Wakefield scored with 3:24 left in the game to retake the lead and the defense intercepted its third pass to help the Wolverines hold on for a 40-35 win over the Huskies in the first round of the 4-AA NC High School Athletic Association playoffs Friday night.
Wakefield (7-5) showed its playoff resiliency after it watched a 20-point third quarter lead evaporate to host Heritage.
Quarterback Matt McKay led the Wolverines with four touchdown passes; the last an 8-yard jump ball to Dontel Dunston in the end zone to take the lead for good.
“This has been our mantra for a good while. When they score, let’s go. It’s time to get back on the field on offense and keep working,” Wakefield head coach Rod Sink said.
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Dunston did it on defense as well, picking off a pass with 2:23 left to help seal the win. It was Dunston’s second interception of the game to bookend two receiving touchdowns.
Wakefield led 34-14 when Kelton Whitehead rumbled 22 yards for a touchdown with 4:03 left in the third quarter.
Then momentum swung to Heritage’s side as the Huskies scored touchdowns on its next three possessions. Running back Matt Baker accounted for all three scores; his last a 46-yard burst up the middle that gave the Huskies a 35-34 lead with 8:45 remaining.
Ultimately, it was penalties and turnovers that were the downfall of Heritage.
The Huskies committed six turnovers. The last was a costly fumble on a punt return with 5:09 left in the game. Wakefield would end up scoring the game winner on its possession.
Heritage (8-4) was hosting its first playoff home game. The Huskies had lost their two previous playoff games on the road.