New Hanover football's best defense more than good enough for 4-game win streak

New Hanover football coach Dylan Dimock clearly was directing his words at someone in particular, but in reality, any Wildcat could have been on the receiving end of his plea late in the third quarter at Legion Stadium.

“Don’t do anything cute,” he yelled to his offense after a false start penalty pushed his team inside its own 30.

Cute, this night was not, for New Hanover on offense. But it was downright nasty for the Wildcats’ defense in a 28-13 victory, and that’s just how they like it.

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The Cougars entered averaging more than 42 points and 400 yards of offense per game. South scored only one offensive touchdown and finished with 155 total yards.

Even when the Wildcats’ offense left its defense in tough situations, those players responded, led by Jarron Frost, Donnell Holmes and a group of defensive backs that had two interceptions, and could have had at least three more.

“Coach (John) Fuller does a great job,” Dimock said. “I didn't say anything to him (after a second-half turnover at midfield), but I wanted to go over and apologize. ... They do a great job and our kids are buying into it, and I think that our secondary is becoming elite.”

In its fourth win in a row, New Hanover (4-1, 2-0 Mideastern) scored twice within a minute late in the first quarter, grabbing a touchdown on its first offensive series and then blocking the ensuing punt by South Brunswick (3-2, 0-2) in the end zone for a 14-0 lead.

From there, however, it was a frustrating night. New Hanover ended the first half with eight penalties for 70 yards, including a holding call that negated a Caden Morton touchdown. It also lost quarterback Caleb Robles to an injured shoulder, which thrust backup Nathan Larose into a full-time role.

New Hanover finished with nine penalties and three turnovers. Yet, once it adjusted to South’s surprise run-heavy gameplan, the Cougars were pinned back. South had only three first downs in the second half.

Jarron Frost (33) and Cornelius Allen celebrate after a New Hanover blocked punt for a touchdown as New Hanover hosts South Brunswick Friday night.  September 23, 2022.  [KEN OOTS/FOR STARNEWS]
Jarron Frost (33) and Cornelius Allen celebrate after a New Hanover blocked punt for a touchdown as New Hanover hosts South Brunswick Friday night. September 23, 2022. [KEN OOTS/FOR STARNEWS]

“It's good to get an ugly win. That gives them confidence. We haven't touched the ceiling of our potential, and we (showed) can get a win against a good football team,” Dimock said.

“I keep asking my guys for four quarters. We got three last week, maybe two this week. We put it all together, we'll play with anybody. We just can't make stupid mistakes, and it's frustrating when that happens.”

This article originally appeared on Wilmington StarNews: New Hanover defense locks down South Brunswick for 4th win in a row