Robbinsville – For the first time since 2015, Robbinsville is heading to the state finals.
The Black Knights (14-0) defeated the visiting Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy Gryphons (12-2) to win the 1A Western Regional Championship Friday night, 28-14. The victory ensured that a Smoky Mountain Conference team will appear in every 1A state title game of the decade.
"Win and advance; isn't that the plan?," said Robbinsville head coach Dee Walsh. "Hey, we took care of business. Great kids and great coaches; I'm lucky to be around them."
A scoreless first-half gave way to a busy second half. Robbinsville broke the drought with a 9-yard pass from Nathan Collins to Lex Hooper with 4:03 left in the third quarter.
Thomas Jefferson would tie it 7-7 on the next drive, but a 22-yard run from Rylee Anderson would quickly swing the pendulum back in the Knights' favor. Anderson would go on to score twice more down the stretch.
Robbinsville will now face Northampton County in the 1A state championship Saturday. The Jaguars defeated North Edgecombe 20-12 Friday to advance to the program's first-ever state title game.
A full recap of tonight's action will appear in the Dec. 12 edition of The Graham Star.