NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — New Bern High School football is back on top.
The Bears won the Class 4-A state title for the fourth time after pulling away for a 40-28 win over Grimsley Friday at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill.
New Bern (16-0) was in its seventh state title game in the modern era, dating back to 1972. The Bears held off Millbrook, 35-27, in last Friday’s Eastern Regional final to reach the state final for the first time since 2014.
The Bears have also won Class 4-A state titles in 2007, 2012 and 2014. The New Bern team in 2014 also went unbeaten.
Grimsley finished its season 15-1. The Whirlies were looking for their second state title in three seasons.
The City of New Bern posted on Facebook that a celebration parade for the team will be held in downtown New Bern on Tuesday at 4 p.m. More details will be announced on the city’s Facebook page.
Aronne Herring, Chamir Wright and Damaree Tucker each scored two touchdowns as the Bears finished with a whopping 401 yards rushing.
New Bern coach Torrey Nowell also had a milestone, winning a state title in his fourth season with the Bears. He took Pamlico County to the 1-A title game in his fourth season but lost to Murphy, 60-27, in the Class 1-A title game in 2018.
Nowell left for the New Bern job shortly after that season ended.
New Bern led 13-0 in the first quarter but Grimsley rallied and took the lead before the Bears regained momentum near the end of the half, built a double-digit lead twice and held on in the waning moments.
A 36-yard touchdown run by Tucker with 33 seconds left secured the win for New Bern.
The Bears got on the board first when Wright rushed 22 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was blocked. The Bears drove down the field again and scored after picking off a Grimsley pass. Herring went 12 yards for the score to give New Bern a 13-0 lead.
However, Grimsley was not done. Terrell Anderson returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown and Ryan Stephens finished a 30-yard run for a score as New Bern’s trailed 14-13 early in the second quarter.
Wright added his second touchdown, scoring on a 4-yard run to push New Bern up 20-14. Wright, a senior, only had 15 carries and no scores entering Friday’s game.
Grimsley nearly got a score before the half but a fourth-down play failed after a penalty gave the Whirrlies great field position in the red zone.
Herring helped the Bears to a double-digit lead again in the third quarter after scoring on a 66-yard run to give New Bern a 27-14 lead. Grimsley’s Mitchelle Summers scored from six yards out to make it 27-21 with 4:16 left in the third.
Tucker broke free for a 23-yard score early in the fourth that extended New Bern’s lead to 33-21. An 85-yard touchdown pass from Stephens to Anderson with 2:57 left for Grimsley cut the margin to 33-28 before Tucker’s second touchdown in the fourth quarter sealed it.
No. 2 New Bern 35, No. 12 Millbrook 27
No. 1 Grimsley 28, No. 6 Weddington 27
State final, Dec. 9
New Bern 40, Grimsley 28