By Melissa Meador/Monroe Journal
CHARLESTON – Aberdeen saw its season come to an end again just shy of the 3A North state final at the hands of a familiar foe, defending state champion Charleston.
The Tigers (13-1) forced five Aberdeen turnovers and scored 30 points off them to beat the Bulldogs 49-22 and end their season for the second year in a row.
“They are that good. They lined up and dominated us offensively and defensively,” Aberdeen coach Mark Bray said. “When you turn the ball over like we did, you let the other team get a lot of quick points.”
Aberdeen’s first turnover, a fumble by Jeremy Brandon, gave the Tigers the ball at the Bulldogs’ 28. Ge’Vonte Jones punched the ball in from 3 yards out four plays later, and Kameron Myers threw a 2-point conversion pass for an 8-0 lead. Myers found the end zone on a 2-yard run of his own on Charleston’s next possession.
“Aberdeen has a great program over there. We’re just trying to establish ourselves as one of the elite programs in 3A football,” Charleston coach Tony Vance said.
Aberdeen QB Josh Williams responded on the next drive, finding Sammie Burroughs for a 71-yard pass to get deep in Charleston territory and then connecting with Justin Lucas for a 16-yard scoring play and Trey Mims on the two-point conversion to get within 16-8.
Charleston closed out the half with 20 unanswered points and two interceptions of Williams. Jones added scoring runs of 52 and 20 yards, while Myers’ 5-yard keeper gave the Tigers a 36-8 lead.
Aberdeen (11-3) closed out the half with a quick scoring drive that ended when Williams connected with McMillian for a 31-yard TD throw.
Another two Aberdeen turnovers led to Charleston scores in the fourth quarter. Myers connected with Jamal Short on a 19-yard TD after Williams’ third pick, and a Bulldogs’ fumble led to Jones’ fourth TD run.
Charleston will play Cleveland East Side in the North state championship game next Friday.
“I told our seniors to be proud, that no group was going to win as much as they have,” Bray said. “They’ve made it to the state title game twice, and there’s no telling how many games they’ve won. They have no reason to duck their heads.”