Even with most of its starters sitting on the bench for much of the second half on Friday, New Hanover had little trouble in getting out of the first round of the 4A state playoffs at Legion Stadium.
Burke Estes passed for four touchdowns before coming out of the game midway through the third quarter as the Wildcats extended their winning streak to eight straight with a 47-9 rout of Knightdale.
New Hanover will host West Johnston on the second round Friday.
There was a scary moment late in the game when the Knights’ Tauraz Williams was injured in the fourth quarter. Paramedics and trainers worked on Williams for about 15 minutes before he was carried off of the field on a stretcher with an apparent rib injury.
New Hanover’s defense was impressive most of the night, limiting the Knights to 176 total yards with much of that coming with the game well in hand.
Courtesy of spectacular play by its defense, New Hanover started its first two drives in Knightdale territory.
Ka’Twon Hill put an end to the Knights’ opening drive when he hopped on the loose ball after quarterback Andre Willis coughed it up.
Four plays later, Estes found Garrett Walston for a 19-yard touchdown.
A quick three-and-out gave New Hanover the ball back on the Knight 49 and Estes capped another four-play drive with a 25-yard pass to Lamont Howard, who spun around in the end zone to make the catch.
Estes tossed his third touchdown in as many drives late in the first quarter when he found Wizdom Vaughn down the sideline for a 54-yard TD and a 20-0 lead.
Trequan Age added a 36-yard scoring run in the final minute of the first half as the Wildcats went into the locker room with a 26-0 advantage.
Estes connected with Vaughn for a 15-yard touchdown in the third while Javeon Hill and Syron Williams rushed for scores in the second half.
Knightdale scored on a 13-yard run by Josh Schenck in the third quarter and got a safety in the fourth.
The loss ended the high school football days of 15 Knightdale seniors: Williams, Willis, Jhasire Morgan, Malik Branch, Adrian Edmond, Khal Lewis, Josh Lancaster, Josh Schenck, Corey Wiggins, Jason Wiggins, Daytwain Terry, Malcolm Spears, Marcus Griffin, Jaelen Williams and Javonte Collins.