KILL DEVIL HILLS — The Fairmont football team got off to a shaky start on Friday, before its game at First Flight, with the team’s bus arriving nearly two hours late in advance of traveling to the Outer Banks.
The rest of the day went a lot smoother for the Golden Tornadoes, who claimed a 50-42 win to advance to the second round of the NCHSAA 2A state playoffs.
“The bus showed up late, but we ended up making good time. We got to eat and walk on the pier and they really enjoyed that,” said Fairmont coach Mark Heil. “I’m glad we won the game, but I think we had a lot of fun on this trip.”
Behind more than 200 rushing yards and three touchdowns from Halijah McLean, the No. 5 Golden Tornadoes (8-4) were clicking on all cylinders offensively, answering the bell each time the No. 4 Nighthawks (6-5) rallied. Quarterback Julius Caulder threw four touchdowns, with Jordan Waters hauling in three scores and Jarique Moore snagging the other.
“We moved the ball well,” Heil said. “We had the lead the whole time, and a three-touchdown lead a couple of times. I have to give them (First Flight) credit for playing hard, being scrappy and not quitting.
“Our offense continues to improve and I thought Halijah ran the ball real hard. You want to keep on suriving so you can dance with the prettiest girl at the end.”
The win earns the Golden Tornadoes a rematch with South Columbus, who beat Fairmont 48-26 in the regular season finale to claim the Three Rivers Conference championship. The Stallions beat Bertie 42-26 on Friday night. Fairmont throttled South Columbus last season, 44-6, in the second round of the playoffs.
“The bottom line is we can’t make the same mistakes we made (in the first meeting),” Heil said of the rematch. “Our run defense will have to be much improved. It’s going to be hard, but it’s nice to play someone in our conference because it shows the strength of our conference.”
Ayden-Grifton fends off Red Springs
AYDEN — Trailing by one score late in the fourth quarter, Red Springs had its chance to close the gap against Ayden-Grifton on Friday, but the Chargers widened the gap with under two minutes to play in a 46-32 win.
The No. 7 Red Devils (6-6) battled back from a 14-0 deficit in the first quarter, but the second-seeded Chargers (9-3) maintained the lead throughout to advance to the second round against East Bladen in the 2A bracket.
Eric Graham scored three touchdowns to lead the Red Devils, catching two scores and rushing for another. Toddrick Lockhart accounted for three touchdowns and finished with 250 passing yards.
Bunn blasts St. Pauls
BUNN — St. Pauls struck first in its game against Bunn on Friday, but the Wildcats answered with 28 straight points en route to a 49-12 win.
Running back Chris Graham gave the No. 7 Bulldogs (6-6) an early 6-0 lead, but St. Pauls would score only once more the rest of the way. Bunn will face Northside in the second round of the 2AA bracket.
South Robeson no match for Murphy
MURPHY — Murphy earned the top seed in the 1A West division of the NCHSAA state playoffs, and showed its strength on Friday with a dominating 50-6 win over South Robeson.
The Bulldogs (11-1) scored 43 points in the first half to earn a meeting with Winston-Salem Prep in the second round.
Quarterback Darrius Brown connected with Zion Davis for a 27-yard touchdown for the Mustangs’ (2-10) lone score of the game.