Middle Creek’s great football season came to an end Friday night as too many mistakes helped Greensboro’s Page High move on to the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4AA championship game on Saturday, Dec. 12 with a 49-23 win.
The Mustangs (14-1) got off to a nightmare start with three turnovers in the first five minutes of the game that led to a quick 14-0 deficit to a Page team that has rolled through the playoffs.
Page, which has five state championships in school history and last appeared in the state finals in 2011, was seeded sixth in the East and chalked up a home win against Lumberton, a win at the AP’s No. 1 team, Wake Forest, then a home win against powerhouse Richmond County and now No. 1 seed Middle Creek.
Middle Creek tried to stay in the game, pulling to within 28-17 late in the third quarter, but Page continued to score behind quarterback Will Jones (16 of 21 for 220 yards passing), running back Javon Leake (188 yards rushing, five touchdowns), and a talented receiving corps led by highly-rated 6-foot-5 Diondre Overton (6 catches, 77 yards), who also had three interceptions.
Page’s first scoring drive came after an interception and went just eight yards, with Leake scoring from the 5. Leake also scored the second touchdown on a 32-yard run just one play after a Middle Creek fumble.
At halftime, the Mustangs had just 57 yards and trailed 21-10. Mustang Johnathan Spencer, who also had a 65-yard punt return, returned a kickoff 93 yards to the 2-yard line, setting up a 2-yard touchdown run by DeAndre Jones. Jared Shea added a 36-yard field goal for the Mustangs.
In the third quarter, Middle Creek quarterback Dominique Shoffner tossed a 24-yard touchdown pass to Dareke Young to cut the margin to 28-17.
After Page put the game away with two quick scores to open the fourth period, Shoffner added a 28-yard touchdown pass to Shammond Hicks for the Mustangs’ finals points of the season.
With Middle Creek’s loss, Wake County is denied a team in football championship for first time since 2012 when Fayetteville’s Jack Britt beat Garner 14-8 in the 4AA East final.
Wake County teams have played in all but two of the state’s 4AA football titles since 2010, when Wake Forest made its first trip.