No. 1 Wake Forest (6-0) at No. 3 Wakefield (6-0), 7 p.m.
Wake Forest’s Bryce Love (140.8 yards rushing per game) leads the Cougars’ ball-control offense that averages 294 yards rushing. Wakefield counters with the passing of Evan Brabrand (252.3 yards passing per game.) Special teams may be key in the Cap Eight 4A showdown.
Cedar Ridge (0-6) at No. 2 Orange (6-0), 7:30
On paper, this one shouldn’t be close, but the Red Wolves scored 28 points on Northwood last week and QB Peyton Pappas has passed for 1,071 yards. Orange is allowing 6 points per game and scoring 42.
No. 6 Middle Creek (4-2) at No. 4 Panther Creek (5-1), 7:30
The Southwest Wake 4A race is expected to be tight, but Friday night’s winner will be in good shape. The Mustangs’ Brant Grisel has passed for 1,222 yards. Panther Creek has two shutouts and hasn’t allowed more than 21 points in a game since an opening 28-14 loss to top-ranked Wake Forest.
No. 5 Knightdale (5-1) at Harnett Central (1-5), 7
Knightdale won early this season with its defense, but exploded offensively last week in a 52-27 victory against Clayton, which had also been pretty good defensively. Harnett Central has dropped four straight.
No. 8 Southern (4-2) at No. 11 Cardinal Gibbons (5-1), 7
The game includes two of the area’s top quarterbacks – Southern’s Kendall Hinton (1,061 yards passing) and Shawn Stankavage of Gibbons (1,471 yards passing). The Spartans have been hot offensively, averaging 53 points during a three-game win streak.
Jordan (1-5) at No. 7 Hillside (3-2), 7
Jordan must cope with Hillside’s size and speed. A week off should have helped the Falcons’ dinged-up offense get back up to speed. Jordan has scored just 6.8 points a game since getting off to a good start.
No. 9 Millbrook (4-2) at Broughton (0-6), 7
Millbrook battled unbeaten Wake Forest to the final series in a 31-25 loss last week. No other team has scored more than 14 points on Millbrook. Broughton’s Patrick Kearney has passed for 1,496 yards.
South Johnston (1-5) at No. 10 Triton (5-1), 7:30
The longest running rivalry in the new Two Rivers 3A Conference helps kick off the first week of league play. Triton has won the last three meetings.
Oxford Webb (2-3) at No. 12 Northwood (5-1), 7:30
The Warriors have been giving up 30.6 points a game while Northwood has been averaging 43, with QB Ti Pinnix emerging as the top passer in the area (329 yards per game). The numbers don’t look good for Webb.
Enloe (0-6) at No. 13 Heritage (4-2), 7
Heritage will try to rebound from a last-second 20-14 loss to Sanderson last week. Enloe led Millbrook last week before giving up two fourth-quarter scores in a 34-21 loss.
Western Harnett (2-4) at No. 14 Corinth Holders (5-1), 7:30
Corinth Holders keeps on finding ways to win and Western Harnett did the same in its last two outings, wins against Cameron Union Pines and Siler City Jordan-Matthews.
No. 15 Franklinton (5-1) at South Granville (5-1), 7:30
The Northern Carolina 2A title may be decided in this league opener. Both teams have been impressive.
Bartlett Yancey (2-4) at Carrboro (3-3), 7
Carrboro has dropped three straight since losing runner Trai Sharp to a knee injury. QB Donielle Totten and RB Dayshawn Newman help Bartlett Yancey get the ball up and down the field.
Cleveland (2-4) at Smithfield-Selma (0-6), 7:30
Cleveland is averaging 36.3 points per game, helped by the running of Isaac Martin (990 rushing yards). Smithfield-Selma allows more than 40 points per game.
East Wake (2-4) at Southeast Raleigh (3-2,), 7
Will the real East Wake please stand up? The Warriors topped Garner two weeks ago, then lost to South Granville last week. Friday’s winner will be in good shape in the Greater Neuse 4A.
Hobbton (0-5,) at Princeton (3-3), 7:30
Hobbton came oh-so-close to its first win last week (a 22-21 loss to Spring Creek) and meets a Princeton team led by runner Johnny Frasier (1,009 yards).
Garner (5-2, 1-1) at Clayton (5-2, 1-1), 7
This one’s going to come down to defensive play. Both teams have potent running attacks – Clayton’s more plodding, Garner’s more quick-hitting. Garner’s Nyheim Hines (225 rushing yards per game) is countered by three Comet runners with 400-plus yards.
Northern Vance (0-6) at Chapel Hill (2-4), 7
Northern Vance has scored 14 points total in its last three games, and only 70 all season. Chapel Hill has given up 90 points in its last two games.
Person (2-4) at Northern Durham (0-6), 7
Outside of losses to two of the state’s top-10 teams – Orange and Greensboro Dudley – the Rockets have moved the ball well. Marquis Torain is an effective runner, but so is quarterback Trevon Tapp. Northern has scored 58 points this year.
Ravenscroft (3-4) at Wake Christian (3-4), 7:30
The Bulldogs try to bounce back after a loss to Harrells Academy last week. Ravenscroft averages 32.3 points a night and is led by two-way end Avery Edwards.
Riverside (4-2) at East Chapel Hill (1-5), 7
The last time Riverside was above .500 at the start of its conference schedule was in 2006, when the Pirates were 3-2 and then won eight straight en route to the state finals. Joel Evans (194.7 ypg) leads the Pirates.
Wilson Beddingfield (3-3) at North Johnston (0-6), 7:30
Beddingfield would love to carry over the positive vibes it had after a 15-13 win against rival Wilson Hunt, a state semifinalist last year. North Johnston lost to North Lenoir 18-16 in its last game.
Fuquay-Varina (3-3) at Green Hope (4-3), 7:30
The margin of error for Fuquay-Varina has been small. The Bengals have been in three games decided by seven points or less. Green Hope must buck a recent trend – three straight games allowing a special teams or defensive touchdown.
Cary (2-4) at Holly Springs (3-3), 7:30
Cary has shown a lot of fight this year, but preseason concerns about depth and experience are coming to fruition in conference play. Holly Springs, which rolled up 631 yards of offense last week, is looking to win its fourth straight game for the second time in school history.
Athens Drive (3-4) at Apex (2-4), 7:30
The Apex defense has been quietly good this year. Athens Drive has scored no more than 12 points in any of its four losses but is averaging 30.3 points per win.
Elliott Warnock and Clay Best contributed to this story.