Pharoh Cooper read the eyes of Concord quarterback B.J. Beecher. The South Carolina commit stepped in front of the pass and dashed 87 yards for a touchdown.
Havelock’s senior stepped up at the right time.
The Rams fell behind 13-7 when Cooper took the interception back for a go-ahead score.
Havelock pulled away for a 55-21 win over Concord in the 3A state championship game in Winston-Salem.
Saturday’s championship game won’t be the only time Cooper and Beecher will see each other on the football field.
They will be teammates at the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, along with Havelock’s A.J. Coplon, on Dec. 15.
“It was a great feeling to play against a future teammate,” Cooper said. “It was even better that we all had an impact on the state championship game.”
Cooper was the game’s Most Valuable Player. He ran for 81 yards and a touchdown, and threw for two others, and had the big interception return.
Beecher, Concord’s Outstanding Offensive Player, threw for 267 yards and three scores.
Coplon, the Rams’ speedy defensive back, had his game-changing moment. On Concord’s opening drive of the second half, Coplon scooped up a fumble and returned the ball 61 yards for a touchdown, giving Havelock a 28-21 lead.
The Rams never relinquished the lead.
“That was a momentum-changer,” Cooper said. “It was a big play in the game. The ball was ripped out by a group of players. A.J. picked it up and scored.”
Beecher, a 6-foot-7 quarterback for Concord, guided the Spiders to a 21-20 halftime edge.
The upset-minded Beecher completed 13-of-19 passes for 189 yards with three touchdown in the first half.
The Spiders scored on a 30-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-long in the second quarter. Beecher completed a pass to Alex Asbury, who tossed the ball to Zoch Heilig to finish the hook-and-lateral.
Beecher gave Concord a 13-7 lead with a 37-yard scoring pass to running back Rocky Reid.
Following Cooper’s interception, Beecher completed a 21-yard touchdown pass to Jerry Burk.
Cooper ran for a score, returned an interception for a touchdown and hit Harry Caldwell for an 11-yard score just seconds before halftime.
With Cooper, Coplon and Beecher on the same team in the Shrine Bowl, North Carolina will have a talented trio.