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RALEIGH, NC – East Lincoln collected the school’s third state championship, rolling past Northern Nash 30-15 to win the 3A State Championship. The win was East Lincoln’s first State Championship victory since 2014.
Northern Nash opened the scoring with a quick strike on their opening possession. The Knights got a 66-yard run to the Mustang 2-yard line from Keno Jones on the second play from scrimmage and Jones cashed in on the big play slamming into the endzone from two yards out on the next play to put Northern up 6-0 after a missed PAT just 54 seconds into the game.
East Lincoln responded just over two minutes later as Christian Daley ripped off 35 yards to cap a 6-play, 65-yard drive and put the Mustangs up 7-6. Northern Nash responded with a 22-yard Bryson Jenkins field goal in the closing minute of the opening quarter to hold a 9-7 advantage at the end of the first.
The second quarter was all East Lincoln as the Mustangs hung 17 points on the board to take a 24-9 lead into the intermission. Tyler Mizzell tossed two touchdown passes in the second quarter, one to Markell Clark from 14 yards out and the other to Keandre Walker from 18 yards to get the Mustangs out in front 21-9. Walker finished with five catches for 41 yards and a score earning Most Outstanding Offensive Player honors for East Lincoln. Mustang kicker Christopehr Mileta hit a 34-yard field goal as time expired in the half to round out the first half scoring.
Mizell was very efficient in the passing game, completing 16 of his 323 attempts for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also scampered for 34 yards in the game, winning the Most Valuable Player honors for the 3A Championship.
Mileta banged through a pair of field goal attempts in the fourth quarter, converting opportunities from 24 yards and 30 yards respectively to stretch the Mustang lead to 30-9 with just 3:39 to go in the game. The three made field goals by Mileta tied an NCHSAA Neutral Site Championship Record for made field goals, tying the mark set by Brad Green from Reidsville in 2016’s 2A Championship versus John A. Holmes.
The East Lincoln defense was tough all night. The Mustangs picked off three passes and held Northern Nash to 310 yards in the game. Ben Cutter anchored the East Lincoln defense from his linebacker spot, leading the team in tackles with 10 as he picked up Most Outstanding Defensive Player honors in the game.
Northern Nash found a late touchdown as Jones hit Ashton Rhodes from 6 yards out to cap a 10-play, 77-yard drive and cut the Mustang lead to 30-15, but the Knights only had 44 seconds remaining when they scored their second touchdown of the night. Carson Jenkins led the Knights with 20 tackles in the game, including 1.5 tackles for loss on his way to earning a Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award for Northern Nash. Keno Jones posted 224 yards and a touchdown while rushing for another score and 26 yards as he was chosen as Northern Nash’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player.
Northern Nash finished the year 15-1. The Knights won the Big East 2A/3A with a 6-0 record in league play. The Knights won the program’s second Regional Championship in Football, reaching the State Championship Game for the first time since 2022.
The Mustangs finished their season 16-0, they were the Western Foothills 3A Champions with a perfect 7-0 record. East Lincoln won their fourth Regional Championship and third State Championship in program history, joining teams from 2012 and 2014 as title holders.
The NCHSAA is committed to promoting good sportsmanship at all athletic events and has partnered with the North Carolina Farm Bureau to award two players from participating teams at each State Championship event with the NC Farm Bureau Sportsmanship Awards for their efforts throughout the season. The 2022 3A Football NC Farm Bureau Sportsmanship Award winners were Carson Jenkins from Northern Nash and Levi Clark from East Lincoln.
RALEIGH, NC – The Mount Airy Granite Bears started hot and rode a strong defensive performance to a 20-7 victory over Tarboro in the 1A Football State Championship. The victory gives Mount Airy seven State Championships all-time and was the Granite Bears’ first title since the 2008 championship.
Tyler Mason carried 23 times for 139 yards and all three Bears touchdowns on his way to being chosen as the 1A State Championship Game Most Valuable Player. Caleb Reid rushed for 43 yards on just nine carries on his way to being selected as the Bears’ Most Outstanding Offensive Performer. Reid also added nine tackles on his night.
The Mount Airy defense was equally superb, holding the powerful Tarboro “T” to just 179 yards on the ground. Walker Stroup anchored the Bears’ defense with nine tackles and forcing a fumble in the fourth quarter as Tarboro was driving to try and trim the Mount Airy lead from 20-7 with 5:58 to play. Stroup was selected as Mount Airy’s Most Outstanding Defensive Performer for his defensive efforts and had three punts for an average of just under 40 yards and downed two inside the 20.
Mount Airy held Tarboro to three-and-out on their first possession of the second half and D.J. Joyce came through the right side of the Tarboro punt formation to block the kick and set the Bears up with a short field at the Viking 13. Two plays later Mason galloped in from one yard out with 8:58 to go in the third, putting the Granite Bears up 20-0 after the missed PAT.
Mount Airy took their opening drive straight down the field, marching six plays and 56 yards before Tyler Mason ripped off a 15-yard touchdown run to put the Bears up 7-0 just 3:06 into the contest. The Bears hit the ground hard, running all six plays on the ground in their first drive.
