Playing without injured starting quarterback Jalen Greene, Southern Durham running back Jordon Brown took on double duty Friday night to lead the Spartans to a 19-15 come-from-behind win over defending champion Northern Guilford in the N.C. High School Athletic Association East Regional final.
Brown, lining up at QB, ran for 178 yards and a touchdown, and threw for 149 yards and two TDs to account for all of Southern’s scoring. His one hiccup was an interception with 11:29 left that almost cost the game.
Southern will play Boiling Springs’ Crest High Saturday Dec. 12 at North Carolina’s Keenan Stadium in a repeat of the 2013 3AA championship that the Spartans won 38-31.
After Nighthawks cornerback Max Maynard intercepted Brown at the Northern Guilford 18, the Nighthawks used up almost 10 minutes on 17 plays, before Southern’s defense held on fourth-and-2 at its 19 with 1:55 left.
After a three-and-out by the Spartans, Northern Guilford got one last chance at its own 36 with 1:20 left. But Southern senior defensive back Kaleb Barfield came up with his third interception of the night with 44.8 seconds remaining to seal the win.
Southern jumped on the scoreboard first with a 7-play, 91-yard drive that running back Myron Frazier Jr. sealed with a 6-yard plunge with 5:46 left in first quarter.
But the Nighthawks countered with their own long drive of 78 yards – despite four false start penalties – to go ahead 8-7 on QB Miles Timmons 25-yard connection to Tristen Simmons, plus a two-point conversion with 2:58 left in the first period.
Despite three straight Northern Guilford turnovers in the second quarter (one fumble and two interceptions), the Spartans only capitalized on the second interception.
Brown threw his second TD pass, this one a 44-yard strike to Barfield with 54.7 seconds left. A failed 2-point conversion attempt left Southern ahead 13-8.
But that was too much time left for the Nighthawks.
A big runback by South Carolina recruit C.J. Freeman to the Southern 36, coupled with a personal foul penalty, put Northern Guilford at the 21. Freeman took care of the rest to put his team ahead 15-13 to close out the first half.
The Spartans scored the only points in the second half on their first possession traveling 95 yards in 12 plays that culminated in Brown’s 16-yard scamper for the go-ahead and winning score.