RALEIGH, NC – The Reidsville Rams stormed from down 14 much of the game to stun Northeastern with a 31-28 win as Zach Baber hit a 24-yard field goal to give Reidsville its first and only lead with just four seconds remaining in the game. The win gave Reidsville their program’s 17th NCHSAA Football State Championship, and their second state title in the last three years.
Northeastern took no time to get on the scoreboard, as the Eagles went five plays and 79 yards capped off by a 55-yard touchdown run from Aaron Harris to go up 7-0 on the opening possession. The Eagles tacked on another first quarter score when a deflected pass from Harris found Quasi Thomas who rumbled 22 yards to the end zone to put Northeastern up 14-0 with 1:26 to go in the quarter.
The two teams exchanged turnovers in the second quarter, with Northeastern coughing the ball up in their own red zone before Reidsville’s jump pass was intercepted in the end zone on the ensuing play. Another Northeastern turnover, this one an interception in their own end, set Reidsville up with a short field. The Rams capitalized as Breon Pass caught a 19 yard touchdown pass from Kyle Pinnix and the PAT cut the lead Eagles’ lead to 14-7 with 9:20 to go in the first half.
Late in the first half, Northeastern stretched their lead back out to 14 as Traveon Freshwater scored from nine yards out to give the Eagles a 21-7 lead with 1:51 to go in the half. The Freshwater touchdown capped off an 11-play, 75-yard drive that saw 5:20 wind off the clock.
Reidsville didn’t give up, evening the score at 21 with a pair of third quarter touchdowns while the defense buckled down. Pass grabbed his second touchdown catch from Pinnix, this one a 5 yard grab with 8:09 to go in the third, that trimmed the Eagles lead to 21-13 as the point after failed. Later in the quarter, Pinnix found Logan Graves for a 32 yard scoring strike with 1:32 to go in the third to pull the Rams within a two-point conversion. Pinnix hit Lionel Long for the conversion attempt, knotting the score at 21.
Northeastern quarterback Harris had been explosive all game, and he went off again in the later stages of the fourth quarter, ripping off a 40-yard touchdown run to put the Eagles up 28-21 with 4:14 to play. The Rams quick-strike ability evened the score again quickly as Pinnix hit Demontez Canada for a 37 yard touchdown pass just three plays after the Northeastern score, tying the game at 28 with 3:06 to play.
Pinnix finished the game with nine completions for 116 yards and four touchdowns. He was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. Long was named Reidsville’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player as he had 103 yards rushing and 21 yards receiving to keep the Rams moving all afternoon. Trell Rankin was selected as the Rams Most Outstanding Defensive Player with six tackles, two of them sacks and a fumble recovery in the game.
Harris was tapped as the Most Outstanding Offensive Player for Northeastern, as he rushed for 175 yards and two touchdowns in the game. He also threw for 47 yards and a score on the afternoon. Robert Ferguson took home Northeastern’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player award, leading all players with 15 tackles in the game, adding a pass break-up to his stat line.
The victory gives Reidsville 17 State Championships in the NCHSAA with 23 Championship Appearances. The Rams also hold three Regional Championships from 1961-1971 when play culminated with the regional finals in many classifications.
The NCHSAA is committed to promoting good sportsmanship and with the assistance of North Carolina Farm Bureau are pleased to present Sportsmanship Awards to one member of each Championship team that have exhibited good sportsmanship throughout the 2018 season. Northeastern’s winner was senior linebacker, Naquan Winslow. Reidsville’s selection was senior defensive lineman and running back, J.R. Reynolds.