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Grimsley wins state championship in football, school's first since 1960
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Grimsley wins state championship in football, school's first since 1960

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Grimsley’s football team has won the school’s first state championship since 1960, when it was known as Greensboro Senior High, scoring a 28-8 victory over Cardinal Gibbons of Raleigh in the Class 4-A title game Friday night at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill. A recap:

Why the Whirlies won

Junior quarterback Alonza Barnett made plays running and throwing, and Grimsley’s defense intercepted four passes. Jeiel Melton ran for 57 of his 116 yards in the second half to help the Whirlies seal the deal.

Stars

Grimsley

QB Alonza Barnett: 11-of-17 passing, 87 yards, TD, 30 yards and TD rushing.

RB Jeiel Melton: 17 carries, 116 yards, TD; TE Lawson Albright 2 catches, 25 yards, TD.

Cardinal Gibbons

QB Connor Clark: 13-of-33 passing, 128 yards, TD, 4 INTs.

RB Donovan Shepard: 19 carries, 124 yards.

ATH Brock Biestek: 8 catches, 34 yards; 7 rushes 27 yards.

The big plays

With Cardinal Gibbons moving the ball and looking to cut into a 7-2 deficit late in the first half, Grimsley’s Nate Crawford picked off a Connor Clark pass and returned it to the Crusaders’ 24. After a 13-yard pass from Alonza Barnett to Christian Tutuh, Barnett hit Lawson Albright with a back-shoulder throw for an 11-yard TD. Jake Henry’s extra-point kick made it 14-2 with 17 seconds left in the half and the Whirlies were on their way to a state title.

Records

Grimsley: 10-0.

Cardinal Gibbons: 9-1.

Scoring summary

Grimsley 7 7 0 14 — 28

Cardinal Gibbons 0 2 0 6 — 8

Gr – Alonza Barnett 5 run (Jake Henry kick), 1st, 1:27

CG – Safety, intentional grounding from end zone, 2nd, 10:43

Gr – Lawson Albright 11 pass from Barnett (Henry kick), 2nd, :17

Gr – Jeiel Melton 9 run (Henry kick), 4th, 8:03

CG – Maverick Shotwell 41 pass from Connor Clark (pass failed), 4th, 7:24

Gr – Caleb Curtain 38 interception return (Henry kick), 4th, 4:37

Contact Joe Sirera at 336-373-7034, and follow @JoeSireraSports on Twitter.

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