Dec 2, 2012
Tarboro ‘s bid for a fourth consecutive state championship was halted Saturday as early mistakes were too much to overcome in a 24-20 loss to East Lincoln in the title game at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem.
Tarboro fumbled four times, including twice in the red zone in the first quarter, and found themselves in a 17-6 hole at halftime.
“I don’t think we played our best football in the first half,” said Tarboro head coach Jeff Craddock. “I think we left 14 points on the board.”
Despite the mistakes, Tarboro (14-1) rallied to take their first lead of the game with three minutes to play in the third quarter as their defense assisted the offense.
On consecutive East Lincoln series’, Tarboro’s secondary intercepted Mustangs quarterback Garrett Young. The Vikings turned each of those possessions into points as Quentin Roberson scored on a 21-yard run following a Quantavious Battle pick and Travonne Marshall scored on a 43-yard run up the middle after Aaron Moore hauled one in on the sideline.
“We noticed our linebackers were playing to deep, we had the seams covered but weren’t accounting for the check downs,” Craddock said. “We changed things to a 3-4 Special and had Marshall play the underneath.
“Our defense played really well in the second half, I thought holding them to seven points would be enough, but apparently we need to shut them out.”
The Vikings lead was short-lived, though, as Young, the game’s most valuable player, engineered a 10-play, 80-yard drive in the fourth quarter to put East Lincoln (16-0) back in front with a lead they did not relent.
“We only trailed three times all season, the third one being today, and all three times we have gone in to score on the next drive,” said East Lincoln head coach Mike Byus.
Young finished the game 18-for-36 for 196 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. The game winner came with 7:55 to play on a 13-yard connection to Tyler Brock. He also had a second quarter scoring play to Chazz Surratt from 3 yards out.
Tarboro had one final drive late in the game to try and complete a comeback with no timeouts. The Vikings converted two fourth downs and reached the East Lincoln 23-yard line but they were stopped on a third fourth down attempt as defensive MVP Dallas Lawing tackled Marshall in the backfield.
Roberson, a senior for Tarboro, paced the Vikings, racking up 203 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. Roberson finished the season with 1,957 yards and 27 scores.
“Quentin was a senior and Radja (Bobbitt) was a little banged up,” Craddock said. “We felt he was our best option and we rode him.”
Marshall finished with eight carries for 64 yards and one touchdown.
Senior Tyquan Lewis was limited in action in the second quarter after aggravating his left foot. Lewis returned with a heavy tape-job on the foot in the second half and played both sides of the ball.
“He’s going to be sore tomorrow,” Crddock said. “He gave it everything he has and really personified the champion mind set of a Tarboro football player. The good thing is he has time and can get healed up now.”
Tarboro put the ball on the ground six times in all, losing four of them. The Vikings were 0-for-2 in the red zone and just 4-for-12 on third downs.
“Give all the credit to Tarboro, they fought hard like we expected them to which makes this that mush sweeter,” Byus said. “We wanted to contain their big plays. Our goal was to bottle their team speed.”
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