A look at the state playoff history of Hibriten High:
Total playoff bids: 20.
Overall postseason record: 30-18.
Home postseason record: 24-7.
Road postseason record: 6-11.
BY SEASON (head coach)
1979 3A (Ted Luckadoo): Lost in semifinals
1983 3A Division II (Ted Luckadoo): Lost in second round
1995 2A (Randy Baldwin): Lost in second round
1997 2A (Donnie Kiefer): Lost in round one
2002 2AA (Chuck Cannon): Lost in second round
2003 2AA (Chuck Cannon): Lost in semifinals
2004 2AA (Chuck Cannon): Lost in second round
2005 2AA (Chuck Cannon): Lost in first round
2006 2AA (Chuck Cannon): Lost in first round
2007 2AA (Chuck Cannon): Lost in second round
2008 2AA (Chuck Cannon): Lost in third round
2009 3A (Chuck Cannon): Lost in third round
2010 3A (Clay Lewis): Lost in semifinals
2011 3A (Clay Lewis): Lost in first round (received forfeit from Hickory after playoffs)
2012 3A (Clay Lewis): Lost in first round
2013 3A (Clay Lewis): Lost in third round
2014 3A (Clay Lewis): Lost in first round
2015 3A (Clay Lewis): Lost in third round
2016 3A (Clay Lewis): Lost in semifinals
2017 2AA (Clay Lewis): Won state title
SOURCE: research, files.

CHAPEL HILL – Hibriten High finished unbeaten, knocking off East Duplin 16-14 on Saturday in the state 2AA title game at North Carolina to become the first state prep football champion from Caldwell County (see graphic below).


In a battle of teams both nicknamed Panthers, Hibriten (West No. 2 seed) won to finish 16-0 under head coach Clay Lewis by using a bend-but-don’t-break defense and an outstanding performance on special teams.

East Duplin, the East No. 1 seed, finished 15-1.

Hibriten had to erase an early deficit at UNC’s Kenan Stadium, falling behind 7-0 when East Duplin’s Melvin Scott scored on an 81-yard TD with a bit more than eight minutes to play in the first quarter.

Scott was named East Duplin’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player after finishing with 108 rushing yards on three carries.

The teams trade possessions uneventfully until East Duplin intercepted a pass at its 2 early in the second quarter. On the next play from scrimmage, Chris Benson was nabbed for a 2-yard loss and a safety, cutting East Duplin’s lead to 7-2.

After a free kick, Hibriten used a halfback pass from McKinley Witherspoon to a wide-open Miles Simon to take a 9-7 lead with 9:26 left in the first half.

Later in the quarter, Simon hauled in a 43-yard pass from quarterback Jaylen Scott for another TD to extend Hibriten’s lead to 16-7 with 1:53 to go in the half.

Simon was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, hauling in two passes for 96 yards and two scores.

East Duplin made a last push, driving 99 yards on 20 plays in the fourth quarter. The drive was capped by a 1-yard TD run by Benson to make it 16-14.

Despite outgaining Hibriten 359-190 yards, East Duplin just couldn’t overcome the tough field position it found itself in most of the day.

Hibriten punter Noah Haney, who punted six times, averaged 46 yards per punt to keep East Duplin on its side of the field most of the night. Five of his punts were downed inside the 20 and three of those were inside the 10.

Haney was named Hibriten’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player.

The Defensive Award for Most Outstanding Player for Hibriten went to Charles Tassinari, who had 16 tackles, including an assist on a tackle for loss.

East Duplin’s most outstanding player defensively was Amaru Herring, who registered 10 tackles that included three for lost yardage.


On Saturday, Hibriten became the first of the current three high schools in Caldwell County to win a state football championship.
Here’s a look at the deepest penetration into the state playoffs by Hibriten, South Caldwell and West Caldwell:
School   Yr      Round             Result
Hibriten  ’17  Final 2AA      Hib 16, E. Duplin 14
Hibriten ’16   Semifinal 3A SPoint 26, Hibriten 0
Hibriten ’03  Semifnal 2AA Bandys 20, Hib 13
W. Cald ’87   Semifinal 3A    Shelby 16, WC 13
Hibriten ’79   Semifinal 3A   SPoint 28, Hib 20
S. Cald    ’77     Final 3A     W. Guilford 26, SC 20
SOURCE: research, files.

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