Mason set the Granite Bears up with a short field for their second score, returning a Tarboro punt 30 yards down to the Vikings 14-yard line. After just four plays, Mason slammed in over left guard on a 1-yard touchdown run to give Mount Airy a 14-0 lead at the break. He finished the first half with 12 carries for 58 yards and a pair of scores. He outgained the Vikings in the first half 58-54 on the ground.
Tarboro’s offense struggled to get going in the first half but got in better form in the second half. Kamerin McDowell-Moore was the leader offensively for the Vikings, rushing for 119 yards on 25 carries as he was chosen as the Most Outstanding Offensive Performer for Tarboro. Omarion Lewis was the defensive leader for Tarboro, racking up nine tackles and an interception that he returned 24 yards on his way to the Most Outstanding Defensive Performer Award for the Vikings.
Tarboro wrapped the season at 13-2 and 5-0 as the champions of the Four Rivers 1A Conference. The Vikings won the school’s 13th Regional Title in Football, reaching the State Championship Game for the sixth straight year.
Mount Airy concluded the year 15-1. The Granite Bears were 6-0 in the Northwest 1A, winning the league title. The Bears won the 12th Regional Title in school history and earned their seventh state title all-time.
The NCHSAA is committed to promoting good sportsmanship at all athletic events and has partnered with the North Carolina Farm Bureau to award two players from participating teams at each State Championship event with the NC Farm Bureau Sportsmanship Awards for their efforts throughout the season. The 2022 1A Football NC Farm Bureau Sportsmanship Award winners were Joshua Bradley from Tarboro and Josh Chavis from Mount Airy.
CHAPEL HILL, NC – East Duplin held off a tough challenge from Reidsville, edging the Rams 24-21 to win their first Football State Championship in school history. Avery Gaby powered the East Duplin rushing attack, carrying the ball 37 times for 184 yards and a touchdown on his way to being named the 2A Most Valuable Player.
A blocked field goal that was recovered by Elam Moore who rumbled 70 yards to give East Duplin a 14-7 lead in the third quarter was the difference in the game. The Ivar De Jong 27-yard attempt was blocked by Rodrigo Sanchez who charged through the middle of the Rams line to get his right hand on it and knock the ball back into the Rams holder. Sanchez was selected as the Panthers’ Most Outstanding Defensive Player for his effort on the defensive line and the blocked field goal.
After East Duplin scored what seemed to be the game-icing touchdown on a fourth and goal at the five when Zack Brown hit Kade Kennedy in the right side of the endzone to go up 24-14 with just 2:16 to play, Reidsville’s Dionte Neal hauled the ensuing kickoff 83 yards to trim the Panther lead to 24-21. It was Neal’s second touchdown of the game and helped cement his selection as the Most Outstanding Offensive Player for the Rams.
East Duplin opened the scoring just 4:02 into the game, churning out an 8-play, 62-yard drive to go up 7-0 on a 1-yard touchdown run by Avery Gaby. Gaby tallied 46 yards on the drive, including a 35-yard gallop into the red zone where he was dragged out of bounds at the Reidsville 3-yard line.
East Duplin dominated time of possession in the first half, holding the ball for 15:50 and racking up 208 yards on the ground in the first half. The Panthers were driving late in the first half when Que’shyne Flippin forced a Nizaya Hall fumble at the Rams 3. Jaden McCain recovered the fumble and got out to the Reidsville 19 before he was helped out of bounds.
That turnover provided Reidsville with a spark as the Rams drove 81 yards in the final 2:43 of the half to tie the game at 7 at the half on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Al Lee to Dionte Neal in the right-side flats. The touchdown capped a 14-play drive for the Rams, their best offensive string of the game.
The Reidsville defense was led by Paul Widerman who had 12 tackles in the game, but Jaden McCain was selected as the Rams Most Outstanding Defensive Performer with 3.5 tackles and a fumble recovery he forced and returned out to the 19. He also hauled in a touchdown pass from 40 yards out that cut the East Duplin lead down to 17-14 with just 7:25 to go in the game.
The Panther offense racked up a total of 292 rushing yards. Nizaya Hall had an outstanding day operating as a change of pace back to the game’s MVP Gaby. Hall carried the ball 14 times for 94 yards on his way to earning the Most Outstanding Offensive Performer Award for the Panthers.
Reidsville finished the season 14-2 and the Rams were the champions of the Mid-State 2A with a perfect record of 6-0 in conference play. The Rams appeared in the school’s 26th State Championship Game all-time, the most by any program in NCHSAA History.
East Duplin finished the season at 15-1. The Panthers won the East Central 2A with a record of 6-0. This was the second regional championship for the Panthers, and their first State Championship appearance since 2017.
The NCHSAA is committed to promoting good sportsmanship at all athletic events and has partnered with the North Carolina Farm Bureau to award two players from participating teams at each State Championship event with the NC Farm Bureau Sportsmanship Awards for their efforts throughout the season. The 2022 2A Football NC Farm Bureau Sportsmanship Award winners were Waylon Sloan from East Duplin and Landon Denny from Reidsville.
