Orange’s Bryse Wilson stopped a 2-point conversion run with 8 seconds left to preserve the Panthers’ 21-20 win over Lee County in a 3AA playoff game.
Lee County had scored on a fourth-and-goal situation on quarterback Emond Caldwell’s 3-yard run to set up the game-deciding play. The Yellow Jackets lined up as if they were to attempt the PAT but instead faked to Will Shoop in the backfield. Wilson broke through the line to make the tackle.
Wilson also contributed with a 24-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead and an interception in the second quarter. Orange quarterback Garrett Cloer only completed 2 of 9 passes but his other completion was a 61-yard TD pass to Josh Kiehle for a 14-7 lead at halftime.
Lee County running back Jerry Pullum led the Yellow Jackets with 27 carries for 176 yards and two touchdowns.
Orange improved to 11-1, while Lee County finished 9-3.
The Wildcats needed fourth quarter interceptions by Elijah Coley and Raul Oquendo to decide the otherwise offensive showcase. Millbrook trailed three times in the final period, but Marshall put the Wildcats back on top with scoring runs of 8, 30, and 63 yards. He then added an 80-yarder for the final margin. Coley had his interception to set up the 80-yarder and Oquendo’s interception with 16.8 seconds left near the endzone clinched the win.
Nick Viola hit three clutch first half field goals,of 35, 34, and 24 yards.
Five New Bern players ran for 40 or more yards on the night, but none more than 65.
“We didn’t feel like our offensive line played their best last week (a 33-13 win over Greenville Rose),” said New Bern coach Bobby Curlings. “So we really challenged them this week. We tried to light a fire with them and it took.”
Clayton senior quarterback Eric Hoy ran for a TD and threw for another in the fourth quarter.
Durham Hillside will face undefeated Seventy-First next week after the Falcons took down Riverside.
Calvin Boyd, Leyland McDonald and T.J, McMillan each rushed for over 100 yards each as the Bears amassed 451 yards on the ground.
Connor Stough completed 19 of 26 passes for 248 yards.