New Bern captured their fourth state championship in football with a 40-28 win against Grimsley in Class 4A’s championship game; on Monday morning, Craven County Schools were informed that academically ineligible students dressed for New Bern Bears.
Tyler Mason carried 23 times for 139 yards and scored all three touchdowns during Mount Airy’s win in 2023, returning all starters – including all-purpose Walker Stroup – including Tyler.
Table of Contents
New Bern High School athletics programs help its students develop teamwork, discipline, and sportsmanship, as well as valuable life lessons that they will carry with them for life. Sports are an integral component of education – though sometimes problems arise; last year, for instance, the school system was found using ineligible athletes; additionally, the principal was suspended, and one guidance counselor was placed on administrative leave due to this activity.
Craven County Schools have since instructed their football program to forfeit five wins during this season – effectively precluding it from winning any state championships this time around. They have yet to determine an action plan to ensure this doesn’t reoccur.
WCTI 12 has reached out to the school system in search of more clarity on this situation, yet no response has yet been given. Superintendent Miller indicated she plans on writing a letter to NCHSAA asking that their current team not be punished.
As disappointing as it may have been that these players were found ineligible, she believes that the outcome will benefit all involved parties. Her goal is to keep honesty at the forefront and ensure this won’t happen again in future tournaments.
The Bears advanced to the state championship game by defeating Sanderson 56-14, Hoggard 21-0, and Rolesville 39-27 during four playoff games. Their running back, Tyler Mason, ran for 396 yards en route to being named the most valuable player for that matchup.
Millbrook struck back early in the second half, as Xavier Pugh took advantage of a sweep play to score from 66 yards away for a score that brought Millbrook within two scores at 21-13. But New Bern defensive end Ja’Tavien Green made a crucial play that set up Mason’s fourth-down Hail Mary pass to David Santiago in the end zone – eventually sealing their win!
The Bears will now meet West Duplin for the title game, set for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The victor of this contest will advance to compete at Chapel Hill for a trip to the 2023 State Championship.
Mount Airy claimed their first state football title since 2008 with a 20-7 victory against Tarboro in the Class 1A state final at Carter Finley Stadium Saturday. Mount Airy’s young rushing attack, led by junior Tyler Mason (second in the state with 52 touchdowns this season), established an early lead with six straight carries on their opening drive of 56 yards that went six for six and 6 for 56, totaling 611 yards rushing yards; their defense dominated across the field as senior linebacker Walker Stroup made nine tackles while forcing one Tarboro drive into submission; later Tarboro attempted to cut into Mount Airy’s lead but couldn’t cut into their lead any further before being forced fumbled away at Carter Finley Stadium Saturday by senior linebacker Walker Stroup who made nine tackles while forcing an attempt from Tarboro before 7-10 final score;
Mount Airy led Tarboro by a wide margin at halftime, but Kamerin McDowell-Moore scored their only points during the second half on a 1-yard run in the third quarter to score. Mount Airy held off until late in the game, winning by two touchdowns over their Viking rivals.
At a game characterized by several turnovers, one standout moment came after freshman safety Jared Gourley intercepted an Eagle pass that allowed Tyler Mason to convert on a two-point conversion run and give his Bears a 22-0 advantage with 5:58 remaining in the game. Mason later scored their third touchdown with a 1-yard run late in the fourth quarter after three Viking three-and-outs were forced.
Both teams displayed excellent defensive performances, but their offenses struggled to find their rhythm early on. Due to an active COVID-19 pandemic in North Carolina, play was delayed slightly when starting up; after this concluded, both teams resumed play.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — East Duplin pulled off an incredible victory against Reidsville to earn its inaugural football state championship on Saturday in Class 2A state finals game 24-21. Avery Gaby powered East Duplin’s rushing attack as they defeated their adversaries 24-21 in the Class 2A final.
This season marks the fifth time in succession that the Eagles have advanced to the championship game of their season, making their current streak the longest one in the state. Additionally, they own the longest regular-season winning streak ever in school history, with 18 straight victories dating back to 2021.
East Duplin High School is an academically rigorous institution dedicated to offering a well-rounded education. Alongside this academic pursuit is its robust extracurricular program, which fosters teamwork and perseverance among its student body. Participating athletes gain invaluable life lessons that they can apply to their academic endeavors – and as proud members of the state athletics association, the school encourages all athletes to strive for excellence in all areas.
New Bern Bears won their fourth state championship since 2014 with a hard-fought victory against Grimsley on Wednesday. New Bern controlled the ground game, amassing 394 yards while holding Grimsley to just 102 total offensive yards. Running back Damaree Tucker led New Bern and earned game MVP honors.
Reidsville took an early 7-0 lead when quarterback Al Lee scored on a short touchdown run, but the Panthers responded on 4th and 5. Zack Brown completed just his second pass of the game to Kade Kennedy for a 72-yard touchdown that put Reidsville behind 17-7 and put up their flag before it could travel more than 10 yards. Reidsville recovered an attempted onside kick from their opponents before it had crossed further than 10 yards.
After the game, numerous players discussed its significance to them and how important winning the championship title was for the team’s collective spirit. One defensive lineman named Rodrigo Sanchez perfectly captured it: “Winning means going out with a bang!”
Northern Nash scored 24 points in the third quarter to pull away from East Lincoln and win the North Carolina 2A football state title. Their success was helped along by two touchdown catches from wide receiver Ashton Rhodes.
The game provided several tense moments throughout. The Panthers controlled time of possession in the first half, and thanks to an impressive defensive stand by their defense, they took an early 24-7 lead into halftime. But in the fourth quarter, Lee found Jaden McCain for an unbelievable touchdown pass that tied it up.
Reidsville Rams have successfully won their third consecutive 2A state title after defeating Mountain Heritage 35-6 at Kenan Stadium Saturday evening. QB Kyle Pinnix scored on their opening possession and led his team to an overwhelming win – marking 26 state championship appearances by any high school football program in NC history!
The Rams controlled the ground game throughout their victory and amassed over 300 yards on the day. Running back Avery Gaby played a pivotal role, carrying 25 times for 184 yards and one touchdown; this earned him recognition as the game’s Most Outstanding Player. Their defense also played well by only allowing a handful of first downs from the Cougars’ offense.
Mountain Heritage struggled to match Reidsville’s offense for much of the contest, failing to match up with its dynamic offensive attack. The first half was scoreless, with only one point coming from an attempted field goal by Rams kicker Darwin Bonilla in the second quarter. Reidsville began an impressive drive in the third quarter; on fourth and goal at Panther five, they decided not to attempt a field goal but went for it instead, opting for quarterback Zach Brown to find Kade Kennedy for a touchdown to give Reidsville a 24-14 advantage.
Even after their loss, the Panthers enjoyed an outstanding season. They finished 11-1 and earned champion status at the Mid-State 2A conference. According to both HSOT and MaxPreps rankings, they were considered a top national power. Even after suffering their setback, the Panthers will remain within MaxPreps’ top 25 for another week or so.
The 2022 High School Open Tournament state rankings use a point system that awards teams for wins, losses, and other criteria. The top 10 teams from each class advance to the state championships on December 9-10; winners receive plaques as well as $11,000 scholarship money, with the top two teams in each class receiving additional scholarship money of $10,000 per class; additionally, the two best regional teams earn an automatic bid to the championship games.