CHAPEL HILL, NC – The New Bern Bears captured the school’s fourth Football State Championship, their first since 2014, defeating Grimsley 40-28 to win the 4A Championship. New Bern is the first team to win a State Championship Game without attempting a pass since Tarboro won the 1AA Championship in 2017 over Mount Airy without throwing.
The New Bern defense stifled the Grimsley offense, holding the Whirlies’ explosive offense to just 257 yards of total offense and just 102 yards passing. Most of the Whirlies air attack came on an 85-yard touchdown pass hauled in by Terrell Anderson in the fourth quarter that cut the New Bern lead to 33-28 with just 2:57 to play.
No’Tavien Green, the Bears’ middle linebacker and leading tackler in the game, was selected as the game’s Most Valuable Player. Green had 8 tackles, one sack, a forced fumble and an interception that he returned 49 yards to set up the Bears’ second touchdown of the game. Florida State commit and fellow Bears defender K.J. Sampson was also impressing, earning 7.5 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss in the game on his way to being selected as the Most Outstanding Defensive Player for New Bern.
New Bern broke the ice on their opening possession driving six plays and 59 yards in just 2:37. Chamir Wright powered the ball across the goal line from 22 yards out on a sweep to the left as the Bears regularly tested the edge of the Whirlies defense on the first drive. Grimsley did manage to block the PAT so the Whirlies only trailed 6-0 for their first possession of the night. But the first Whirlies drive was stopped by an interception by No’Tavien Green who returned the pick all the way to the Grimsley 11, but an illegal block penalty moved the Bears back to the 31.
Aronne Herring made the Whirlies pay for the turnover, cashing in from 12 yards out to cap the short field drive and give New Bern a 13-0 lead with 3:54 to go in the first quarter. Herring finished the game with 161 yards rushing on just 16 carries with two scores on his way to being selected as the Most Outstanding Offensive Player for the Bear. Grimsley roared back quickly after Herring’s first touchdown as Terrell Anderson ripped off a 98-yard kick return touchdown to trim the New Bern lead back to six, 13-7.
The Whirlies surged in front for the first time early in the second quarter as Ryan Stephens stretched an outside lead into a 30-yard touchdown run and the Jackson Henry PAT put Grimsley in front 14-13 with 11:16 to go in the first half. Wright cashed in his second score of the night to put the Bears right back in the lead on the ensuing possession, capping a 6-play, 62-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to go up 20-14 with 8:07 to go.
New Bern opened the second half scoring as well. After the Bears defense held Grimsley to a three-and-out on their first possession, Herring took a toss over the left side and sprung into the secondary, juking back to his right and taking it to the right pylon for a 66-yard touchdown to put the Bears up 27-14 with 9:35 to go.
After a Grimsley fumble deep in their own end, New Bern drove down inside the 25 but on fourth and seven at the Grimsely 21, the Bears put the ball on the turf and Chris Young scooped it up to take it 35 yards to put the Whirlies in business at the Bears 36. Grimsley had to convert a fourth down on the drive, but eventually cashed in on Mitchell Summers six-yard run that trimmed the Bears lead to 27-21 with 4:16 to go. Summers was the leading rusher in the game for the Whirlies, carrying 18 times for 71 yards and a score on his way to being selected as the Most Outstanding Offensive Player for Grimsley.
New Bern extended their lead to 12 on the first play of the fourth quarter. Damaree Tucker rushed for 23 yards and his only score of the night, slashing off left tackle to put the Bears up 33-21 after a PAT missed off the upright with 11:53 to play. He added another score in the closing minute, slashing through the right edge of the Whirlies defense 36 yards for the final score of the game to lift the Bears to the final 40-28 margin and put the game away.
Grimsley’s defense had a difficult time adjusting to the New Bern triple-option attack and the speed of the triple-option made their task much more difficult. The Whirlies defense was led by Keshaun Jones who finished the game with a team-leading 8 tackles on his way to earning Most Outstanding Defensive Player honors for Grimsley.
The Whirlies finished the season 15-1. They were 7-0 in the Metro 4A, winning the league championship and earning the school’s 17th regional championship, just the third since changing the school’s name to Grimsley from Greensboro High. The Whirlies made their second appearance in an NCHSAA State Championship in the past three seasons.
New Bern wrapped up an undefeated season, 16-0 and a perfect 6-0 in the Big Carolina 3A/4A where they won the league championship. The Bears appeared in their first State Championship since 2014, winning the program’s fourth State Championship Game. They earned their eighth regional title in school history.
The NCHSAA is committed to promoting good sportsmanship at all athletic events and has partnered with the North Carolina Farm Bureau to award two players from participating teams at each State Championship event with the NC Farm Bureau Sportsmanship Awards for their efforts throughout the season. The 2022 4A Football NC Farm Bureau Sportsmanship Award winners were Jayden Wallace from New Bern and Jackson Lee from Grimsley.