Tigers win East Regional title
Published 2:21 pm Saturday, December 6, 2008
By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
TRENTON — Cody Speller’s 21-yard field goal with 25 seconds remaining gave the Williamston Tigers an East Regional championship, and the right to play for a state title.
Speller’s dramatic kick gave the No. 3-seed Tigers (10-5) a 42-41 upset victory over top-seeded Jones Senior (13-2) in Friday night’s N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1A East Regional championship game.
Speller’s field goal atoned for three missed PATs earlier in the game.
Williamston, advancing to its fourth state title game since 1999, will play Mount Airy (15-0) for the championship. Mount Airy won the West Regional championship with a 52-6 win over Elkin.
The championship game will be held Saturday, Dec. 13, at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.
Emery Griggs, who wasn’t even sure earlier in the week that he’d be able to play in the game, ran for 326 yards and four touchdowns on 38 carries. He also threw for 73 yards and another score.
Williamston held a 26-0 lead, only to see the Trojans storm back behind the play of quarterback Covair Frost. Frost completed 11 of 21 passes for 222 yards to go with three TD passes and two interceptions. He also ran for 137 yards and three scores on 17 carries.
The Tigers, which racked up 408 yards on the ground, saw Derek Everett rumble for 63 yards on 17 carries.
They also saw Frost nearly pull out a dramatic victory. Jones had the ball at its own 40 with two seconds to play. Frost broke off a 51-yard run, but was brought down by linebacker DeBrian Everett at the Tiger-9 to end the game.
Just moments earlier, Williamston had the ball at the Jones 31. Kenny Brown drew a pass interference call. Coupled with an unsportsmanlike conduct call on the Trojans, the Tigers had the ball at the Jones-9. Three plays later, Speller kicked the game-winner.
Griggs gave the Tigers an early 26-0 lead thanks to touchdown runs of 6, 11 and 38 yards along with a 19-yard scoring strike to Kareem Bell.
Frost hit Quinton McEachin in the second quarter, then added a 17-yard TD jaunt to pull the Trojans within 26-14.
Kenny Brown’s 7-yard fumble return for a score gave the Tigers a little breathing room, but Frost had TD tosses of 54 and 40 yards to pull Jones within 33-27.
Griggs broke off a 33-yard run to the end zone to make it 39-27 early in the fourth. Frost followed with scoring runs of 14 and 25 yards. The latter gave the Trojans a 41-39 lead.
However, Speller split the uprights to keep Williamston’s season alive.
W – Emery Griggs 6 run (kick failed), 8:41, 1st
W – Griggs 19 pass to Kareem Bell (pass failed), 1:29, 1st
W – Griggs 11 run (Griggs run), 7:58, 2nd
W – Griggs 38 run (kick failed), 5:58, 2nd
J – Covair Frost 49 pass to Quinton McEachin (pass failed), 4:08, 2nd
J – Frost 17 run (McEachin run), 0:26, 2nd
W – Kenny Brown 7 fumble return (Cody Speller kick), 11:46, 3rd
J – Frost 54 pass to Bataughan Foy (kick good), 8:52, 3rd
J – Frost 40 pass to Robert Williams (run failed), 9:11, 4th
W – Griggs 33 run (kick failed), 8:58, 4th
J – Frost 14 run (Frost run), 8:20, 4th
J – Frost 25 run (run failed), 4:55, 4th
W – Speller 25 field, 0:25, 4th