Havelock pulls away from Williams in second half for 42-14 victory

The Havelock Rams seized momentum in the second half with its defense in pulling away to a 42-14 victory over Burlington Williams in the first round of the state 3A playoffs on Friday night in Havelock.

After the Rams took a 21-14 lead on Solomon Beligotti’s third touchdown of the game in the third quarter, Dominick Madden broke on an out route and made a diving interception on Williams’ next possession. Havelock quarterback Corey Cooper converted the turnover into points with an 18-yard touchdown run for a 28-14 Rams lead with 2:09 left in the third quarter.

“At the beginning of the game, I made a really big mistake, and I told my team that I was going to make up for it, and I’m not a liar,” Madden said, referring to a blown coverage in the first half. “I saw an opportunity and I took it. It happened real fast. I just knew I had to make a play.”

Madden added a fourth-quarter interception, and Anthony Harris also intercepted a Williams pass in the second half as the Rams shut out the Bulldogs after a 14-14 first half.

“It was the tale of two halves,” Williams coach Dave Grant said. “The first half, we played excellent, and the second half, we got a little flat.

“We had some picks that certainly changed the momentum of the game. My hat’s off to them. They’re well-coached, they’re a very athletic team, and they do a lot of good things.”

The Rams got a 19-yard touchdown pass from Cooper to Kenyatta Frazier and a 9-yard scoring run from Montrece Gatling in the fourth quarter to round out the scoring.

“Our kids just decided they wanted to play in the second half,” Havelock coach Jim Bob Bryant said, giving his defensive coaches credit for halftime adjustments.

“We talked to our defensive backs, and we were just playing off of them too far,” Bryant said. “Our DBs can run, but we were giving them too much ground. We just told them to cut down their coverage times and cut down the splits, and that they couldn’t beat us deep, and just break on the short routes. That’s what they did in the second half, and they did a great job.”

Williams (6-6) opened the scoring with a 26-yard touchdown run by Shemar Thompson, but the Rams (11-1) answered two minutes later with an 8-yard score by Beligotti as the first quarter ended at 7-7.

Beligotti scored on a 3-yard run midway through the second quarter, but Williams answered on its next drive, getting a 7-yard touchdown run from Kyree Williams on an end around with 1:52 left in the first half.

“Obviously we’re looking forward to the future,” Grant said. “We’re going to miss our seniors. They’ve done a great job for us, and we’re just going to try to build on this for next year.”

As for the Rams, they are scheduled to travel to undefeated Orange for the second round next week.

“They’re a good football team, and right now in the playoffs, you don’t expect to play any bad football teams,” Bryant said. “We’re excited about the challenge of playing an undefeated team.”

Scoring Summary

BW 7 7 0 0 -14

HHS 7 7 14 14 -42

First Quarter

BW – Shemar Thompson, 26-yard run, Jacob Grimm kick, 6:34

HHS – Solomon Beligotti, 8-yard run, Christian Hoomanna kick, 4:36

Second Quarter

HHS – Beligotti, 3-yard run, Hoomanna kick, 6:48

BW – Kyree Williams, 7-yard run, Grimm kick, 1:52

Third Quarter

HHS – Beligotti, 1-yard run, , Hoomanna kick, 4:32

HHS – Corey Cooper, 18-yard run, Hoomanna kick, 2:09

Fourth Quarter

HHS – Kenyatta Frazier, 19-yard pass from Cooper, Hoomanna kick, 8:55

HHS – Montrece Gatling, 9-yard run, Hoomanna kick, 4:07