcing the Warriors to a field goal attempt. Unfortunately, the field goal was blocked; instead of Weddington extending their lead to nine points with six minutes to play, Grimsley's offense was given life. With 2:20 to play, Grimsley scored the game-winning touchdown on a seven-yard run; Grimsley led 28-27.
Weddington did have one last possession, and once again, it was a Budge to Reimer pass that would put the Warriors at midfield with about 1:20 to play, but the pass was called incomplete by the side judge. From my vantage point, there was no doubt Reimer's foot was inbounds, but possession might have been in question. The side judge was in front of the play, so I expect he had a better view of the catch.
The big guy was robbed of another catch that ended a second half drive. How does a ref miss this one? #1 has a big foot which is not hard to see!?!! Perhaps, he didn't have control, but I think otherwise. (so does his sideline) @griffin_reimer pic.twitter.com/KDxuedsmIG— Tim Winters (@UCNCFootball) December 3, 2022
Bad call or not, Weddington did have the opportunity to win in a place that is not easy to win. Early in the second half, another big pass play to Reimer early in the second half put the ball deep in Grimsley territory; an uncharacteristic Weddington fumble ended a chance for more points.
That's football—a game of inches and capitalizing on opportunities or opponents' mistakes.
Weddington's season ends with a fantastic 13-2 season and their fourth consecutive conference title.