Nolan Groulx Hough

Hough receiver Nolan Groulx is tackled by a pair of Vance defenders in the Nov. 30 playoff game.

CHARLOTTE – History repeated itself in many ways Nov. 30 in the third-round 4AA matchup between Hough and Vance.

In the host Cougars’ 34-21 win over the Huskies, rainy conditions throughout the day and during the game led to a soggy, spongey field. It was in similar conditions just weeks earlier that Vance handed Hough a loss to close the regular season.

Not everything was the same, however. On Nov. 16 Hough was coming off a loss to Mallard Creek. On the 30th, Hough was coming off a win over the mighty Mavericks – the first since 2015.

Hough was shutout in the regular season finale, a 25-0 Vance win. This time, the Huskies reached the end zone three times, but not in the fourth quarter after Vance had retaken the lead. 

Trailing 20-14 with just over a minute left in the third, Hough quarterback Kennique Bonner-Steward found receiver Austin Robinson for an 80-yard touchdown pass. An extra point put the Huskies up by 1.

“We did a nice job of checking out of a play to that one to get the matchup,” Hough coach Matt Jenkins said following the game. 

But the lead and good feelings were short-lived. Two Vance plays later, Cougars quarterback Nigel Summerville threw a short pass to Nyier Clark, who ran past the entire Hough defense for a touchdown.

“We had momentum going, and they got it back,” Jenkins said. “(Clark) had a nice catch and nice run, and they got the momentum right back.”

Hough’s offense picked consecutive first downs via runs by Bonner-Steward and Evan Pryor to get into Vance territory. However, the quarterback’s first throw of the fourth quarter was tipped and intercepted. Vance returned it just short of the goal line and scored the next play.

Pryor did not have the kind of performance he produced earlier in the postseason. After gaining 140 yards against North Meck Nov. 16, the sophomore only had 40 rushing yards and lost a fumble in the second quarter that set up a go-ahead score for Vance.

“It was not a good football play, and it hurt us,” Jenkins said. “I don’t know if it set the tone for kickoffs per se, but it hurt. It gave them seven.”

Bonner-Steward finished his senior season completing 62.5 percent of his passes for 2,443 yards and 29 touchdowns. He also amassed 561 yards rushing and had eight touchdowns on the ground.

The vast majority of Hough’s catches came from seniors as well. Nolan Groulx racked up 836 yards and six touchdowns, while Robinson, Hough’s deep threat, had 700 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Groulx is committed to play at Wake Forest, and Robinson to Miami of Ohio.

On the defensive side, Tyus Fields is committed to Tennessee. He was ejected with about 5 minutes remaining. 

At 41-14, this senior class ties 2015 for the school record for wins over a four-year stretch. 

“A ton of tremendous athletes, tremendous football players, a bunch of great young men,” Jenkins said. “We’re going to sorely miss them. We’ve got some shoes to fill next year.”

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