2022 NCHSAA 1A Football Championship | Mount Airy stops Tarboro 20-7
RALEIGH, NC – The Mount Airy Granite Bears started hot and rode a strong defensive performance to a 20-7 victory over Tarboro in the 1A Football State Championship. The victory gives Mount Airy seven State Championships all-time and was the Granite Bears’ first title since the 2008 championship.
Tyler Mason carried 23 times for 139 yards and all three Bears touchdowns on his way to being chosen as the 1A State Championship Game Most Valuable Player. Caleb Reid rushed for 43 yards on just nine carries on his way to being selected as the Bears’ Most Outstanding Offensive Performer. Reid also added nine tackles on his night.
The Mount Airy defense was equally superb, holding the powerful Tarboro “T” to just 179 yards on the ground. Walker Stroup anchored the Bears’ defense with nine tackles and forcing a fumble in the fourth quarter as Tarboro was driving to try and trim the Mount Airy lead from 20-7 with 5:58 to play. Stroup was selected as Mount Airy’s Most Outstanding Defensive Performer for his defensive efforts and had three punts for an average of just under 40 yards and downed two inside the 20.
Mount Airy held Tarboro to three-and-out on their first possession of the second half and D.J. Joyce came through the right side of the Tarboro punt formation to block the kick and set the Bears up with a short field at the Viking 13. Two plays later Mason galloped in from one yard out with 8:58 to go in the third, putting the Granite Bears up 20-0 after the missed PAT.
Mount Airy took their opening drive straight down the field, marching six plays and 56 yards before Tyler Mason ripped off a 15-yard touchdown run to put the Bears up 7-0 just 3:06 into the contest. The Bears hit the ground hard, running all six plays on the ground in their first drive.
Mason set the Granite Bears up with a short field for their second score, returning a Tarboro punt 30 yards down to the Vikings 14-yard line. After just four plays, Mason slammed in over left guard on a 1-yard touchdown run to give Mount Airy a 14-0 lead at the break. He finished the first half with 12 carries for 58 yards and a pair of scores. He outgained the Vikings in the first half 58-54 on the ground.
Tarboro’s offense struggled to get going in the first half but got in better form in the second half. Kamerin McDowell-Moore was the leader offensively for the Vikings, rushing for 119 yards on 25 carries as he was chosen as the Most Outstanding Offensive Performer for Tarboro. Omarion Lewis was the defensive leader for Tarboro, racking up nine tackles and an interception that he returned 24 yards on his way to the Most Outstanding Defensive Performer Award for the Vikings.
Tarboro wrapped the season at 13-2 and 5-0 as the champions of the Four Rivers 1A Conference. The Vikings won the school’s 13th Regional Title in Football, reaching the State Championship Game for the sixth straight year.
Mount Airy concluded the year 15-1. The Granite Bears were 6-0 in the Northwest 1A, winning the league title. The Bears won the 12th Regional Title in school history and earned their seventh state title all-time.
The NCHSAA is committed to promoting good sportsmanship at all athletic events and has partnered with the North Carolina Farm Bureau to award two players from participating teams at each State Championship event with the NC Farm Bureau Sportsmanship Awards for their efforts throughout the season. The 2022 1A Football NC Farm Bureau Sportsmanship Award winners were Joshua Bradley from Tarboro and Josh Chavis from Mount Airy.
Courtesy of James Alverson, Director of Media for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association/NCHSAA