Havelock’s defense was pinned deep, with the game on the line, and just seconds left on the clock.
RALEIGH – Havelock’s defense was pinned deep, with the game on the line, and just seconds left on the clock.
They did what they’ve done all season – make a stop.
The Rams halted Concord at the 1-foot line as time expired to prevail 21-13 in Saturday’s 3A state championship at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh.
In the middle of nearly every Havelock tackle was senior Andrew Ramirez. The linebacker notched a game-high 19 tackles, had a tackle for a loss, a sack and a fumble recovery in the contest and was named as Havelock’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player.
“This is a blessing,” Ramirez said. “I thank God, I thank my teammates and I thank the best coaching staff in the nation. It’s an honor to win a third-straight championship.
“This should be a team defensive award because everyone did their job and executed.”
Ramirez and junior Anthony Fisher combined for 37 tackles, and the Rams forced a turnover and gave up 304 yards to Concord.
With the Spiders on the Havelock 5-yard line late in the third quarter, Ramirez scooped up a fumble and returned it 85 yards to the end zone. But a personal foul penalty negated the score, but still gave Havelock got the ball in Concord territory.
“I saw the quarterback fumble it, and I picked it up,” Ramirez said. “I was just telling my teammates to do their job. If we do our job and execute, we were going to have a third ring on our finger.”
Ramirez won his third-straight state championship game at Havelock. He finished the season with 139 tackles and two sacks.
Havelock’s defense, yielding just six points per game, gave up no more than 20 points to any opponent this season.
“I think it is because of our coaches,” Ramirez said. “The coaches pushed us really hard in the spring and summer and told us to do our job and get to the ball. Without them, we wouldn’t be the players we are today.”
Adam Thompson is the sports editor of the Sun Journal.