DENVER, N.C. — East Lincoln High School punched its ticket to the 2AA state championship game Friday, defeating Franklin 31-21.
The Mustangs started the night in a good way, forcing the Panthers to punt on their opening drive. East Lincoln then drove the length of the field to take a 7-0 lead with just over eight minutes remaining in the first quarter. East held steady at 7-0 before another touchdown made it 14-0 early in the second quarter.
Franklin’s offense found its groove in the second quarter, rallying back to tie the game at 14-all with less than a minute remaining in the first half. The deadlock didn’t last long, as East Lincoln found the endzone with 18 seconds left before the break, taking a 21-14 lead into the locker.
The second half was tightly contested as well, with Franklin tying the game at 21 at the end of the third quarter. East Lincoln’s defense put the clamp on Franklin in the fourth, not allowing the Panthers to get back on the board. The Mustangs iced the game with a touchdown to make it 31-21 with just over one minute remaining in the fourth quarter.