Friday night's best high school football matchups

tstevens@newsobserver.comOctober 17, 2013 

No. 1 Orange (7-0, 3-0) at Chapel Hill (3-4, 2-1), 7 p.m.

Orange has one the best running games in the area with backs Tay Jones and Patrick Pettiford. Quarterback Garrett Cloer doesn’t throw a lot but is deadly when he does. He rates No. 1 in the Triangle in passing efficiency (a 244 rating), with 177 yards a game, 7 TDs and no interceptions. The Panthers also rate best in the area in scoring defense, allowing 7.1 points per game.

No. 2 Wakefield (7-0, 3-0) at No. 9 Millbrook (5-2, 2-1), 7

Wakefield claimed a hard fought 32-26 victory over Wake Forest last week as QB Evan Brabrand passed for 277 yards. Millbrook won early with its defense and got a rushing boost from Marcus Marshall’s 199 yards.

No. 13 Heritage (5-2, 2-1) at No. 3 Wake Forest (6-1, 2-1), 7

Heritage proved its mettle earlier this season in a 30-7 Cap Eight 4A win over Leesville Road and could claim area bragging rights over nearby Wake Forest. The Cougars are trying to rebound from a loss to Wakefield last week.

Southeast Raleigh (3-3, 2-0) at No. 4 Knightdale (6-1, 3-0), 7

Look who’s suddenly in championship-contending position in the Greater Neuse River 4A Conference? Yep, Southeast, a team that slipped out of the spotlight after its season-opening road trips to Fayetteville Britt and Dutch Fork in South Carolina. Knightdale features plenty of big-play options and speed.

Holly Springs (4-3, 3-0) at No. 5 Middle Creek (5-2, 3-0), 7:30

Holly Springs has won four straight and shares the Southwest Wake 4A lead with Middle Creek. Tray Staten (981 yards rushing) leads the Hawks. Middle Creek’s Brant Grisel has passed for 1,455 yards.

No. 6 Hillside (4-2, 1-0) at Riverside (5-2, 1-0), 7

It’s still early in the season, but this one could decide the PAC-6 championship. It pits the versatile offense and quick defense of Hillside against the power-running game of Riverside. The Pirates’ Joel Evans is the PAC-6’s top runner (188 yards per game), and Riverside has the league’s top scoring offense (31 points per game). Hillside, with Donté Thomas-Williams leading the ground game and Nas Forte-Ferguson leading the air attack, also is potent (29.5 ppg) and has held opponents to an average of 13.8 points.

No. 12 Northwood (5-1, 2-1) at No. 7 So. Durham (5-2, 3-0), 7

In the same conference for the first time, these two teams make the Big-8 one of the toughest leagues in the state. Northwood QB Ti Pinnix is the top passer (300 yards per game) in central North Carolina, and Jalen Smith is the area’s top receiver (132 yards per game). Southern quarterback Kendall Hinton (210 passing yards per game) is one of the quickest players in the state as is his favorite target, N.C. State recruit Maurice Trowell (89.4 receiving yards per game).

Fuquay-Varina (4-3, 1-2) at No. 8 Panther Creek (5-2, 2-1), 7:30

Both of these teams were in games decided by two points last week, with the Bengals getting their first conference win and the Catamounts taking their first conference loss. Fuquay-Varina will need to stretch Panther Creek’s front seven from boundary to boundary to keep the Catamounts honest. Panther Creek will be keying in on Fuquay fullback Damarus Williams and his up-the-gut running style.

No. 10 Triton (6-1, 1-0) at Cleveland (4-3, 1-0), 7:30

Two teams that have finished 1-2 in their conference the past two seasons meet in an early Two Rivers 3A Conference clash. Triton has used special teams play and turnovers to make the difference the past two seasons against Cleveland. But the first order of business for any Hawks opponent is slowing the Wing-T running attack.

No. 11 South Granville (6-1, 1-0) at Southern Vance (1-6, 0-1), 7:30

South Granville has scored 40 or more points in its last five games and should again. Sean Bowman (1,528 yards rushing) and Mike McCutcheon (1,068 yards passing) lead South Granville.

