FINAL: L.C. Bird 22, Tuscarora 19
Skyhawks overcome early 13-0 deficit, shut down Tuscarora running back Noah Reimers in the second half, and capture their 14th straight postseason win. L.C. Bird hasn't lost a playoff game in 1,114 days, dating back to November 25, 2011.
Reimers, who entered the game averaging 227 yards rushing per game en route to a 14-0 mark, ran for 115 in the first half, but only for 15 after intermission, as the Huskies were held scoreless after the break.
The only score of the second half was the championship-clinching touchdown, a 32-yard pass from Jalen Elliott to Waymond Pate with 10:22 left in the game. Two defensive stops later, and the Skyhawks began lifting three fingers to the sky.
Stephen Mines had 108 yards rushing before leaving the game in the third quarter due to injury. J.B. Wright stepped in and rushed for 64 yards on 17 carries, many of those yards in the critical touchdown drive.
TURNING POINT: Tuscarora led 13-0 in the second quarter and had stopped the Skyhawks, forcing a punt near midfield. A short kick hit an upman for Tuscarora, and L.C. Bird recovered at the Huskies' 43. Mines ran for 28 yards on two carries to enter the red zone, then later scored on a four-yard run to cut the deficit to 13-7. Except for Tuscarora's 38-yard TD pass with :05 left before the half, the rest of the game was dictated by the Skyhawks from this point forward.
NOTES: For seniors like Daijuane Dorsey, Darnell Gore, Tyler Wilkins, Mines, Andre Davis, Devin Durham, Jake Alley, Jamie Ross and Lewis Grant, their Skyhawks career knows only about winning. The Class of 2015, in the past three seasons, went 42-2, only losing regular season games this fall to Lake Taylor and, on a Hail Mary pass, Manchester.
Elliott and Wright are juniors, and here's a scary thought for future Bird opponents, defensive stalwarts Rayshard Ashby and Isaiah Moore are only sophomores.
Congratulations to head coach David Bedwell and their staff on a championship run, now three years running, unprecedented in Central Region history.