Nobody was expecting this.
But Southern Durham wound up on the wrong side of a sizzling hot opponent in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3AA football championship game.
Crest tailback Tre Harbison scored seven touchdowns and rushed for 295 yards as defending champion Crest, out of Boiling Springs, brushed away the Spartans 55-21 on Saturday at Kenan Stadium.
The result avenged the Spartans’ 38-31 win two years ago over the Chargers, who ripped Havelock in a 28-3 shocker in 2014.
The Spartans’ three regular-season losses were by a combined four points, and the time they gave up 31 to Cardinal Gibbons back on Aug. 28 they won by five points.
“We knew we had to stop Tre Harbison and we couldn’t give him a lane, and when we gave him a lane, you see what happens,” Southern coach Darius Robinson said. “We knew if we stopped him we could put them in a situation where they would have to do something they didn’t do well, which was passing.
“I think (Spartan quarterback Jordon Brown) responded well, but some of the quarterback intangibles that you need at this point of the season, you could tell he was missing (those). But as far as him stepping up and sacrificing his skill set to help the team, he did a great job with a short time to make those adjustments.”
Harbison is graduating early from high school and headed to the University of Virginia in January.
Harbison, who rushed for 128 yards and two TDs against the Spartans as a sophomore, may be a dominant back but Southern players said he had plenty of help from his buddies in the trenches.
“Their offensive line got a great push,” Southern cornerback Kaleb Barfield said. “They may not have had a better game plan than anyone we played, but better execution. They did what they wanted to do and we couldn’t throw them off track. That is a huge offensive line, and the biggest we’ve seen all year.”
Jaleel Scroggins, who plays linebacker and secondary for the Spartans, said the Chargers were more physically dominant than any previous Spartan opponent.
“We were just outflanked a lot and outmanned on one side of the field,” said Scroggins, who was named the Spartans’ defensive player of the day. “Their linemen always play to the whistle, and that’s one of the first teams that had done that to us. We just needed to step up. They were just more physical than us on the front line and it traveled to the second and third level. They found gaps and made big runs.”
Brown, who will play for UNC as an “athlete,” took over at quarterback when Jalen Greene was injured two weeks ago at Cleveland.
Brown was named the Spartans’ offensive player of the game with 249 yards total offense, two passing touchdowns and a rushing TD.
“We just couldn’t really get a rhythm on offense other than a couple of drives,” Brown said. “We just couldn’t really stop them from getting big plays and couldn’t get many of our own.”