Mount Tabor tops Cleveland for 3-AA football title

by | May 7, 2021 | News & Features

Nick Roccia of Cleveland catches a 30-yard touchdown pass.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/Paul Burgett)

CHAPEL HILL — Lance Patterson was a man on a mission. The junior wide receiver and defensive back from Mount Tabor was always around the football, offensively and defensively, leading the Spartans past Cleveland 24-16 on his way to being named the 3-AA football championship Most Valuable Player as Mount Tabor claimed the school’s first football state championship.

Patterson broke the ice early at UNC’s Kenan Stadium as Tyress McIntyre found him wide open for a 70-yard scoring strike with 6:55 left in the first quarter to put Mount Tabor in front 7-0. The touchdown catch was one of three total touchdowns on the night for Patterson, who also scored on a 7-yard run late in the second quarter to put the Spartans in front 14-7 at halftime. McIntyre was selected as the Most Outstanding Offensive Player of the game for the Spartans, throwing for 164 yards and a score while rushing for 21 yards.

Patterson was outstanding defensively as well, scooping up a Cleveland fumble on the opening possession of the second half and sprinting 31 yards for a touchdown to put the Spartans in front 21-7. As Cleveland began to mount a drive to answer the score, Patterson came up with a huge interception down the right sideline.

After bringing pressure on a punt from the end zone with 3:58 to go in the game, Cleveland earned a safety, cutting the Tabor lead to 24-16. The Rams took the ensuing possession down the field into the red zone before the drive stalled out, turning the ball over on downs to the Spartans and essentially ending Cleveland chances for a comeback. Jamari Slade led the Mount Tabor defense, picking up four tackles and two of them for a loss on his way to being named the Most Outstanding Defensive Player for the Spartans.

Cleveland kept the game close with the Rams defense coming up with several stops deep in their own territory in the first half that could have put the game out of reach. Deonte Lewis was a leader defensively for Cleveland, racking up five total tackles, including 3.5 for a loss. He was named the Most Outstanding Player defensively for Cleveland.

Skyler Locklear did his best to keep Cleveland in touch with the Spartans, as the junior quarterback tossed for 189 yards and a score. Locklear added 18 yards on the ground and extended several plays, making tough throws in traffic to the sideline. He was named the Most Outstanding Offensive Player of the game for the Rams.

Locklear did not have both touchdown passes for Cleveland, as he was knocked from the game when his helmet came off on a first down scramble in the red zone. Then on second down from the Spartan 18, the Rams went to the Wildcat package and freshman Cameron Goins came in, tossing a fade route into the corner to Carter Griffith, who made a great contested catch to tie the game at 7 with 8:05 to go in the first half.

Cleveland wrapped up the season 10-1. The Rams were 5-0 in Greater Neuse 3-A play, winning the conference championship. The Rams secured the school’s first regional football championship.

Mount Tabor finished the season 11-0. The Spartans were 5-0 in Piedmont Triad 3-A play, winning the conference championship. They were Regional Champions for the third time in program history and the first time since 2007.

The 2020-2021 3-AA Sportsmanship Award recipients were Kaden Hall from Cleveland and Javouse Chambers from Mount Tabor.

(NCHSAA media services provided the basis for this report)

Keyshawn Monk (2) blocks a Mount Tabor field goal attempt.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/Paul Burgett)

Freshman Cameron Goins runs for the Rams.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/Paul Burgett)

Lance Peterson returns a fumble 31 yards for a Mount Tabor touchdown.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/Paul Burgett)

Deontae Lewis (17) gets a sack for Cleveland on Thursday night.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/Paul Burgett)

Cleveland quarterback Skyler Locklear runs for a first down.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/Paul Burgett)

Isaac Piatek (7) carries for a first down for the Rams at Kenan Stadium.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/Paul Burgett)

Jaylin Hill and Trey Robinson (40) combine for a sack for Cleveland.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/Paul Burgett)

Cameron Goins goes to the air for a second-quarter score.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/Paul Burgett)

Carter Griffith has a TD reception for Cleveland in the 3-AA final.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/Paul Burgett)

This sack by Dillon Pardue led to a punt by the Spartans.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/Paul Burgett)

Defensive pressure by Trey Robinson (40) led to an incomplete pass.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/Paul Burgett)

The Rams take the field at Kenan Stadium on Thursday night.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/Paul Burgett)

Cleveland football personnel with postgame awards,
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/Paul Burgett)

Skyler Locklear (left) and Deonte Lewis with awards.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/Paul Burgett)

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