1A FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP - Cherokee wins first football title in history with a 21-13 victory over North Duplin
RALEIGH – On a snowy afternoon at Carter-Finley Stadium, the Cherokee Braves turned a 7-0 halftime deficit around in the final half, coming from behind to beat North Duplin 21-13 and capture the school’s first State Championship in football.
Braves Quarterback Tye Mintz provided most of the offense for Cherokee, accounting for two of the three Cherokee touchdowns. Mintz plowed across the goal line from five yards out with 4:38 to go in the third to bring the Braves even at 7. Then in the fourth quarter, he broke off a 51-yard run with 11:22 to go in the game that put Cherokee in front for good 13-7 after a failed PAT. Mintz rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns on his 14 carries. He added 56 yards through the air on his way to M.V.P. honors in the game. He added 13 tackles, tied for the team lead in the game, and an interception.
1AA FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP - Tarboro claims fifth championship with 32-7 win over Mount Airy
RALEIGH – It took a little while, but when the Tarboro ground game woke up in the second quarter, it never stopped, as the Vikings ran for 300 yards and sprinted to a 32-7 victory over Mount Airy in the 1AA State Championship game at Carter-Finley Stadium. The win was Tarboro’s fifth state title and their first since 2011.
Both offenses sputtered in the game’s opening frame, combining for just 79 yards of total offense. In the second, Tarboro’s Deontae Williams got loose, running for 75 yards in the quarter on just five carries. His rushing attack set the stage for a six-yard scoring run by Keon Caudle that put Tarboro up 6-0 with 9:32 to go in the second, and the Vikings never looked back.
2A FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP - Wallace-Rose Hill knocks out Reidsville 35-28 in overtime
CHAPEL HILL - Wallace-Rose Hill captured the school’s seventh football state championship in a thrilling 35-28 victory overtime victory against Reidsville. The game featured two defending state champions as Reidsville came in the defending 2A champion while the Bulldogs held the 1AA championship from a season ago.
In the overtime, the Bulldogs went on offense first, and despite backing themselves up with a penalty, were able to push across the goal line on a 1-yard run by Desmond Newkirk on fourth down to take the lead. Newkirk finished the game as the Bulldogs’ Most Outstanding Offensive Player, running for 62 yards and 2 touchdowns. Reidsville ripped off seven yards on first down of their overtime possession. But on second and goal from the three, Jalen Easley coughed up the ball when he got hit by Rarkell Simmons, as the ball was recoverd by the Bulldogs to seal the victory.
2AA FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP - Hibriten nabs first title with a hard-fought 16-14 win over East Duplin
CHAPEL HILL – Hibriten slugged their way to a 16-14 victory over East Duplin in the first football State Championship appearance, claiming the school’s first title. Hibriten used a bend but don’t break defense and a great game from their punter to bend the field position and the game in their favor.
East Duplin made a last push to make the game very interesting late, driving 99 yards on 20 plays in the fourth quarter, capped off by a 1-yard run by Chris Benson to make the score 16-14. Despite outgaining Hibriten 359-190 yards on the day, East Duplin just couldn’t overcome the tough field position they found themselves in most of the day.
3A FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP - Charlotte Catholic takes down Havelock 28-14 to win fifth championship
DURHAM – Charlotte Catholic dominated the time of possession and the ground game on the way to their fifth State Championship victory, a 28-14 win over Havelock at Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium.
The Cougars rolled up 272 yards on 58 running plays while holding on to the football for more than 31 minutes of the 48 played. Milan Howard carried 29 times for the Cougars totaling 160 yards without finding the end zone. Howard was named the game M.V.P. for his workhorse performance.
3AA FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP - New Hanover topples A.C. Reynolds 27-17 to claim fourth state title
DURHAM – In a back-and-forth affair that saw the lead change hands five times, New Hanover got the better of A.C. Reynolds, 27-17, capturing the school’s fourth NCHSAA State Championship in football.
Both teams exhibited great balance offensively, with A.C. Reynolds slightly outgaining the Wildcats 353-330 in the game. Wiz Vaughn opened the scoring with a three-yard touchdown run with 4:30 to play in the second quarter, giving the Wildcats a 7-0 lead. He added another touchdown later with 6:07 to go to help New Hanover pull away to a 27-17 lead. Vaughn was the championship M.V.P. scoring twice and picking up 74 yards on 18 carries. He also hauled in six receptions for 50 yards on the night
4A FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP - Harding University High claims their third title with a 30-22 win over Scotland County
WINSTON-SALEM – Harding racked up 400 yards of total offense and held on to beat Scotland County 30-22 in the 4A State Championship game at BB&T Field. The Rams claimed the school’s third championship, and first since 1953.
Scotland opened the scoring as Warren Bell cracked the goal line from two yards out just 3 minutes into the game giving the Scots the lead 7-0. It took the Rams a little while, but they were able to respond on the first play of the second quarter as Quavaris Crouch sliced in for a 10-yard score to knot the game at seven. Crouch finished as the game’s M.V.P. with 141 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.
4AA FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP - Wake Forest takes second straight crown with a 21-0 win over Mallard Creek
WINSTON-SALEM – The Wake Forest Cougars captured their second straight championship with a 21-0 victory over Mallard Creek in the 4AA Championship game at BB&T Field. The Cougars defense was stifling again this year in the final holding Mallard Creek to just 112 yards of total offense.
Devon Lawrence powered the Wake Forest rushing attack, gaining 135 yards on just 25 carries. He had the final touchdown of the game as well, icing the win for the Cougars with a 7-yard touchdown run with just 1:12 to play. He was named the game’s M.V.P.