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Eagles fall short in championship bid

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The Northeastern High School Eagles accept the runner-up trophy following their 31-28 loss to Reidsville High School in the NCHSAA 2A football championship at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh on Saturday.

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By Malcolm Shields
Sports Editor

Saturday, December 15, 2018

RALEIGH — The Northeastern High School Eagles fell a field goal short of capturing their first-ever east-west state football championship.

The Eagles lost to Reidsville High School 31-28 Saturday afternoon at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2A state championship game at Carter-Finley Stadium.

With the win Reidsville, which finished the season 16-0, captured its 20th state championship.

Northeastern, which was making its fourth appearance in a state championship game, its first since 2010, had a large following of fans from Elizabeth City and the northeast part of the state in the stands.

“I never imagined at the beginning of the year that I would be here talking to you guys,” Northeastern coach Antonio Moore said in the post-game press conference to reporters. “We’ve been through a lot of adversity.”

The Northeastern coach noted that the Eagles, who finished the season 14-1, were without standout senior defensive end Jorell Baum who had a meniscus injury to his knee. He returned late in the season during the state playoffs.

Traveon Freshwater, a senior, missed three games this season due to injury.

“It’s a joy to be here and the younger guys stepped up,” Moore said.

Even in the loss, Moore was appreciative of the support the Eagles had at Carter-Finley Stadium.

“We had the best send-off I have ever seen,” he said.

Students, teachers and fans lined up in front of Northeastern High School Friday morning to send off the team bus to Raleigh.

Moore quipped that he cried for some time, but he didn’t want his players to see the tears.

“It was a great send-off and they showed up,” Moore said. “We wanted this win for the city. It didn’t work out that way. Maybe we will get another opportunity.”

Northeastern concludes its season as the Northeastern Coastal Conference champion for the sixth consecutive season to go with its first regional championship since 2010.

Some Eagles fans who tried to watch the free online stream of the game on WCTI12.com Saturday were unable to tune in.

The station, which is based in New Bern and owned by Sinclair Broadcasting Group, said in a statement during the first half on Twitter: “Due to an unspecified technical issue, we currently are not able to broadcast the Northeastern-Reidsville football game online at http://WCTI12.com/watch. We are working to resolve the issue and apologize for the problem.”

A spokesperson from the NCHSAA told The Daily Advance Thursday that Sinclair, which holds the rights to NCHSAA state championship games in football, boys basketball and girls basketball, was unable to get clearance to broadcast the game on television on WTVZ 33 in Norfolk, Virginia. 

WTVZ is the closest Sinclair station to Elizabeth City and most of northeast North Carolina. WTVZ is carried on most cable and satellite operators in the region.

Viewers were encouraged to watch the game on WCTI’s website or via paid subscription on the NFHS Network website. 

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