CHAPEL HILL -- Quarterback Nat Dunlap threw three touchdown passes and earned the Wendy's Most Valuable Player award as Albemarle downed Pender 21-7 on Friday night in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state 1-AA football championship at Kenan Stadium.
Dunlap only four passes in 10 attempts but three resulted in touchdowns, including two to Desi Dockery.
On Pender's first possession, the Patriots put together a monster 16-play, 91-yard drive that consumed 7:23 on the clock. Josh Johnson ran for 11 yards for the TD and Kelvin Portillo's PAT made it 7-0 at 2:37 of the first quarter.
After that 91-yard drive, though, the Bulldogs limited Pender to exactly 91 yards in total offense for the rest of the game.
Dunlap found Dillon Taylor for 40 yards and a score with 2:41 left in the first half to tie the score, and then Albemarle limited Pender to three and out and got the ball back after a short punt at the Patriot 38. Dunlap hit Dockery for the 38-yard scoring strike and Cory Dick added the second of his three points after to make it 14-7.
The final tally for the Bulldogs to put the game away came with 6:54 remaining, with Dunlap hitting Dockery in the right flat and then he dove to the pylon to complete the 21-yard scoring play.
Johnson led Pender with 116 yards on the ground in 21 attempts. Demetrius Hamilton was Albemarle's top rusher with 36 yards in 16 tries.
Albemarle finished the season 12-4 and won its fifth NCHSAA state championship since 2001. Pender, in the finals for the first time, ended at 12-3.
Post-game awards: Pender, Outstanding Offensive Player RB Josh Johnson; Outstanding Defensive Player DB Javon Powell; Albemarle--Outstanding Offensive Player SE Desi Dockery; Outstanding Defensive Player LB Freddie Parker; Wendy's MVP, Albemarle QB Nat Dunlap.