Saturday, December 14, 2019

The West Sweeps the East in This Year's Football Championships

Western schools went 8-0 against their eastern counterparts in this year's state championship games. Weddington, Reidsville, Shelby, and East Forsyth each repeated as champions while Charlotte Catholic won their third straight title.

With today's win, Shelby has won six state championships in the last seven years.

Vance and East Surry each won their first state title today.

Reidsville now has 18 total NCHSAA state championships and has won three of the last four in their classification.

1A State Championship
Robbinsville 45, Northampton 14

DURHAM, NC – The Black Knights of Robbinsville ran off the first 31 points of the game on their way to a 45-14 victory over Northampton County in the 1A State Championship Game. The victory earned Robbinsville the program’s 14th NCHSAA State Championship and first since 2014.

Rylee Anderson was the star for Robbinsville scoring the game’s first three touchdowns to push his team out to a 21-0 lead with 9:02 to go in the second quarter. Anderson cashed in two additional runs in the second half on his way to a fantastic 34 carry, 176 yards, and five score stat line. He was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

Robbinsville also had a great rushing performance by Lex Hooper who carried 14 times for 125 yards including his 20-yard run to put Robbinsville up 38-14 early in the fourth. While the rushing attack was dominant for the Black Knights, their defense played exceptionally, only allowing the Jaguars 65 yards via the ground and 53 through the air.

Northampton County got on the board in the third quarter with Na’Jae Newsom hauling in a 23-yard scoring pass from Zion Kendall. Just over two minutes later Kendall broke free for a 15-yard touchdown run. The Jaguars finished the season 11-4, they were 5-1 in the Tar Roanoke 1A Conference. Northampton County reached the state championship for the first time in school history and only the second time any school from the county made it to the finals, matching the 2005 team from Northampton-West.

Robbinsville wrapped up the year 15-0, they were 6-0 as the champions of the Smoky Mountain 1A Conference. The Black Knights made the program’s 17th appearance in an NCHSAA state championship game.

Northampton Most Outstanding Defensive Player: Ja'Vonte Scott
Northampton Most Outstanding Offensive Player: Zion Kendall
Robbinsville Most Outstanding Defensive Player: Xavier Rattler
Robbinsville Most Outstanding Offensive Player: Lex Hooper

Most Valuable Player: Rylee Anderson
Robbinsville High School

1AA State Championship
East Surry 56, Tarboro 28

DURHAM, NC – The East Surry Cardinals got seven touchdown passes from senior quarterback Jefferson Boaz to knock off Tarboro 56-28 and win the program’s first state football championship. Boaz threw for 478 yards and seven scores, completing 33 of 42 passes on his way to being named the 1AA Championship Game Most Valuable Player.

Boaz set new state championship game neutral site records for most passing yards in a game, most completions in a game and most touchdown passes in a game in the effort. Stephen Gosnell and Landon Stevens hauled in the majority of Boaz’s passes. Gosnell grabbed 13 for 206 yards and two scores. Stevens pulled down 10 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns.

The Cardinals and Vikings traded first-quarter touchdowns, with both teams scoring twice in the opening quarter. Stevens broke the ice on a 39-yard heave from Boaz just a minute and 11 seconds into the first quarter. Tarboro took the ensuing possession and tied the game on a 63-yard sprint by Khalil Staton. Seven plays later, Gosnell answered for East Surry, going 41 yards on a pass from Boaz with 5:08 to go in the first. Then, Kimani McDaniels slipped 21 yards to the house to knot the game at 14 heading into the second quarter.

Initially, in the second quarter, it appeared neither team would stop the other, as East Surry took a 21-14 lead on a one-yard sneak by Boaz with 7:43 to go in the half. Just two plays later, Travis Johnson ripped off a 59-yard touchdown run to bring Tarboro back even again with 7:09 to go. But after that Tarboro touchdown, East Surry went on to score 28 unanswered points, all on Boaz touchdown tosses, to pull out to a 49-21 advantage early in the fourth quarter.

Dillon Mosley grabbed two of those touchdowns passes in the 28-point run and capped off the night with an 11-yard scoring reception to round out is 6 catch, 42-yard night. East Surry’s defense successfully limited the powerful Tarboro rushing attack, holding all four primary backs to under 100 yards rushing, though Tarboro still managed to rush for 242 yards in the game.

Tarboro finished the year 14-1, they were 6-0 in the Coastal Plains 1A Conference where they were the champions. The Vikings made the school’s tenth appearance in an NCHSAA state championship game.

