Vikings to play North Duplin for state title
By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
PLYMOUTH — The realization that Plymouth would be playing for a state companionship sunk in right about the time Dasheen Perry picked up a Roanoke fumble midway through the fourth quarter and dashed 24 yards to pay dirt to put the game out of reach for the Redskins. The Vikings would add one more fourth quarter TD and set sail for Carter-Finley Stadium with a 48-6 victory Friday night and a NCHSAA 1-A East Regional championship in hand.
Plymouth steadily added to its lead as the game went on, but fearful fans cautiously held back, not wanting to celebrate prematurely. However, when Perry crossed the goaline the faithful at Foster Field erupted as they celebrated the school’s first ever trip to a state title game.
Once again, the combination of running backs Andre Mitchell and Tobias Clagon were brilliant as they helped the Vikings out-rush the Redskins 435-71.
Clagon carried only 14 times but racked up 204 yards and two TDs, while Mitchell toted the rock 16 times for 141 yards and three scores.
Mitchell struck first, and second, as his touchdown runs for 20 and 38 yards helped the Vikings (15-0) take a 14-0 lead in the first.
After going three and out on its first possession, Roanoke (10-5) coach Brian Paschal pulled some tricks out of his sleeve as he went to the water bucket formation on the team’s second possession.
The gimmick offense was good for a score as Redskins’ QB Alonza Higgs lofted a 55-yard TD pass to Kenneth Hyman to cut Plymouth’s lead to 14-6 to end the first quarter.
The Roanoke score was the first the Vikings had let up all postseason, there would not be a second one.
Roanoke’s score along with some solid defense helped the team stack up some momentum. Both team’s traded interceptions in the second quarter and it looked like the Vikings were going to be in for a battle as they routinely found themselves in long yardage situations. However, every time their backs were against the wall, Mitchell and Clagon bailed the Vikings out.
With the game still up for grabs, Plymouth faced a third-and-22 at their own 35. Instead of calling for a pass, Cody put the ball in the hands of Clagon, who rewarded the coach’s faith in his back and offensive line as he proceeded to run for a 75-yard touchdown.
Clagon’s run not only put Plymouth up 20-6, but proved to be the turning point in the game.
After the game the senior said he was excited to make school history.
Roanoke pulled out all the stops on defense as it tried to stop the Vikings’ ground game. The Redskins loaded up on the line of scrimmage but had little success with it. The Plymouth offensive line did an outstanding job picking up the pressure along with wide receiver Angelo Sharpless who had instrumental blocks on Mitchell’s first two TD runs.
Sharpless was also moved to the tight end possession at times to help add an extra blocker and excelled in that role. Defensively, Sharpless added two interceptions.
The Vikings’ offense rolled in the second half as Mitchell and Clagon scored, as well as fellow running back Dwayne Brooks.
While Paschal may not have been pleased with Friday night’s outcome, he said he was proud of the way his team played all season.
The Vikings’ win sets up a battle of two undefeated teams, as North Duplin (14-0) topped Lakewood 35-0 in the West Regional championship game. The two teams will meet Saturday at 11 a.m. at Carter-Finley Stadium.
5 First Downs 13
18-71 Rushes-Yards 49-435
102 Passing Yards 22
4-8-2 Pass-Comp-Int 1-5-1
4-29 Punting 1-18
6-4 Fumbles-Lost 1-1
2-25 Penalties 12=105
Roanoke 6 0 0 0 — 6
Plymouth 14 6 6 22 — 48
P — Andre Mitchell 20 run (Dasheen Perry two points), 6:06, 1st.
P — Mitchell 38 run (two points failed), 1:20, 1st.
R — Kenneth Hyman 55 pass from Alonza Higgs (two points failed), :45, 1st.
P — Tobias Clagon 75 run (two points failed), 3:58, 2nd.
P — Mitchell 24 run (two points failed), 5:34, 3rd.
P — Dwayne Brooks 7 run (Brooks two points), 9:51, 4th.
P — Perry 24 fumble recovery (Dwayne Brooks two points), 9:36, 4th.
P — Clagon 54 run (two points failed), 5:40, 4th.