On their biggest stage ever, the Community School of Davidson Spartans staged one of their biggest comebacks ever.
It just wasn’t enough in a 30-27 loss to Robbinsville in the Class 1A West Region championship game at North Mecklenburg on Friday night.
Quarterback Luke Watts and wide receiver Holden Rizzo connected for three touchdown passes in the second quarter to erase almost all of a 24-0 deficit, and the Spartans took their only lead of the game on Joey Bernardini’s 30-yard touchdown run with 10:42 left in the game.
But the defending state champion Black Knights earned a return trip to the title game, going ahead with 7 minutes to play on Colby Hemphill’s 14-yard touchdown run and preserving the win with two late interceptions.
That ended a nine-game winning streak for Community School, whose last loss was to Davidson Day School on Sept. 18.
But they didn’t go down without a struggle. Robbinsville came out of a defensive-minded first quarter with an 8-0 lead on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Colton Millsaps to Lane Millsaps with 2:32 on the clock.
The following kickoff took an odd bounce off a Community School player, and the Black Knights recovered but fumbled at the Spartans 10. On the next play, Watts was tackled in his own end zone for a 10-0 Robbinsville lead.
The Black Knights got two more scores in quick succession after taking the free kick and were up 24-0 just 3 1/2 minutes into the second quarter.
But Community School battled back. On the next three possessions, Watts hit Rizzo for touchdowns – the first for 61 yards, the second a 6-yarder to end a quick drive from midfield, and the third a spectacular leaping grab in the end zone for a 30-yard scoring play with 1:46 left in the first half.
Records: Robbinsville 12-2; Community School 12-3
Worth mentioning: Rizzo finished the game with eight receptions for 139 yards. Bernardini led Community School in rushing with 147 yards on 22 carries … The Spartans, in their third year of interscholastic football, were trying to become the first charter school to advance to a NCHSAA state football championship game.
What’s Next: Robbinsville faces Plymouth at 4 p.m. Dec. 12 in Winston-Salem for the Class 1A state championship. Community School’s season is complete.