The Wake Forest winning streak is back in double figures.
The Cougars won their 10th consecutive game with a convincing 52-26 romp over neighborhood rival Heritage in the regular-season finale that also decided the Northern Conference 4A title Friday night at Trentini Stadium.
In the season opener, the loss to Cardinal Gibbons had snapped Wake Forest’s 45-game winning streak on Aug. 23, but that night seems a distant memory for the the three-time N.C. High School Athletic Association 4AA state champions.
“That first game was a setback,” said junior wide receiver/defensive back Khalil Watson, who finished his all-around night with one catch for a 26-yard touchdown, an interception and a blocked field goal. “We started working hard and executing after that game. We’ve been getting better and better, and we can get better going into the playoffs.”
Wake Forest opened the game fumbling away its first possession at the Cougars’ 36-yard line, but the defense forced Heritage to give the ball back on downs. Watson recorded a tackle for a 4-yard loss on a third-and-10 play that led to a fourth-and-14 incomplete pass.
Seven plays later, quarterback Noah Douglas hit Watson with a 26-yard touchdown pass. On the next possession, senior Elijah Hines broke off a 62-yard touchdown run.
Wake Forest expanded its lead to 28-0 on Chris Moore’s 53-yard TD run and D.J. Sellers’ 20-yard reception from Douglas.
Heritage, though, didn’t quit. The Huskies got back in the game with a pair of second-quarter touchdowns to make it 28-14 at halftime.
Quarterback Walker Harris completed a 21-yard pass to Brodrick Gooch with 4 minutes left in the half. After the defense forced a punt, Heritage mounted a quick drive, with Harris completing a 17-yard pass Whit Kane.
Both passes were well placed against tight coverage. Gooch caught his ball in stride with a defender on his back. Kane grabbed his pass while falling backward in the end zone and keeping his feet in bounds as he fell. Harris finished the night completing 31-of-46 passes for 328 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions.
But Wake Forest opened the third quarter with two touchdowns.
The Cougars drove 83 yards in eight plays with Hines scoring on a 25-yard run. Seven seconds later, Wake Forest senior cornerback Damien Peacock jumped a pass in the flat he returned 31 yards for a touchdown. The Cougars suddenly led 42-14.
Wake Forest rolled up 333 yards rushing on 43 carries. Chris Moore carried 16 times for 134 yards and one touchdown and Elijah Hines 15 for 107 and two TDs.
RECORDS: Heritage (7-4, 4-1 Northern 4A); Wake Forest (10-1, 5-0 Northern 4A)
THREE WHO MATTERED
Broderick Gooch, Heritage: The sophomore receiver caught 13 balls for 167 yards and one touchdown.
Whit Kane, Heritage: The senior receiver caught 11 passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns.
Noah Douglas, Wake Forest: The senior quarterback threw touchdown passes of 26 and 20 yards and ran for a 25-yard score. He carried seven times for 59 yards and completed 4-of-11 passes for 80 yards without an interception.
▪ Bryce Love, the 2017 Heisman Trophy runner-up at Stanford, had his No. 22 Wake Forest jersey retired during a halftime ceremony. In three high school varsity seasons, Love ran 511 times for 5,372 yards, averaging 10.5 per carry with 83 touchdowns. The Cougars were the NCHSAA 4AA runner-up in both 2013 and 2014.
In Love’s junior season, he ran for 2,118 yards while finishing second Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. He was Doak Walker Award recipient as the nation’s top running back.
He is on the Washington Redskins injured reserve list as he rehabilitates a college injury. Washington drafted him in the fourth round despite the injury.
Love held up the framed jersey with both hands above his head as the crowd cheered for him.
“This honor is right up there with all the others I’ve won,” Love said. “Community is very important to me and this place is the foundation of who I am as a player and person. This is a lifetime achievement award.”
Love is continuing his studies to become a pediatrician.
WF – Kahlil Watson 26 pass from Noah Douglas (Austin Riley kick)
WF – Elijah Hines 62 run (kick failed)
WF – Chris Moore 53 run (Noah Douglas run)
WF – D.J. Sellers 20 pass from Noah Douglas (Riley kick)
H – Broderick Gooch 21 pass from Walker Harris (Ben Steele kick)
H – Whit Kane 17 pass from Walker Harris (Steele kick)
WF – Elijah Hines 25 run (Riley kick)
WF – Damien Peacock 31 interception return (Riley kick)
H – Whit Kane 23 pass from Walker Harris (kick failed)
H – Jonah Portugal 15 pass from Walker Harris (pass failed)
WF – Riley 40 FG
WF – Douglas 25 run (Austin Riley kick)