HAVELOCK -- After a two-year absence, Havelock is back where the Rams are used to ending football seasons - in the state championship game.

And standing in the Rams' way of a title is Charlotte Catholic, which is also accustomed to December football.

The two teams meet Saturday at 3 p.m. at Duke University's Wallace Wade Stadium in the NCHSAA 3A final.

While Havelock has played in eight of the last nine 3A East finals, Catholic has played in eight of the last nine West finals, splitting between 4A and 3A.

Also like Havelock, Catholic lost in the 2014 state title game, to New Bern, while Havelock fell to Crest.

Many similarities lie in the two programs, but as for the teams this season, they do things much differently.

While Havelock has Zach Sabdo at quarterback, who has had a record-shattering season throwing for more than 4,000 yards with 46 touchdowns, Catholic's quarterback Christopher Walton has tossed for 1,508 yards with 23 touchdowns.

The Cougars get most of their production from the ground game, led by Milan Howard's 1,800 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns and Lamagea McDowell's 900 yards and 16 scores.

"They are a very good football team and have a great program and tradition," Havelock coach Caleb King said of Catholic. "We have to play at a high level and we have to do our jobs."

The Rams can certainly counter the Cougar running attack with a potent one-two punch of their own in Khalil Barrett and Cameron Hutchinson.

Barrett has had a senior season in which he has amassed over 2,000 total yards (1,089 rushing, 988 receiving) and 29 total touchdowns.

A junior, Hutchinson, has run for 996 yards on the season with 19 touchdowns and caught for 767 yards with 10 more.

Defensively, Havelock showcased its lateral team speed in last week's 41-14 win over Western Alamance keeping Tulane commit Christian Daniels from getting to the edge.

Linebackers Tyiyon Johnson, Solomon Beligotti and Matt Moody all have over 100 tackles on the season to lead the defense.

Jordan Honeycutt can be reached at 252-635-5670 and at jordan.honeycutt@newbernsj.com