Tigers look to keep rolling in Raleigh

Published 3:01 pm Wednesday, December 10, 2008

By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
RALEIGH — At one point this season, the Williamston Tigers were 3-5 and staring down the barrell at a potential losing season.
Now, after reeling off seven straight victories, the Tigers find themselves in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Class 1-A State Championship Football Game.
The Tigers (10-5), the third seed out of the East Region, knocked off No. 2 seed Creswell two weeks ago, and then took out No.1 seed Jones with an epic 42-41 thriller to win the NCHSAA Class 1-A East Regional Championship.
This weekend, they’ll be the underdog once again as they take on the unbeaten Mount Airy Granite Bears (15-0) in the state champonship tilt.
The Granite Bears, led by East Carolina University recruit Michael Dobson, have won all 15 of their games by at least 28 points. Mount Airy’s offense is averaging 53.9 points per game, while its defense has recorded six shutouts and is yielding just 5.3 points per contest.
In four playoff games, the Granite Bears have outscored their opponents 223-12.
The Granite Bears feature an explosive offense that is built around Dobson. The Bears’ senior running back has carried the ball 127 times for 1,550 yards — an eye-popping 12.2 yards per carry — and has scored 30 touchdowns.
Bears quarterback Aaron Wheeler and running backs Andy Temoney and Luke Wheeler have had their share of success, too. Each has rushed for at least 500 yards on the season and they each have scored at least 13 touchdowns.
While Mount Airy’s offensive numbers jump out at you at first, it’s the Granite Bears’ defense that has McGill concerned.
As for Holder, he says his offense will be tested against Williamston’s aggressive defense.
And when it comes to his defense, Holder’s main concern is Williamston quarterback Emery Griggs (2,142 rushing yards this season).
Williamston is seeking its first title since 1999, while Mount Airy looks to win its first title since 1948.
Saturday’s kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m. at North Carolina State’s Carter-Finley Stadium.