Why Middle Creek can beat Wake Forest

mblake@newsobserver.comDecember 5, 2013 

Middle Creek has won 10 straight games and is on an eight-game home winning streak entering tonight’s 4AA N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs.

That alone – even its 33-3 record at home since 2009 –isn’t enough to defeat Wake Forest.

The Mustangs (12-2) will need all three phases of the game to defeat the Cougars. The good news is, Middle Creek has been pretty good in all three.

East Carolina recruit Curtis Burston’s return from injury has made an already good offense more dynamic and his 10 touchdown catches in six games are proof positive.

The defense – which has allowed more than 21 points just once this year – is proving itself to be one of the area’s top units against the run, which is Wake Forest’s strength.

Special teams – despite surrendering two punt blocks for touchdowns last week – has been solid in the kicking game and has blocked 14 kicks this year, three shy of the NCHSAA record.

Nonetheless, the Mustangs will have work to do against Wake Forest.

The defense can’t key in on one player as it did with Garner.

Middle Creek’s youth on the line will be asked to win the battle in the trenches against the larger and more experienced Cougars.

The Mustangs’ passing offense is a strength, but it must go against a defense that has only allowed one team (Wakefield) to throw for more than 200 yards in a game.

Despite those matchup concerns, there is no real weakness to be found on Middle Creek. That’s why although the Mustangs have never made it this far in the state playoffs, making it to the championship can become a reality.

Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps

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