Three games pairing teams in The News & Observer rankings highlight Friday night’s high school football action. All three are conference games.
Undefeated and top-ranked Wake Forest is at home against No. 9 Millbrook in the Cap Eight 4A, while No. 13 Clayton travels to No. 6 Knightdale for a Greater Neuse showdown. No. 12 Green Hope goes to Middle Creek in the tight Southwest Wake.
No. 9 Millbrook (4-1) at No. 1 Wake Forest (5-0)
Two of the area’s top defenses square off in a key Cap Eight 4A showdown. Wake Forest is among the leaders in rushing and Millbrook allows 109.6 rushing yards per game. The Wildcats have been getting strong play from defensive ends Dillon Dawkins and Sam Blue, lineman Naquan Bryant and linebackers James Smith-Williams and Julian Williams.
Wake Forest’s offense is keyed by junior runner Bryce Love, who has run for 10 touchdowns and averages 144.6 yards per game and 13.6 yards per carry.
Northern Vance (0-5) at No. 2 Orange (5-0)
Orange’s defense is outstanding. Coach Pat Moser’s club has two shutouts and held two other opponents to 15 points or less. Northern Vance has been outscored 95-14 in its past two games.
No. 3 Wakefield (5-0) at Enloe (0-5)
Wakefield’s Evan Brabrand is among the area leaders with 269.2 passing yards per game and has thrown 14 touchdown passes. The Wolverines average 37.4 points, but had to rally last week to take a 34-27 win against Sanderson. Enloe has struggled since falling to Durham Jordan 21-20 in its first game.
No. 4 Panther Creek (4-1) at Cary (2-3)
Panther Creek has won four straight games handily since dropping its opener 28-14 to top-ranked Wake Forest. Cary has moved the ball in every game and is coming off a 20-16 loss to Green Hope.
No. 5 Heritage (4-1) at Sanderson (2-3)
Heritage’s only loss was a surprisingly lopsided 44-0 game against Panther Creek. Heritage’s defense was sparkling in last week’s 30-7 win against Leesville Road. Sanderson’s three losses are by a total of 19 points.
No. 13 Clayton (4-1) at No. 6 Knightdale (4-1), 7
Knightdale allows 72.4 rushing yards per game and Clayton rushes for 272.5 yards per game so something has to give in this Greater Neuse 4A game. No one has scored more than 23 points on the Knights.
No. 12 Green Hope (2-3) at No. 7 Middle Creek (3-2), 7:30
Middle Creek is exceptionally strong against the run, but Green Hope is a passing team. The Falcons’ Luke Massei has thrown for 1,571 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Chapel Hill (2-3) at No. 11 Southern Durham (3-2), 7
Southern Durham’s two losses came against Durham Hillside and Scotland County. The Spartans have averaged 54 points in their three wins. Southern QB Kendal Hinton has passed for 1,062 yards and 12 touchdowns. Chapel Hill has beaten Oxford Webb and East Chapel Hill in the past two weeks.
14. Cardinal Gibbons (4-1) at Oxford Webb (2-3), 7
Quarterback Shawn Stankavage is second in the area with 325 yards per game, including 251 yards in the air. Webb lost to Chapel Hill 38-31 last week.
15. Pittsboro Northwood (4-1) at Cedar Ridge (0-5), 7:30
Northwood’s Ti Pinnix has thrown for 1,626 yards and 18 touchdowns. He is averaging 46 passes per game. Cedar Ridge has three losses by one touchdown or less.
Apex (1-4) at Fuquay-Varina (3-2), 7:30
Both long-time rivals are seeking their first Southwest Wake 4A victory.
Broughton (0-5) at Leesville Road (3-2), 7
Leesville has dropped two straight since quarterback Braxton Berrios was injured. The Pride will be the third Caps opponent to have been ranked No. 1 in The N&O this year.
Corinth Holders (4-1) at Franklinton (5-0), 7:30
Franklinton averages 45 points. Corinth Holders allows 17. The Pirates’ only loss was 16-14 to No. 13 Clayton.
Garner (4-2) at West Johnston (2-3), 7
West Johnston has a strong defense. Garner doesn’t. The Trojans have Nyheim Hines (223.3 rushing yards per game.) West Johnston doesn’t.
Holly Springs (2-3) at Athens Drive (3-3), 7:30
Holly Springs is 1-0 and Athens is 1-1 in the Southwest Wake 4A standings. The league looks extremely balanced.
Randleman (4-1) at Carrboro (2-3)
This is a rematch of last year’s second-round game in the state playoffs, which Carrboro won 37-8. Carrboro has dropped three straight since an injury to runner Trai Sharp, who might be available this week.
Southeast Raleigh (2-2) at Harnett Central (1-4), 7
Harnett Central has given up 40 or more points in each of its four losses. Southeast has played only two games in Wake County.