Two games matching News & Observer-ranked teams highlight the high school football schedule Friday in the next-to-last week of the regular season.
Cardinal Gibbons plays at league-leading Orange in a key Big Eight 3A game, and Leesville Road plays at Millbrook in a game featuring two Cap Eight leaders.
Top-ranked Knightdale is off.
The kickoff of Leesville at Millbrook, Enloe at Broughton, Middle Creek at Cary and Green Hope at Apex has been moved to 6 p.m. Fuquay-Varina at Athens Drive and Panther Creek at Holly Springs will kick off at 6:30.
No. 11 Cardinal Gibbons at No. 2 Orange, 7 p.m.
Orange (9-0, 5-0) must contain Gibbons quarterback Shawn Stankavage (2,901 total yards). Gibbons (7-2, 2-1) must step up on defense against an Orange attack averaging 27 points a game. Orange allows 5.6 points per game.
No. 9 Leesville Road at No. 3 Millbrook, 6
Leesville Road (7-2, 4-1) has played as well as any team in the area after dropping two straight in the middle of the season. Millbrook (7-2, 4-1) has improved tremendously on offense as the season has progressed and has been outstanding on defense all season, allowing 14.4 points per game. The teams share the Cap Eight 4A lead with Wakefield.
No. 4 Middle Creek at Cary, 6
Middle Creek (7-2, 5-0) also is playing extremely well. The Mustangs can clinch at least a share of the Southwest Athletic title with a win. Cary (3-6, 1-4) has dropped six of its last seven.
No. 5 Hillside at East Chapel Hill, 7
Hillside (6-2, 3-0) is expected to clinch its fourth straight PAC-Six 4A title against East (2-7, 1-2).
No. 6 Southern Durham at Oxford Webb, 7
Southern (7-2, 5-0) has scored 58 points a game against Big Eight 3A opponents and should move the ball against the Warriors (2-7, 0-5). Southern has a league showdown next week against No. 2 Orange.
No. 7 Panther Creek at Holly Springs, 6:30
Panther Creek (7-2, 4-1) still has a shot at the Southwest Wake 4A regular-season title as does Holly Springs (5-4, 4-1). Panther Creek relies on a defense that gives up 12.9 points per game and runner Dorrel McClain (133.6 yards per game). Holly Springs’ Tray Staten averages 136.6 rushing yards.
Heritage at No. 8 Wakefield, 7
Wakefield (8-1, 4-1) shares the Cap Eight 4A lead with Millbrook and Leesville Road. The Wolverines’ Evan Brabrand averages 244.9 passing yards. Heritage (5-4, 2-3) has played tough in the league.
Sanderson at No. 10 Wake Forest, 7
Wake Forest (7-2, 3-2) and Sanderson (5-4, 3-2) are tied for fourth in the Cap Eight so Friday’s game has playoff implications.
Chapel Hill at No. 12 Northwood, 7:30
Northwood (7-2, 3-2) wonders which Chapel Hill team (3-6, 2-3) will show up – the one that held No. 2 Orange to 6 points or the one that saw Cardinal Gibbons score three touchdowns in the last 12 minutes last week? Northwood (7-2, 3-2) averages 44 points a game behind the playing of Ti Pinnix (279.7 passing yards per game.)
No. 13 Lee County at Fayetteville Westover, 7:30
Lee County (7-2, 3-1) has outscored its opposition 154-83 this season, and the Yellow Jackets are second in the Cape Fear Valley 3A. Westover (0-9, 0-4) has been outscored 135-34.
South Johnston at No. 14 Cleveland, 7:30
Cleveland (6-3, 3-0) is one win from clinching the No. 1 playoff seed from the Two Rivers 3A Conference. South (2-7, 1-2) needs to win out to have a chance at finishing third in the conference.
Western Harnett at No. 15 Erwin Triton, 7:30
Triton (7-2, 2-1) and Western Harnett (4-5, 2-1) share second place in the Two Rivers 3A.
Bunn at Franklinton, 7:30
Bunn (5-4, 2-1) and Franklinton (7-2, 2-1) share the Northern Carolina 2A lead with Southern Vance and South Granville.
Cannon School at Wake Christian, 7
Wake Christian has won two straight and look to finish out the regular season with a Senior Night victory.
Cary Christian at Rocky Mount Academy, 7
Rocky Mount Academy defeated Cary Christian last week 52-6, but they meet again tonight in the first round of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association eight-man playoffs.
Clayton at West Johnston, 7
Clayton (6-3, 2-2) can finish third in the Greater Neuse River 4A Conference with wins over West and Southeast Raleigh. The Wildcats (3-5, 1-3) beat Southeast Raleigh last week.
Corinth Holders at Smithfield-Selma, 7:30
Corinth Holders (6-3, 1-2) and Smithfield-Selma (0-9, 0-3) meet for the first time.
Enloe at Broughton, 6
Either Broughton (0-9, 0-5) or Enloe (0-9, 0-5) will win for the first time this season in the annual renewal of one of the community’s oldest rivalries.
Fuquay-Varina at Athens Drive, 6:30
Fuquay-Varina (5-4, 2-3) and Athens (4-5, 2-3) are tied for fourth in the Southwest Wake 4A and have strong running games.
Garner at Southeast Raleigh, 7
Garner (7-3, 3-2) finishes its regular season with a visit to old rival Southeast Raleigh (4-4, 2-2).
Graham at Carrboro, 7
Graham (3-6, 2-1) and Carrboro (4-5, 1-2) have sputtered during the last half of the season.
Green Hope at Apex, 6
Green Hope (4-5, 1-4) was 3-1 before beginning Southwest Wake 4A play. Apex (2-7, 1-4) has scored two or fewer touchdowns in five games.
Harnett Central at East Wake, 7
East Wake (3-6, 2-2) looked like a Greater Neuse 4A contender after its 54-40 win over Garner but has dropped three of four games since despite averaging 29.3 points during the streak. Harnett Central (1-7, 0-4) is rebuilding.
Jordan at Northern, 7
Jordan (1-8, 0-3) has given up 43 points a game to 4A PAC-6 opponents, so the team will need to work on slowing Northern’s Alphonso Gbojueh and Zaaqhui Mann. Northern (2-7, 2-1) allowed 42 points a game in non-conference games but has given up 18.3 points a game against Person, East Chapel Hill and Hillside.
N. Vance at Cedar Ridge, 7
Cedar Ridge QB Peyton Pappas has thrown for more touchdowns (23) than any other area quarterback except Northwood’s Ti Pinnix (29).
Person at Riverside, 7
Riverside QB Diante Strothers seems to have mastered running the triple option, and that has helped Joel Evans (194.1 rushing yards per game).
Princeton at Lakewood, 7:30
The winner probably gets a home first-round playoff game. Princeton junior Johnny Frasier (209.0 rushing yards per game) set a state record with 50 points and eight touchdowns last week.
Ravenscroft at Harrells Christian, 7
The Ravens (5-5) are shooting for a winning season behind the passing of Jamie Herakovich (173.1 yards per game).
St. David’s at Hobgood Academy, 7
St. David’s enters the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association eight-man playoffs against Hobgood, which beat the Warriors 73-33 during the regular season.
Southwest Edgecombe at North Johnston, 7:30
Eastern Plans 2A Conference play hasn’t been very kind to either team, although both of Southwest’s losses in the league have been by 13 points or less.
Warren County at South Granville, 7:30
South Granville (7-2, 2-1) shares the Northern Carolina 2A lead with Bunn, Franklinton and Southern Vance.