Saturday, December 1, 2012

East Lincoln wins 2A state championship

WINSTON-SALEM – East Lincoln coach Mike Byus had preached to his Mustangs all season long about the importance of reaching their potential.

“We always talked to them about reaching their ceiling,” he said.

East Lincoln defeated three-time defending state champion Tarboro 24-20 Saturday at BB&T Field to win the 2A state title.

“I think we reached that ceiling today,” Byus said.

The Mustangs finish the season a perfect 16-0 to earn the school’s first football championship.

“I just enjoyed every bit of it,” said quarterback Garrett Young, the game’s most valuable player.

“We just went out there and got it.”

East Lincoln got on the scoreboard first, when senior Marquise Pharr ran for a 3-yard touchdown less than two minutes into the game.

Young’s passing would help the Mustangs move the ball to the Tarboro 13-yard line to set up a 30-yard Cory Petersen field goal early in the second quarter.

Tarboro (14-1), which had a 21-game win streak heading into the game, put together an answer, as running back Quentin Roberson broke away for a 62-yard run – assisted by a big-time block by Travonne Marshall – to put his Vikings on the board.

After a failed two-point conversion attempt, Tarboro trailed 10-6.

Young, who had 196 yards on 18-of-36 passing, combined with Jesse Earnhardt three times – for 44 yards – to set up Surratt’s 3-yard touchdown catch on a slant with less than five minutes left in the half.

The East Lincoln defense came out strong, forcing four fumbles to hold a Tarboro team averaging more than 42 points per game to six points in the first half.

Tarboro had a big third quarter, outscoring the Mustangs 14-0 to get its first lead of the game.

After forcing a safety, the Vikings used two interceptions to get the momentum back.
Tarboro freshman Quantavious Battle picked off Young and returned it for 46 yards to set up a 21-yard Roberson run to get the Vikings within three points.

Aaron Moore, the Vikings’ quarterback who also sees time at corner back, intercepted Young on the following Mustang possession. Travonne Marshall had a 43-yard scoring run to give Tarboro a 20-17 lead.

“At halftime, I told the kids ‘they’re not going to go quietly,’” said Byus. “And they didn’t. They fought hard, which makes this even sweeter.”