A funny thing happened after the December 2022 gridiron battle over who would be state 4-A high school football champion.
Greensboro’s Grimsley High School lost the game to New Bern, 40-28 in the state championship. However, as all sports fans know, it ain’t over till it’s over.
And, in fact, the game wasn’t quite over even nearly a year after it was “over” and a winner had been decided.
Earlier this month, the North Carolina High Schools Athletics Association – which had been investigating the New Bern football team for improprieties – determined that all of the team’s wins had to be taken off the books if a player shouldn’t have been playing due to academic ineligibility. That meant the team had to vacate the school’s 2022 state championship.
One might think that would automatically make Grimsley state champions for 2022 – but one would be wrong in thinking that. Actually, what happens in this situation is that the association declares the title for that year as “vacated” – meaning, of course, there just would not be a 4-A football champion that year.
But that’s going to change if Guilford County Commissioner Pat Tillman gets his way. He spoke about the matter at a Thursday, Oct. 5 meeting of the Guilford County commissioners just days after the news broke that New Bern had to vacate the title.
“I’m working on a resolution to honor our team,” he said, adding that the state athletic association might not declare Grimsley the 2022 champions, but they can’t stop Guilford County from doing it.
“We’re going to declare that Grimsley is.” he said.
“We’re Guilford. They’re the state,” he added, noting that the state can say what it thinks – but so can Guilford County.
Tillman said after the meeting that he hopes to go further than just presenting and passing the county resolution essentially declaring Grimsley state champions. He said he also intends to speak to some state legislators to see if he can get some traction on officially making Grimsley the state champion for 2022 and get the team the recognition and honor it deserves.