COURTLAND — Southampton Academy is the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 8-Man state champion for the first time since 2004 after defeating Word of God 52-28 Friday night in the state championship game.
“We knew coming into this game we had a really good season. We were 11-0, but we had to win tonight to make it a great season,” said Raiders coach Dale Marks.
The Rams’ season ended at 10-2.
“We had an excellent season this year; its been an excellent year,” said Word of God coach Kevin Washington. “Two losses in three years isn’t bad. We have some young guys, and we will be back strong next year.”
Raiders junior Tonee Hill had 180 yards with three touchdowns and an interception on defense.
“The team has hung in there all year, played hard and stuck together. It’s just a great finish to a great season,” Marks said.
Hill was named NCISAA 8-Man MVP, and Marks was named Coach of the Year.
Junior Jason Fields completed 10-of-19 passes for 128 yards with two touchdowns and one interception and 65 rushing yards for the Rams. Senior Casty St. Louis had 151 yards.
“Word of God is a good team, and they scored some points on us, but we came out strong and set the tone,” Marks said.
The Raiders went up 16-0 when Parker scored from the 3 with 3:02 left in the first quarter, capping a three-play, 61-yard drive.
The Raiders’ third scoring drive was capped by a 14-yard run by Hill with nine minutes left in the second quarter for a 24-0 lead.
The Rams first got on the scoreboard when Fields connected with senior Jonathan Jackson for a 15-yard pass over the middle.
Southampton returned a fumble 82 yards for a touchdown early in the third period, and the Rams never seriously threatened to take the lead.