CARRBORO — Six years ago, the Carrboro Jaguars huddled on the field after a humiliating 89-0 loss to Cummings, a football powerhouse from Burlington.
Six years later, the Jaguars huddled in the same spot, across the field from a scoreboard that proved they had become a powerhouse in their own right. Carrboro defeated Providence Grove (5-5) on Friday evening 63-34, putting the final brush stroke on a perfect 11-0 canvas of a season.
Carrboro became the first team in the district to finish the regular season undefeated since Lincoln High’s state champions in 1962, and the first local team to do it in NCHSAA play.
“To sit here now and say that someone told me this is the first time someone in this county went undefeated in the (NCHSAA) regular season is amazing,” coach Jason Tudryn said. “Football’s been around a long time. For a school to be around for six years and be able to do something that nobody’s ever done, I’m so proud of these guys.”
Tudryn is especially proud of sophomore Trai Sharp, who, along with receiver Marlin Johnson, exposed Providence Grove’s secondary without mercy and combined for eight touchdowns. Six of Carrboro’s nine were scored on plays of 50 or more yards.
Despite opening with a rare three-and-out on its first drive and finding itself in a 3rd-and-12 hole on the second, Carrboro scored three touchdowns in the first quarter, two of which were from Trai Sharp. Junior Marlin Johnson scored the third.
Sharp’s first foray into the end zone came on third and goal, a four-yard run down the middle. His second was set up by a 14-yard Alex McVeigh pass to Marlin Johnson in the middle of the field. On first down, Sharp ran 37 yards down the right side of the field, untouched.
“He’s a great football player,” Tudryn said. “He makes people miss, and he’s competitive and tough. I really love how he played tonight.”
John Peretin intercepted Providence Grove’s first pass attempt of the game. Just 11 seconds after Sharp’s touchdown, Johnson found himself in the end zone after a 58-yard scoring play.
In the second quarter, Carrboro repeated itself. Sharp again scored two touchdowns. Johnson again scored one.
For the Patriots, the performance of quarterback Stedman Rush lived up to his name. Rush, at a burly 210 pounds, preferred to keep the ball on the ground. Still, he managed to guide his team to two second-quarter touchdowns, which only slightly softened the sight of a 42-15 scoreline through one half.
The Patriots began the second half with an 82-yard drive capped by a James Milligan rushing touchdown, pulling them within 20 at 42-22. But with another pair of touchdowns from Sharp, Carrboro was able to reextend its lead to 56-22 before Providence Grove scored again.
Sharp fell off his two-touchdowns-per-quarter pace in the final period, allowing Shamek Dolby’s 10-yard touchdown reception to have the Jaguars’ final word on offense.
Next week, Carrboro will begin the playoffs in Jaguar Stadium. Tudryn said his team will be hard at work next week, doing what it can to improve upon perfection.
“We’re going to be in the weight room real early tomorrow morning getting ready to go,” he said Friday. “We’ve got a tough road left to go.”