East Surry wrapped up the season 15-0, they went 5-0 in the Northwest 1A Conference, winning the league title. The Eagles won the Western Regional for the second time in program history and claimed the program’s first state championship.

Tarboro Most Outstanding Defensive Player: Christian Harrison
Tarboro Most Outstanding Offensive Player: Khalil Staton
East Surry Most Outstanding Defensive Player: Tristian Harless
East Surry Most Outstanding Offensive Player: Stephen Gosnell

Most Valuable Player: Jefferson Boaz
East Surry High School

2A State Championship
Reidsville 14, Northeastern 0

WINSTON-SALEM – The Reidsville Rams were dominant defensively and worked together just enough offense to overcome Northeastern for the second year in a row and win the school’s 18th NCHSAA State Football Championship. The Rams nipped Northeastern just one year ago, a come from behind win, 31-28.

This year, the Rams jumped out in front early and rode a strong defensive effort to the championship. Lionel Long pounded his way into the endzone with 1:38 to go in the first quarter to put Reidsville in front 7-0. Long was the workhorse for the Rams, carrying the ball 31 times for 156 yards and a single score. He was chosen as the game’s Most Valuable Player.

The only other touchdown in the game came in the closing minutes of the first half when Kyle Pinnix scampered 19 yards for a score to put the Rams up 14-0. Defensively, the Rams were led by Jiheem Hooper who accounted for 7 tackles. Stevion Harrison also had a good outing for Reidsville with a pair of sacks in the game, helping his team to hold Northeastern to just 101 yards rushing.

Reidsville outgained the Eagles 324-135, and the Eagles were led by Holden Hodge who rushed 15 times to gain 54 yards. He also threw for 31 yards in the game. Northeastern finished the season 12-4 and 4-1 in the Northeastern Coastal 2A. The Eagles reached the State Championship game for the third time in program history.

Reidsville wrapped up their season 15-1, the Rams were 4-0 in the Mid-State 2A where they were the league champions. Reidsville appeared in the State Championship game for the 24th time in school history and won a state-record 18th State Championship.

Northeastern Most Outstanding Defensive Player:  Juan Riddick
Northeastern Most Outstanding Offensive Player:  Holden Hodge
Reidsville Most Outstanding Defensive Player:  Jiheem Hooper
Reidsville Most Outstanding Offensive Player: Breon Pass

Most Valuable Player: Lionel Long
Reidsville High School

2AA State Championship
Shelby 34, Salisbury 0

WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The Golden Lion defense was absolutely impenetrable in the 2AA State Championship Game as Shelby held Salisbury to -6 yards rushing for the game, lifting the Golden Lions to back-to-back titles and the program’s 11th NCHSAA crown.

Malaki Hamrick led the Shelby defense with eight tackles in the game, including two for a loss. Jack Hollifield also added eight tackles in the effort as the Lions only gave up three first downs in the game.

Ja’hari Mitchell opened the scoring with 5:53 to go in the first quarter, crossing the plane from four yards out to put Shelby up 7-0. He scored two more times on just six total carries and 24 yards as he was selected as the game’s Most Valuable Player. Mitchell also threw a touchdown pass, finding Nick Stites from nine yards out in the fourth quarter for the game’s final score.

Shelby quarterback Isaiah Bess was also spectacular, completing 17 of 27 passes for 212 yards and one score as he found Diavonni Daley from 38 yards out in the second quarter to push the Lions lead to 20-0.

Salisbury was unable to muster much offensively, outgained in the game by Shelby 359-39. The Golden Lions defense held Salisbury to the fewest yards ever allowed in an NCHSAA State Championship Game since record-keeping began in 1989. The 39-yard allowance was ten fewer than the previous mark of 49 yards allowed set by Robbinsville in 1992 when they held Lakewood scoreless in the 1A Championship.

Salisbury finished the season 13-3. The Hornets finished 7-2 in the Central Carolina 2A Conference and were tied for second in the league. The Hornets reached the State Championship game for the fourth time in program history.

Shelby wrapped the year 14-1, a perfect 6-0 mark in Southwestern 2A Conference play, winning the league championship. The Golden Lions won the program’s 11th NCHSAA State Championship and made its 16th appearance in an NCHSAA State Championship Game.

