Friday 19 Jan 2018

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High School Football: Cherokee Vs. North Duplin (PHOTO GALLERY)

RALEIGH – For the second time in 10 years, North Duplin’s dreams of a state championship came up just short.

The Rebels undefeated season came to a close on Saturday with a 21-13 loss to Cherokee in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 1-A state championship at Carter-Finley Stadium on the campus of N.C. State.

North Duplin also had an undefeated season end with a loss in the 1-A state finals in 2007.

Senior quarterback William Archer’s second quarter touchdown run helped North Duplin take a 7-0 lead into halfime.

Cherokee tied the game on quarterback Tye Mintz’s 8-yard run with less than five minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Mintz scored again on a 49-yard run early in the fourth quarter. The point after was no good and Cherokee led 13-7.

Less than three minutes later, a failed fake punt attempt came back to haunt North Duplin. The Braves needed just three plays to find the end zone after taking over on downs. Cherokee’s ensuing two-point conversion attempt was good and the Braves led 21-7 with nine minutes to play.

Kenny Sheppard’s three-yard touchdown run pulled North Duplin to 21-13 with fewer than three minutes to play. The Rebels missed the extra point and Cherokee recovered North Duplin’s onside kick.

The Braves (14-1) proceeded to run out the clock to claim the first state championship in program history.

The Rebels finished the season 14-1, and after averaging 34 points a game this season were held to 13 points or less for just the second time all year. Saturday also marked the final time 14 seniors took the field for the Rebels after contributing to 31 wins over the past four seasons.

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