TARBORO, N.C. (WNCT) — Tarboro High School got some good news heading into Saturday’s Class 1-A state high school football final.

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Tarboro will be playing for its third straight state title and the Vikings will have quarterback and safety Omarion Lewis on the field. He was thrown out of last week’s East Regional final against Rosewood after a fight broke out.

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Tarboro appealed that decision and won. Now, Lewis will be on the field, which is good news because the Vikings will need him against a tough Granite Bears team.

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Saturday’s game is a rematch of the 2017 state title contest, won by Tarboro.

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“A tough matchup. It was tough back in 2017. They were a better team this year than they were then,” Tarboro coach Jeff Craddock said Monday at the state championship press conference.

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“They’re going to be the best team that we’re going to play. They’re very, very physical, well-coached. Their kids play so hard. So they’re very explosive.

“We’re going to have to play a great game. There’s no doubt about it. But that’s what it takes when you play for a state title was you expect to be great competition and a team that’s well-coached and you got to go out there and play your best game.”

Tarboro will be seeking its third straight state championship after rolling to a 35-7 win over Rosewood. The Vikings (13-1), whose only loss was to Hertford County in the middle of the season, advance to the state finals for the sixth straight time, winning it all in 2017, 2018 and twice in 2021 (spring and fall seasons due to coronavirus pandemic).

Tarboro has won nine state titles overall in school history (1965, 1984, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2017, 2018, 2020-21, 2021).

Mount Airy (14-1) is in the state final for the first time since 2017. The Granite Bears lost to Tarboro in the 1-AA title game that year, 32-7.

Regional Finals
Friday

Class 1-A
EAST

No. 1 Tarboro 35, No. 3 Rosewood 7
WEST
No. 4 Mount Airy 35, No. 6 Draughn 6

State final, Dec. 10

Tarboro (13-1) vs. Mount Airy (14-1), at Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, 3 p.m.