Salisbury Most Outstanding Defensive Player - Zae Clay
Salisbury Most Outstanding Offensive Player - Mike McLean
Shelby Most Outstanding Defensive Player - Malaki Hamrick
Shelby Most Outstanding Offensive Player - Isaiah Bess

Most Valuable Player: Ja'hari Mitchell
Shelby High School

3A State Championship
Charlotte Catholic 23, Southern Nash 7

RALEIGH, NC – Charlotte Catholic stormed past Southern Nash with 20 fourth-quarter points on their way to a 23-7 victory and a third straight State Championship. The victory was the school’s seventh NCHSAA State Football Championship.

Paul Neel managed to grind out two touchdowns in the late stages to help Charlotte Catholic pull away. He rushed 27 times for 156 yards and two scores, both in the fourth quarter. Neel’s first touchdown run of 39 yards with 11:53 to go in the fourth put the Cougars in front 10-7. Then with 6:23 to go, he capped off a seven-play, 41-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown plunge to go up 17-7. Neel was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

Southern Nash had several opportunities to put Charlotte Catholic behind early during the quickly played first half, but the Cougar defense came up big, including a goal-line stand in the second quarter, to keep the game scoreless through the opening half. The Cougar defense was quite stingy throughout the game, holding the prolific ground attack of Southern Nash to just 157 yards for the day.

Quinton Cooley, the state’s leading rusher this year according to MaxPreps, gave Southern Nash the lead 7-3 with 3:17 to go in the third with a 1-yard touchdown run that polished off a nine-play, 79-yard drive. Cooley had to work for every inch, rushing 19 times for 79 yards in the game.

Southern Nash finished the season 15-1. The Firebirds were 5-0 and champions of the Big East 3A Conference, reaching the state finals for the first time in program history.

Charlotte Catholic earned the program’s seventh NCHSAA State Title and third state championship in a row. The Cougars finished their year 12-3, 6-1 in the Southern Carolina 3A Conference, where they were the runners-up.

Southern Nash Most Outstanding Offensive Player: Quinton Cooley
Southern Nash Most Outstanding Defensive Player: Izaiah Walker-Warren
Charlotte Catholic Most Outstanding Offensive Player: Jimmy Brewe
Charlotte Catholic Most Outstanding Defensive Player: Liam Barbee

Most Valuable Player: Paul Neel
Charlotte Catholic High School

3AA State Championship
Weddington 34, Lee County 14

RALEIGH, NC – The Weddington Warriors got four touchdowns from star running back Will Shipley as they took care of Lee County 34-14 to win back-to-back 3AA State Championships. The Warriors did most of their damage on the ground, outrushing Lee County 256-105 in the game behind a strong effort from the Warriors offensive line.

Shipley was dynamic at running back, carrying the ball 26 times and gaining 256 yards in the game. He scored four touchdowns, breaking several long runs in the game. Shipley opened the scoring with 8:20 to go in the first quarter, plunging in from four yards out. He also had scoring runs of 67, 2 and 22 yards on his way to being named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

After Shipley’s first touchdown, both teams failed to score until Bryson Parker scooped up a blocked punt and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown to put Weddington in front 14-0. Shipley’s 67-yard score came after the ensuing Yellow Jacket possession stalled quickly and opened the gap to 21-0 with just 4:26 to go in the half.

Lee County bounced back after the long run by Shipley, driving seven plays and 43 yards to cash in on a one-yard run by Colin Johnson that trimmed the Warrior lead to 21-7. After a missed field goal by Weddington near the end of the half, it looked like Lee County had some momentum going into the locker room.

The Jackets forced a turnover on the opening possession of the second half for Weddington. Six plays later, Johnson found Jaylen Chalmers for a 44-yard touchdown pass and Lee County closed the gap to 21-14. However, that was as close as Lee County would get as Shipley found pay dirt two more times to extend Weddington out to a comfortable 34-14 margin.

Lee County finished the season 15-1, they were 5-0 as the champions of the Tri-County 6 3A. The Yellow Jackets reached the state finals for the seventh time in school history and the first time in 45 years back when the school was known as Sanford Central.

Weddington won the program’s third state championship and second in a row. The Warriors wrapped up the year 16-0, they were 7-0 as the champions in the Southern Carolina 3A Conference. Weddington won the Western Regional Final for the fourth time in program history.

Lee County Most Outstanding Offensive Player: Jayden Chalmers
Lee County Most Outstanding Defensive Player: Delmax Jennings
Weddington Most Outstanding Offensive Player: Will Shipley
Weddington Most Outstanding Defensive Player: Alec Mock

Most Valuable Player: Will Shipley
Weddington High School

4A State Championship
East Forsyth 24, Cardinal Gibbons 21

CHAPEL HILL, NC – Cardinal Gibbons struck first, but ultimately, East Forsyth held the Crusaders off with a 24-21 victory in the 4A State Championship game, earning the school’s second straight state championship and third overall.

