Friday’s football games:
The Southwest Wake Athletic Conference season closes out with a bang as all eight teams play rivalry games with a lot more than just pride on the line.
Panther Creek at Green Hope
The Highway 55 rivalry has never mattered more. This is for the SWAC championship. Panther Creek would technically be called a “co-champ” if it loses, but it certainly won’t feel that way afterward if that’s the case. Green Hope’s last conference title was 2004.
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Head-to-head: Panther Creek leads all-time series 5-2.
Apex at Holly Springs
It’s win-or-go-home time already for Holly Springs and Apex. With identical records, the Golden Hawks and Cougars have enough wins to make it into the 4AA playoffs, but just barely. If there are teams tied for the last playoff spot, and there usually are many, the tiebreaker among them is conference winning percentage. The loser here drops to 2-4 in the league, and that won’t get it done.
Head-to-head: Holly Springs leads all-time series 4-3.
Middle Creek at Fuquay-Varina
Crazy things always seem to happen between the Bengals and Mustangs – the former brings out a hook-and-lateral and the latter sneaks in an onsides kick. How’s this for crazy: Fuquay-Varina could take the 3-seed out of the SWAC into the playoffs if it upsets the Mustangs and Middle Creek will not win the SWAC/Tri-9 for the first time since 2010.
Head-to-head: Middle Creek leads all-time series 8-5.
Athens Drive at Cary
Last year, Cary ended its season by knocking Athens Drive out of playoff contention in the final week. The Jaguars are already eliminated from playoff contention, even though a win lands them firmly in fifth place. (Athens beat Apex and Holly Springs earlier this year.) The Imps, who have won four straight in the series after Athens won four in a row, are trying to prevent a winless season.
Head-to-head: Cary leads 9-4 since 2001.
Cardinal Gibbons at Northwood
Gibbons’ schedule probably could not have been more back-loaded. The Crusaders close out the season with four of the last five games against the top four teams in the Big Eight. Either way, a playoff spot awaits both next week.
Head-to-head: Northwood leads all-time series 4-1.
Wake Christian at High Point Christian*
In the first round of the NCISAA Division III playoffs (smallest division), the Bulldogs (7-4) travel to 8-2 High Point Christian
Head-to-head: HPC won earlier this season 44-26.
*All game times are 7 p.m. except Wake Christian games, which start at 7:30 p.m.
Player of the Week
Ryan Callahan, Panther Creek: He blocked a punt, recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass in a 24-7 win against Holly Springs on Thursday.
1. Panther Creek, 9-1 (6-0)
2. Green Hope, 8-2 (5-1)
3. Middle Creek, 8-2 (4-2)
4. Fuquay-Varina, 5-5 (3-3)
5. Athens Drive, 3-7 (2-4)
T6. Apex 5-5 (2-4)
T6. Holly Springs, 5-5 (2-4)
8. Cary, 0-10 (0-6)