NOTE: Game times are 7:30 p.m.
Fayetteville Britt (12-2) at Garner (14-0)
Britt stopped a prolific Garner running game in the 2011 4AA semifinal game, but Vince Jefferies passed for 268 yards to help the Trojans take a 31-27 victory.
Garner coach Nelson Smith said the Trojans need to run the ball better this time after the Buccaneers held the Trojans to less than 100 yards on the ground last year.
The Trojans attack is led by running back Raevon Smith (1,612 yards), Jefferies (2,052 passing yards) and Amani Lanier (1,167 receiving yards).
The Garner defense will be tested by Britt wide receiver Jalen McDaniel, an N.C. State recruit and one of the stars in the Buccaneers 56-52 win over Richmond County last week with 178 yards in receptions.
Britts Mark McRae has passed for 1,875 yards, and Marquis Foshee and Eric Carter are both 1,000-yard rushers. Dylan Clayton is a standout on the Bucs defense.
Britts losses were to 4A semifinalist Scotland, 32-6, and to Fayetteville Smith, 37-20.
Scotland Co. (12-1) at New Bern (13-0)
Scotland was the undefeated 4A state champion in 2011 and has been a powerful club this season. Sophomore quarterback Jaylend Ratcliffe is a 1,000-yard rusher and 1,000-yard passer.
The Scots loss was 21-16 to New Hanover, and Scotland claimed the Southeastern 4A title by nipping Richmond, 21-14, on the last night of the regular season. They held off Fayetteville Smith 35-28 last week.
New Berns only close call was a 34-33 win over Havelock, which is playing in the 3A East finals.
The Bears Josh Taylor has passed for 2,300 yards and rushed for another 1,200. Jac Watkins has run for 1,300 yards. The Bears average 44.8 points and allow 14.1.
Wilson Hunt (13-0) at N. Guilford (13-0)
Northern Guilford is led by T.J. Logan, a University of North Carolina recruit who rushed for five touchdowns, caught a touchdown pass and intercepted two passes in a 49-14 win over Southern Guilford.
Logan has rushed for 2,434 yards and 36 touchdowns and has caught five TD passes.
Hunt is led by defensive lineman Lewis Neal (6-4, 235), who has committed to LSU, and 2,000-yard rusher Josh Joyner.
Orange (11-2) at Havelock (13-1)
Orange losses were by a touchdown to Cardinal Gibbons and Carrboro and both are pretty far in the rearview mirror now. The Panthers claimed a 14-13 win over Eastern Alamance last week and are anticipating another great defensive effort against Havelock, the 2011 undefeated 3A state champion.
Versatile Pharaoh Cooper, a South Carolina commitment, leads the Rams. Cooper can hurt teams in several ways. In a 67-13 win over West Carteret earlier this year, he threw four touchdown passes, ran for two touchdowns and returned a punt for a touchdown.
Carrboro (13-0) at Jacksonville Northside (14-0)
Carrboro has developed a versatile, balanced offense featuring the passing of Alex McVeigh (2,105 yards, 23 TDs) and the running of sophomore Trai Sharp (2,244 yards). Last week, the Jaguars defense was huge in a 20-16 win over Reidsville.
Northside also is undefeated and has been extended twice, beating Jacksonville 12-0 and East Duplin 21-14.
South Columbus (12-2) at Tarboro (13-0)
Tarboro, the 2011 state champion, really has not been seriously challenged this season, and especially not in the playoffs where it has won by an average of 34 points.
Defensive end Tyquan Lewis (6-4, 225) is one of the best players in the state. He is committed to Ohio State.
South Columbus has had closer playoff wins, stopping Clinton, 31-20, South Granville, 21-15 and avenging a regular-season loss to East Bladen, 24-14. The Stallions other regular-season loss was to 4A Wilmington Hoggard, 38-0.
Southwest Onslow (12-1) at Warsaw Kenan (13-0)
James Kenan was 7-5 in 2011 but has ridden its defense to an undefeated season. The Tigers average 26.5 points but in its biggest games have been stingy. Coach Ken Avents club allows 10.8 points per game, has recorded five shutouts and held four other teams to two touchdowns or less.
Southwest Onslow is formidable as well. The Stallions only loss was to Jacksonville, 21-14. Jacksonville finished 8-5 in the Coastal 3A
Princeton (6-7) at Plymouth (13-1)
Every year, as predictably as Old Faithful, there are complaints when the football playoff pairings are announced. Whats a three-win team doing in the playoffs?
In Princetons case, its advancing to the Eastern final.
The Bulldogs were expected to bow out quickly after being paired against North Duplin, a team that had battered Princeton during the regular season. But Princeton won, 28-21.
Princeton rolled over North Edgecombe 43-12 in the second round and topped rival Rosewood last week, 27-7.
Johnny Frazier has led the late-season improvement and has rushed for 1,500 yards this season.
But Plymouth is the toughest team Princeton has faced this year. The Vikings average 49 points and have scored 48 or more 10 times.
2011 NCHSAA Finals
4AA: Greensboro Page 35, Garner 21
4A: Scotland County 42, Porter Ridge 16
3AA: Northern Guilford 31, Shelby Crest 7
3A: Havelock 38, West Rowan 6
2AA: West Stokes 21, Kinston 14
2A: Tarboro 39, Lincolnton 36
1AA: Swain County 20, Ayden-Grifton 14
1A: Murphy 21, Jones Senior 6