HAVELOCK — Clevelands miracle season came to a bitter end Friday night as the Rams traveled to the coast and ran into a buzzsaw.
Garrett Crowe threw for 156 yards and three touchdowns all to Zach Lahaie and rushed for another as Havelock blew Cleveland away 64-7 for the Eastern 3-A football championship at Sasser Field.
Havelock (15-0), also nicknamed the Rams, advanced to play West Rowan (12-2) in the state championship game Dec. 3 at 11 a.m. at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill.
Havelock, the three-time defending champion of the Coastal 3-A, had lost to Eastern Alamance in the Eastern final each of the past two seasons.
Im happy for our kids and our coaches and our community, Havelock coach Jim Bob Bryant said. Weve been waiting on this for three years. Our motto is Never Again and never again will be lose the Eastern finals at Havelock. Clevelands got a great football team. Theyre very young. I anticipate seeing Cleveland again sometime next season in the playoffs.
Cleveland (11-4), which has no senior class, is fielding its first varsity team in only its second year as a school. The loss ended a five-game winning streak.
Im proud of our kids, said Cleveland coach Marc Morris, who led the schools JV team to an unbeaten season in 2010 after taking Harnett Central to an appearance in the state 4-A final the year before. They did a great job for us for 15 games. Obviously we didnt play the way we expected to play tonight. But Havelock does a great job. Their kids came out and played really well and they deserve to go to the final.
Taylor Woods carried five times for 63 yards and two touchdowns for Havelock.
Isaac Martin carried 22 times for 100 yards and Clevelands only touchdown. Tre Joyner completed seven of 18 passes for 74 yards and four interceptions for Cleveland.
Havelock took almost no time to score on its first possession, as Crowe found Lahaie in single coverage down the left sideline for a 40-yard scoring strike on the games second play. Lahaies kick made it 7-0 at 11:21.
The hosts had a long, successful drive on their next possession, going 91 yards in 11 plays with Woods going in from three yards out. Holder Pharoh Cooper hit C.J. Lindsey on the conversion pass and it was 15-0 with 19.6 left in the period.
Havelock scored on its next two possessions to take control of the game. Crowe scored on a one-yard run and then hit Lahaie on a five-yard TD toss.
And the hosts got the killer blow with 19 seconds left in the half on Derell Scotts 42-yard interception return for the score and a 36-0 halftime lead.
Havelock turned it into a major rout with a 21-point third quarter, with a 61-yard punt return from Cooper and a 58-yard scrimmage run from Woods the highlight scores.
Cleveland finally got on the board with 10:03 left on a three-yard run from Martin, who had set up the touchdown with a 47-yard scamper.