No. 14 Corinth Holders (6-1, 1-0) at South Johnston (1-6, 0-1), 7:30

Corinth Holders makes its first trip to meet Johnston County rival South Johnston. The Pirates’ passing attack led by Cole Sakowski is one of the most efficient in the state (175.7 efficiency rating) so a week after struggling against Triton’s rushing attack, South’s defense must switch its focus to the air.

No. 15 Leesville Road (5-2, 2-1) at Enloe (0-7, 0-3), 7

Leesville dropped two straight after an injury to QB Braxton Berrios but appears to have made adjustments.

Other games

Apex (2-5, 1-3) at Cary (2-4, 0-2), 7:30

The oldest rivalry in the area has seen Cary win the last four. There is a trophy on the line as iHigh.com’s Great American Rivalry Series has again chosen this game as one of the 50 it highlights across the country.

Broughton (0-7, 0-3) at Sanderson (3-4, 1-2), 7

Sanderson has to be aware of Broughton’s passing. The Caps’ Patrick Kearney has thrown for 1,862 yards.

Cardinal Gibbons (5-2, 2-1) at Northern Vance (1-6, 0-3), 7

Northern Vance lost 28-24 to Southern Vance last week while Gibbons fell to Southern Durham.

Carrboro (4-3, 1-0) at Burlington Cummings (2-5, 0-1), 7

This Mid-State contest is a rematch of a first-round playoff game last year when these teams were in separate leagues. Carrboro won 68-31.

Cedar Ridge (0-7, 0-3) at Oxford Webb (2-4, 0-3), 7

The Red Wolves will need to stop Webb’s big plays, especially by Nykwanza Henderson, who scored on a 30-yard pass reception and a 90-yard kickoff last week against Northwood.

East Chapel Hill (1-6, 0-1) at No. Durham (1-6, 1-0), 7

Northern proved it could move the ball in last week’s win against Person, gaining more than 230 yards on the ground.

Farmville Central (5-1, 0-1) at North Johnston (0-6, 0-1), 7:30

Conference play didn’t feature the start either Farmville Central or North Johnston wanted last week. The Jaguars suffered their first loss of the season (to Washington). North has scored two touchdowns or less in its last three games.

Harnett Central (1-6, 0-3) at Garner (6-2, 2-1), 7

Don’t blink because you’ll miss Garner’s home regular-season schedule. Yep, it’s already senior night. After this one, the Trojans visit Knightdale and Southeast Raleigh in back-to-back weeks then get an open date during the final week of the regular season (Nov. 8).

Jordan (1-6, 0-1) at Roxboro Person (2-5, 0-1), 7

If the Falcons are going to end their five-game losing skid, Roxboro is a good place to try. The Rockets have trouble running the ball and have been plagued by turnovers. If Jordan can shore up its front line, it has a good chance to win a PAC-6 game.

North Raleigh Christian (2-5, 0-1) at Ravenscroft (4-4, 1-0), 7:30

North Raleigh’s Richard Landis (1,294 yards passing) has thrown for 751 yards in the last two games. Ravenscroft has scored 111 points in its last two games.

Princeton (4-3, 1-1) at Spring Creek (2-5, 1-1), 7:30

Princeton crushed winless Hobbton 50-0 last week, while Spring Creek had an open date. Spring Creek averages 15 points a game; Princeton averages 35.

Roanoke Rapids (2-5, 0-1) at Bunn (4-3, 1-0), 7:30

Bunn needs a win to stay in position in the Northern Carolina 2A with games against Franklinton, South Granville and Warren County ahead. Roanoke Rapids has allowed 50 or more points in each of its last three games.

Smithfield-Selma (0-7, 0-1) at Western Harnett (2-5, 0-1), 7:30

SSS makes the trek deep into Harnett County looking to end its 37-game losing streak. Western was a team of two halves against Corinth Holders: great before halftime, not so great in the second half, getting outscored by the Pirates 30-0.

West Johnston (2-5, 0-2) at East Wake (2-5, 1-1), 7

East Wake has lost two straight after its big win over Garner, so the Warriors are looking for a bounce-back effort against a West team coming off its open week and a little bit healthier after the break. West must find a way to slow runner Damontay Rhem (847 yards, 9 TDs) and quarterback Trent Evans (1,485 yards).

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