Vikings’ win simply divinePublished 5:32pm Saturday, December 1, 2012
RALEIGH — Plymouth coach Robert Cody was doing a lot of praying on the sideline. Somebody must have heard him.
The Vikings caught a break on a critical Murphy fumble, overcame a late 1st-and-40 and two interceptions to win their second state 1-A championship in school history by topping the Bulldogs 20-15 at N.C. State’s Carter-Finley Stadium on Saturday.
Down one point with less than four minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the Vikings (15-1) were reeling as defending state champs Murphy (13-3) continued to pound the ball down the field until it got to the Plymouth 24-yard line.
It was there the Bulldogs were posed to put the dagger through Plymouth’s heart when they handed the ball off to star running back James Posey who slashed his way down to the 1-yard line where Khalil Shepard stripped the ball away from him as Posey’s left knee hit the grass.
The ball was ruled live as it popped out of Posey’s arms and took a bounce of holly roller proportions and bobbled across the goal line and through the back of the end zone giving Plymouth a new life and the ball back a their own 20.
With 3:30 to go, Vikings’ running back Quadree Pettiford ripped off a 19-yard run, which coupled with a Murphy penalty, put Plymouth at the Bulldogs’ 41.
Two plays later Vikings’ quarterback Sharmontez Ferebee sailed a 38-yard pass down the field to tight end DeAndre Phelps, who shook off a bad ankle and Bulldogs defenders to score the game-winning touchdown.
“I’d love to say I knew it was the right time to call that play,” Cody said. “But I said, ‘Lord, give me some kind of pass here that might really work.’ And he said, ‘Call Tommy Wide Gun and run that corner route’ and it worked.”
The touchdown pass was the second of the day for Ferebee, who completed three of his seven attempts for 123 yards and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
Pettiford, who tallied 102 yards on 13 carries, was tabbed Plymouth’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player, while linebacker Keimon Blount racked up a game-high 13 tackles en route to earning the team’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player.
Ferebee may have completed only three passes but each one of them carried the same impact as a Mike Tyson knockout punch.
On Plymouth’s first drive of the game the senior QB threw a 41-yard bomb to Demarkius Price, who was filling in for starting RB Kendrick Pitt (ankle), to put the Vikings ahead 8-0 at the 8:53 mark.
Ferebee’s second completion of the game didn’t come again until the third quarter. Trailing 15-8, Plymouth had rushed its way to the Murphy 20-yard line when it self-destructed.
The Vikings drew three straight penalties, which not only took them out of the red zone, but into another area code as they faced 1st-and-40 from their own 44.
After a 15-yard pick up by running back Carl McCray (17-66), Cody dialed up another pass play and Ferebee found Phelps down the left sideline for 46 yards and the Vikes were back in business.
The drive carried over into the fourth quarter and two plays later McCray rumbled into the end zone from the one-yard line for a score.
As they have done all year, Plymouth went for the two-point conversion but was stonewalled by Murphy and trailed 15-14 with 5:19 left in the game.
With a chance to put the game out of reach, Murphy methodically worked the ball down the field on its ensuing possesion until Shepard’s strip of Posey recusitated Plymouth’s title hopes and led to Phelps’ game-winning TD reception with 1:46 showing on the clock.
After the offense had shown it could come up big in crunch time, the defense did the same.
Once again, Murphy steadily marched its way toward the end zone as it fought against the Vikings and the clock, but in the end the combination was too much to overcome.
The Bulldogs found themselves at Plymouth’s 20 and with three seconds left in the game and had time for one more play. Quarterback Michael Curry (8-14, 80) threw a desperation pass toward the end zone but it would land incomplete, setting off a raucous Vikings’ celebration.
Murphy 0 15 0 0 — 15
Plymouth 8 0 0 12 — 20
P — Demarkius Price 46 pass from Sharmontez Ferebee (Price two points), 8:53, 1st.
M — James Posey 2 run (Brice McKeon two points), 8:16, 2nd.
M — Posey 1 run (Chris Tarnowski kick good), :27, 2nd.
P — Carl McCray 1 run (two points failed), 11:58, 4th.
P — DeAndre Phelps 38 pass from Sharmontez Ferebee (two points failed), 1:46, 4th.
First downs 22 15
Rushes-yards 47-278 40-174
Comp-att-int 8-17-1 4-7-2
Passing yards 80 123
Fumbles-lost 3-1 1-0
Penalties-yards 5-51 8-7z
Punts 1-37 2-29