When Tarboro head coach Jeff Craddock was asked at Monday’s NCHSAA press conference, he conceded the advantage in kicking to his opponent in today’s 1AA state championship game — the Mount Airy Granite Bears and kicker Robert Brown.
“My kickers have done a good job on extra points, but their guy, booting 45-yard field goals, we can’t touch that,” Craddock said.
Brown’s final game in a Mount Airy uniform finds himself within striking distance of a few more career milestones.
The 5’8”, 165-pound senior comes into today’s game at Carter-Finley Stadium having made 43 straight extra points. In fact, Brown is 82-for-83 this season, with his only miss coming when South Stokes blocked a PAT against him on Oct. 13. If this had not occurred, he would be working on a streak of 98 in a row dating back to last season, which would be an all-time state record.
Brown is fourth all-time in NCHSAA history with 237 career extra points and will likely remain there. He is 10 behind Chris Tarnowski, who made 247 for Murphy High School between 2009 and 2012.
His current streak of 43 makes in a row is 15th all-time in the state record books. His first one on Saturday will tie him with the 44 in a row he made at one point last season. If the Bears scored seven touchdowns, as they did against Murphy last Friday, he could move into the top 10 all-time for the longest streak. Of course, the 54 in a row he made before the block against South Stokes this season is already eighth all-time.
Brown’s 327 career points, on 30 field goals and 237 PAT’s, ranks third all-time behind Tyler Lewis of Albemarle, who had 428 points from 2000-03, and Yahir Cano of Wallace-Rose Hill, who completed his career last year with 395 points.
His 30 career field goals are fifth in state history, and he has a chance to move up that list. Although he would need seven field goals today to catch all-time record holder Austin Herbert of Cary (1997-99), the others are within reach. B.J. Green of Northwest Guilford (1985-88) is fourth with 31, and Patrick Woods of Pine Forest (2010-13) is third at 32. Second all-time is Shon Rouser, who made 33 field goals for East Duplin between 1995 and 1998.
On Thursday, Brian Simmons, who does the Simmons Ratings used by NCPreps.com, issued his picks for the state championship games, and heavily favored a Tarboro win, predicting a 12-point victory for the Vikings today.
Last week, Simmons’ system chose Mount Airy as a seven-point favorite over Murphy and Tarboro by six over Edenton Holmes. Both teams exceeded those expectations, with the Bears winning 49-35 and the Vikings routing the Aces 50-7. His worst pick where he missed the winner was in choosing Shelby as a one-point favorite in the 2AA West final over Hibriten. Hibriten won the game 19-7.
Simmons rates Tarboro as the No. 1 1A team in the state, with a rating of 134.8. The Bears are third at 122.7, behind Edenton at 123.8. Mount Airy has beaten fifth-ranked Murphy and 10th-ranked East Surry this season, while Tarboro has defeated No. 2 Edenton and No. 9 West Montgomery.
MaxPreps’ power rating system doesn’t project winners, but in that system, Tarboro and Mount Airy are ranked 1-2 in the state’s 1A ranks. Interestingly, while MaxPreps rates the Bears as having played a better schedule, Simmons believes the Vikings’ foes have been superior.
CAN’T MAKE IT?
If you can’t make it to Raleigh but would still like to follow the game, there are options.
The game can be seen on WXLV/ABC (45.1) channel 1241 on local cable, including Mount Airy and the surounding area.
The NFHS Network is broadcasting the game online. Visit Mount Airy’s MaxPreps page and follow the link under the schedule, or visit www.nchsaa.org and follow the link to the NFHS broadcast. There may be a fee to watch the game in this manner.
In addition, the game will be on local radio, by tuning in either of WSYD 1300 and WPAQ 740 AM, or by streaming WPAQ online at www.wpaq740.com.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.