Playing as Vance High School for the final time, Vance High School beat Rolesville 35-14 -- and the Cougars became a repeat state champion for the first time.
Vance will change its name to Julius Chambers this summer, dropping the name of a former Confederate military officer to that of civil rights leader.
In their quest to repeat, the Cougars players had created a social media hashtag, #TheLastVance, as inspiration.
But early on, with a chance to finish the season the way it wanted, Vance kept getting its own way, with penalties and poor execution.
The Cougars found themselves down 14-13 in the second quarter. But after that, Vance found its finishing kick and put away a stubborn Rolesville team, which was playing with an injured junior quarterback Byrum Brown.
After being down 1, Vance scored on three of its next five possessions, ultimately taking a 35-14 lead late in the third quarter.
For the game, Vance had 24 penalties for 187 yards. Rolesville got minus 16 yards rushing and 67 yards total
In the first half, Vance outplayed Rolesville — so long as the Cougars weren’t hurting themselves with penalties.
Vance had nine penalties for 65 yards in the first seven minutes. Worse, during that span, the Cougars had a turnover on a failed punt return that gave Rolesville the ball on the Vance 24. It took Rolesville four plays to tie the score at 7, when QB Byrum Brown hit Noah Rogers with a 6-yard pass.
Vance’s penalty issues continued, and although the Cougars outgained Rolesville 268-63 in the first half, Vance’s 17 penalties for 121 yards kept the Cougars from pushing away on the scoreboard.
Rolesville sophomore Noah Rogers also had something to do with that. He had two touchdown catches, one of which briefly gave his team a 14-13 lead.
On Vance’s final possession of the first half, the Cougars stayed penalty free and drove 80 yards in 12 plays. Sophomore Daylan Smothers scored on a 8-yard run.
Asauni Allen ran in for a two-point conversion but it, too, was called back by penalty. Vance had to settle for a 30-yard PAT from Melvin Benitez that just passed over the goal posts -- and a 20-14 halftime lead.
Vance 7 13 15
Rolesville 7 7 0
V: Armon Wright 59 pass from Austin Grier (Melvin Benitez kick)
R: Noah Rogers 13 pass from Byrum Brown (Devin Versteegen kick)
V: KC Concepcion 14 pass from Austin Grier (kick failed)
R: Noah Rogers 6 pass from Brown (Versteegen kick)
V: Daylan Smothers 8 run (Benitez kick)
V: Asauni Allen 26 pass from Grier (Benitez kick)
V: Allen 43 run (Smothers run)