Hillside quarterback Vad Lee kisses the 4-A state football trophy after winning the championship game against Davie Co. TRAVIS LONG - firstname.lastname@example.org
By TERRY HILL
WINSTON-SALEM -- Senior quarterback Vad Lee happily danced while waving a towel. Coach Antonio King was drenched in Gatorade. Running back Jamaal Williams had a huge grin on his face. The defense had just stopped the opponent inside the 5-yard line as all the time slowly ticked off the fourth-quarter clock.
Durham Hillside had just won the state championship in dominating fashion.
Lee capped off his high school career by throwing 264 yards and three touchdowns, while Williams ran for 83 yards and two scores as the Hornets left no questions about who was the best 4-A team, blanking Davie County 40-0 and completing their mission of a perfect 16-0 season.
"It feels good," Hillside coach Antonio King said. "This team was focused. We had a 6:30 a.m. wakeup call this morning and when me and the other coaches went downstairs at 6:00 a.m., the whole team was already eating breakfast. I told my coaches that somebody was in trouble today."
That somebody was clearly the War Eagles. Despite close to 7,000 Davie fans dressed in orange littering the stands, Hillside was not phased, and set the tone for the game in the opening possession. The Hornets drove the ball 62 yards on six plays, culminating in a 40-yard touchdown when Lee found a wide open Aquez Willis, who broke a tackle and tumbled into the end zone for a 6-0 lead.
After a War Eagles three-and-out, Lee wasted little time, finding a streaking Shawn Malloy for a 57-yard touchdown on the first play of the series and led 14-0 after converting a two-point conversion.
"We knew they were good," Davie coach Doug Illing said. "We needed to keep their offense off the field but we got behind so quick that it took us out of our gameplan and what we like to do. It shocked our kids how far [Lee] could really throw it."
Four plays later, the Hornets' defensive tackle Ronald Thompson caught a deflected ball and took it 30 yards for another score and Hillside was up 20-0 a little over six minutes into the game.
On its next possession, Davie got as deep as the Hillside 35-yard line, but an incomplete pass from quarterback Carson Herndon on fourth down ended the threat.
In the second quarter, Jamaal Williams took over. The senior running back scored on runs of 32 and 11 yards and after Lee found Jarrell Jones with an 11-yard touchdown late in the half, the Hillside was up 40-0 and well on its way to the school's first NCHSAA state title.
"I was laughing scoring that second touchdown," Williams said. "I was laughing because it feels like I am in a dream and could wake up at anytime. I never saw myself doing the things that I'm doing right now."
The teams played a scoreless second half and the only drama left was whether or not Hillside would pitch a shutout. The War Eagles made a late push to put some points on the board, but the Hillside defense rose to the ocassion and stopped Joe Watson on the 3-yard line to end the game.
"Last night in the meeting, one of the guys said they wanted a shutout," King said. "And I was like you know what you've got to do so go out and get it done. It's what they wanted and they got a shutout and we're happy."
The Hornets will be bringing back a state championship trophy back to Durham for the first time since Northern in 1993.
"It's always been one of my dreams," said King, who played for Hillside and has now coached them to a state championship. "I wanted to get my high school to elite status and I did that today."
King will surely miss Lee, who was the engine that made his high-powered offense go.
"We finally accomplished the goal," Lee said. "We've been saying 16-0 all year and now it's finally over and official and we are getting that ring on our finger."