Hanson Plays for State Title Tonight

North Carolina commitment Braden Hanson will conclude his senior season at home Friday in the NCSIAA Division I Championship game against a familiar foe – Charlotte Christian.

"They were a really tough team defensively," Hanson said of the first matchup with Christian on Sept. 28, which Latin won 33-10. "They gave us a little problem with the pass game. They were dropping a lot of guys.

"I think [dropping a lot of guys] opened up some holes to run the ball. And we did that pretty effectively and we were able to score 33 points despite four or five turnovers."

In that game, Hanson, a 6-foot-6, 190-pound quarterback, had arguably his worst performance of a near perfect season, tossing three interceptions.

"That was the most interceptions I threw all year," Hanson said. "[The interceptions] were mostly my fault – if I remember right. I think the one was a screen pass, one of them I think [there was] miscommunication, and another one I just kind of threw behind the guy."

While Hanson is the main draw, there's plenty of unsung talent on Latin's squad.

"I won't have to be a superstar for us to win," Hanson said. "We've got a lot of other guys that can make plays.

"I've just need to let the game come to me and take what they give us. If I do that, I think we'll be ok."

If Latin wins Friday night, it will give the Hawks their third consecutive NCSIAA Championship and tie a bow on a great prep career for Hanson.

"That would mean everything," Hanson said. "To finish up the year as a senior and to go undefeated and win your third straight championship, it doesn't get any better than that. I know that I'm fortunate enough to be able to play in college, but there's nothing like high school football with all my friends out there."

Hanson has played with most of his teammates since the seventh grade.

"We're just going to play for each other," Hanson said. "One of the special things about our team is we're just such a tight knit group. We just love putting on those pads and going out there under the ‘Hell's Bells' before. This is going to be the last time we ever do that [together]."

Heading into the game, Hanson has completed 157-of-226 passes (69-percent) for 2,654 yards and 38 touchdowns. He also ran in two scores.

Before suiting up in Carolina Blue next fall, Hanson will play in two all-star games – the Oasis All-Star Shrine Classic on November 24th and the ESPNU High School All-American Game on January 5th.

"The Shrine Bowl for North and South Carolina, we go out to Catawba [College] next week," Hanson said. "That will be fun. I'll play with some guys that I've played against.

"[The All-American Game] will be pretty cool. It's really more an honor than anything to be able to go down to Florida and play live on [national TV] – that's going to be awesome."

Hanson, who is firm in his verbal commitment to UNC, talks to the Tar Heel staff weekly. UNC and Hanson have yet to schedule an official visit.

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