RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) — Mount Airy ended Tarboro’s dream of a second three-peat in winning a state championship.
The Granite Bears did something Tarboro’s opponents have only done once this season, win a game. Mount Airy picked up a 20-7 win in the Class 1-A state title game at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh.
Tarboro (13-2) was seeking its third straight state championship after rolling to a 35-7 win over Rosewood in the East Regional final. The Vikings, whose only loss was to Hertford County in the middle of the season, advanced to the state finals for the sixth straight time.
The Vikings won it all in 2017, 2018 and twice in 2021 (spring and fall seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic). Tarboro has won nine state titles overall, also coming out on top in 1965, 1984, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
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Mount Airy (15-1) was 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. Mount Airy has also won state titles in 1935, 1938, 1942, 1946, 1948, 1968 and 2008.
Tarboro came in as one of the most successful high school football programs in recent history. However, Vikings head coach Jeff Craddock said at Monday’s high school football state championship press conference that this year’s Mount Airy team was much better than the team they beat in 2017.
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Turns out he was right.
Mount Airy’s defense gave the Vikings trouble all game, jumping to a 20-0 lead in the third quarter before Tarboro got on the scoreboard. That didn’t cause a crack in the Granite Bears, who kept on playing tough and eventually prevailed.
Tyler Mason rushed for three touchdowns and 139 yards on 23 carries for Mount Airy. He was named game MVP. He entered the contest with 46 rushing touchdowns and over 2,000 yards.
Mason got his first touchdown on a 15-yard run with 8:47 left in the first quarter as Mount Airy took a 7-0 lead. His second scoring run was from a yard out with 2:29 left in the half and extended the Granite Bears’ lead to 14-0.
Tarboro had just 54 yards of offense in the first half as Mount Airy’s defense forced several three-and-out series and blocked a punt. The Granite Bears also had an interception of a pass from Tarboro quarterback Omarion Lewis in the second quarter.
Mason’s third touchdown came after Mount Airy blocked a second punt. After getting the ball back at Tarbooro’s 13, Mason ran the ball twice, scoring from a yard out with 8:58 left in the third to extend the lead to 20-0.
Mason Satterfield scored on a 9-yard run in the third quarter for Tarboro’s only score, cutting the margin to 20-7.