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Richmond County Rushes Past Garner For 4-A Title

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CHAPEL HILL-AP — Marcus Ellerbe rushed for 198 yards and four touchdowns to lead Richmond County to its second straight state 4-A championship Saturday with a 36-6 victory over Garner.

"It was there for the taking," Ellerbe said. "They acted like they didn't want to tackle in the beginning, so we took advantage of it."

The Raiders, who have won 31 straight games, took home their sixth state football championship in their seventh title-game appearance since 1976.

Garner, which finished the season at 15 and one, mustered only 190 yards after taking a 6-nothing lead on the game's opening drive. Marcus Bland capped Garner's 63-yard march with a 30-yard touchdown run just three minutes into the game. But Jerry Sealey missed the extra-point kick, and it was all downhill from there.

Garner mustered only eight yards and one first down in the opening half after its initial drive.

"What a great job Daryl Barnes and his staff do, year in and year out, game in and game out," says Hal Stewart, Garner's head coach. "With every game they play, everyone's rooting for them."

Garner trailed 21-6 at the half but drove to the Richmond County nine early in the third quarter.

But on first-and-goal, Garner quarterback Brad Gullie was intercepted by defensive back Aaron Sykes. Richmond took over at the seven, and on first down, Ellerbe found a hole on the right and sprinted 93 yards for a touchdown, the longest rushing play ever in a state title game at Kenan Stadium.

Jason Ratliff had a short touchdown run three minutes later to finish off the Trojans.

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