Rocky Mount pulled off an improbable 34-33 upset of Havelock in triple overtime on Friday night to advance to the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A championship game.
The improbable part came before the overtime sessions began.
Rocky Mount’s defense stopped Havelock on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line with 32 seconds remaining. That meant the Gryphons had to go 99 yards with no timeouts and down 17-10.
They pulled it off with a 99-yard touchdown pass from Shabios Lynch to wide receiver Detrell Revis. Chase Miller’s extra point forced overtime at 17-17.
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“I got our guys together and said we can’t give up,” senior linebacker Rodquon White said. “We had to stay tight. Our coach (Jason Battle) told us before the game the physical team was going to win. We had to stay tough.”
The teams traded touchdowns in the first overtime and field goals in the second.
In the third OT session, Havelock scored first, but the extra-point kick was wide left.
On first down of Rocky Mount’s possession, Sherrod Green broke off right tackle for a 10-yard touchdown. Chase Miller split the uprights for the winning extra point.
How improbable was this comeback? When Revis caught a pass 25 yards downfield and out-ran the defense, his 99 yards of offense topped the 95 yards of total offense the Gryphons had totaled to that point.
The game was a defense struggle, with both teams scoring a defensive touchdown.
Rocky Mount took leads of 3-0 on Miller’s 23-yard field goal in the first quarter and 10-7 at halftime on Shyheim Battle’s 22-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Havelock tied the score in the third period on Christian Hoomana’s 24-yard field goal.
The Rams appeared to clinch the game with 5 minutes left on a 1-yard fumble return for a touchdown. Havelock downed a punt on the 1-yard line. On first down, Destin Floyd, a 6-foot, 270-pound defensive lineman, picked up the fumble and ran into the end zone with the ball held above his head for a 17-10 lead.
The lead seemed insurmountable the way Havelock’s defense was shutting down Rocky Mount, but that was before Battle put Revis in for his only offensive snap of the night. The starting safety came out of the slot and split the two safeties.
He caught the ball at the hash marks, broke into a sprint and zig-zagged to the sideline to elude two Havelock defensive backs desperately pursuing him.