Ty’shaun Lyles was the 4A Championship Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row, leading the Eagles offensively with a pair of touchdown throws on 10 for 16 passing with 171 yards. He also rushed 17 times for 63 yards in the game.

Jacob Gill got the scoring going as Cardinal Gibbons took their opening possession eight plays and 56 yards, polished off when Gill hauled in a nine-yard scoring toss from Andrew Harvey. The throw gave the Crusaders an early 7-0 lead, but East Forsyth responded late in the quarter.

The two teams traded possessions until East Forsyth drove five plays and 65 yards in the latter part of the opening quarter. The Eagles got on the board thanks to a 59-yard pass from Lyles to Jamison Warren with 1:58 to go in the quarter, tying the game at seven.

Gibbons jumped back in front early in the second quarter when Harvey hit Cameron Noble for 40 yards and a score with just 36 seconds gone in the second frame. However, East Forsyth responded quickly as Lyles connected with Warren a second time, this one from 56 yards out to knot the score at 14 with 6:01 to go in the half.

The Eagles got a good bounce on the ensuing Crusader possession, as Jordan Timmons scooped up a Gibbons fumble and rumbled nine yards for a score to give East Forsyth its first lead of the game. The Eagles carried the lead into the locker room and added to it in the third quarter when Andrew Conrad chipped through a 31-yard field goal to extend their lead to 24-14 with 4:33 to go in the third.

Cardinal Gibbons did not go away quietly, as the Crusaders marched 10 plays and 80 yards capped off by an eight-yard touchdown pass from Harvey to Cameron Noble with just 3:42 to play, but the Eagles managed to hold Gibbons out of field goal range in the final two minutes to seal the victory.

Cardinal Gibbons finished the season 12-3, the Crusaders were 5-1 in the Cap 7 4A Conference where they were the runners-up. The program reached the NCHSAA State Championship game for the first time in school history, winning its first regional final.

East Forsyth wrapped up the year 13-2, the Eagles were 3-2 in the Central Piedmont 4A. East Forsyth won the program’s third Western Regional Championship and collected their third state championship.

Cardinal Gibbons Most Outstanding Defensive Player: Will Mason
Cardinal Gibbons Most Outstanding Offensive Player: Andrew Harvey
East Forsyth Most Outstanding Defensive Player:  Jordan Timmons
East Forsyth Most Outstanding Offensive Player: Jamison Warren

Most Valuable Player is Ty'Shaun Lyles
East Forsyth High School

4AA State Championship
Vance 24, Leesville Road 3

CHAPEL HILL, NC – The Vance Cougars relied on their stifling defense to thwart Leesville Road in the 4AA Championship game 24-3, earning the program’s first State Championship.

The Cougars dominated the line of scrimmage, holding the Pride to just 80 yards of total offense in the game. Power Echols was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, leading the Cougars in tackles with 6.5 for the day, including 1.5 tackles for loss. He also rushed twice for 16 yards and a touchdown.

Vance opened the scoring with an 84-yard explosion for a touchdown when Austin Grier found Jordan Payne for a score, capping off a drive that started at the Cougar four-yard line. Leesville responded early in the second quarter with their only points of the game as Noah Burnette split the uprights for a 34-yard field goal to trim the lead to 7-3. Melvin Benitez answered for the Cougars with an 18-yard field goal of his own with just five seconds to go in the half, putting Vance up 10-3.

The Cougars closed out the game with a pair of touchdown runs in the fourth quarter. Daylan Smothers increased the lead with a six-yard scoring run with 9:58 to go that gave Vance a 17-3 lead. Then with 8:55 to play, Echols cashed in a 14-yard run just one play after a Leesville turnover, to ice the game 24-3.

Leesville Road reached the State Championship game for the first time in program history. The Pride finished the season 13-1, 6-0 in the Cap 7 4A Conference where they were the champions.

Vance wrapped up their year 13-2. The Cougars were 5-2 in the I-Meck 4A conference. Vance reached the state championship game for the second time in program history and the second year in a row, earning the school’s first football state championship.

Leesville Road Most Outstanding Offensive Player: Noah Burnette
Leesville Road Most Outstanding Defensive Player: Treyvon Coleman
Vance Most Outstanding Offensive Player: Austin Grier
Vance Most Outstanding Defensive Player: Dylan Tucker

Most Valuable Player: Power Echols
Vance High School