1A Championship – Robbinsville nabs number 14 with 45-14 victory over Northampton
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 yard 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.
1AA Championship – East Surry dethrones Tarboro 56-28 winning first state title
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’ 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. Thenk Kimani McDaniels slipped 21 yards to the house to knot the game at 14 heading to 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.
2A Championship – Reidsville shuts out Northeastern 14-0 to win 18th State Championship
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 Hogde 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.
2AA Championship – Shelby knocks out Salisbury 34-0 for 11th NCHSAA State Title
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. Mtichell 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 their 16th appearance in an NCHSAA State Championship Game.
3A Championship – Charlotte Catholic pulls away from Southern Nash late to win third straight title
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.