ROCKINGHAM — The NCHSAA 4AA and 4A State Championship games, which took place in Winston-Salem this past Saturday, featured two opponents from the Richmond football team’s 2017 regular-season schedule.
Wake Forest, who the Raiders hosted in Week 3, won its second consecutive 4AA state title with a 21-0 shutout victory over Mallard Creek thanks to three touchdowns in the last five minutes of play.
The Cougars were led by senior running back Devon Lawrence — aUNC-Chapel Hill commit — in the title game, as he highlighted the team’s ground attack (25 carries, 135 yards, 1 TD) and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. Lawrence’s lone score sealed the deal after teammate Javon Terry, senior defensive back, intercepted a pass.
Terry was named the 4AA East’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player award for his performance during the Cougars’ stingy effort on defense — they only allowed 112 yards of total offense. Senior John Jiles earned the Most Outstanding Offensive Player honor due to his fourth-quarter touchdown reception.
Winning the title at the expense of Mallard Creek could be seen as some long-awaited payback for Wake Forest, who lost to the Mavericks in back-to-back state championship games (2013, 2014).
Scotland, who the Raiders play annually in a much-anticipated rivalry, couldn’t recover a late-game onside kick — after a score and a two-point conversion — and suffered a 30-22 loss to Harding in the 4A championship bout.
The Scots’ second championship appearance under head coach Richard Bailey seemed to be in the books after Harding junior quarterback Braheam Murphy ran 95 yards for a touchdown, putting the Rams ahead 30-14 with two minutes left in the game.
But Scotland quickly answered with a 25-yard touchdown toss from Warren Bell to Bruce Wall and a successful run by Shyheam “Smiley” McQueen on the two-point conversion. And with 1:28 remaining, only trailing by eight points, the special-teams unit attempted an onside kick in hopes of getting the ball back.
Although the ensuing kick appeared to be recovered by the Scots, according the reaction from the players and coaches on their sideline, the officials gave possession to Harding — who took a couple of knees and ultimately ran the clock out.
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. by phone at 910-817-2673 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For stories, scores and updates, follow the Daily Journal’s sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.