Hillside advanced to the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A football playoffs after defeating Fayetteville’s E.E Smith Golden Bulls, 42-28.
Every home team in the 4A East won in Friday night’s first round.
The only “upset” in the 3AA classification, which includes Southern, came at Shallotte, where No. 12 Chapel Hill (10-3) defeated No. 5 West Brunswick (5-8) by a 42-14 score.
Riverside and Northern both fell on the road in 4A games in Fayetteville.
Hillside will face East No. 4-seeded and undefeated Seventy-First – the team that took down Riverside – this Friday in Fayetteville.
Last Friday in Durham, Hillside’s fifth-seeded Hornets (8-4) jumped out quickly on No. 12 Smith as Ricquaz Brannon capped an 80-yard opening drive with a 2-yard run. Hillside scored two more times, racing out to a 21-0 lead after the first quarter. Brannon had two rushing touchdowns, and Gerald Wilkes Jr. had a 31-yard interception score to end the first.
“We were on top of our game early,” said Hornets coach Antonio King. “The first half we were clicking on all cylinders. We had our right calls on defense and were in the right spots.”
But in the third quarter, the game shifted. E.E. Smith, out of Fayetteville, came back from a 35-point deficit with nine minutes left in the third quarter. Quarterback Harold Herbin led the 12-seeded Bulls to 14 unanswered points, with a 15-yard pass to Shawn Barnes, then later with a touchdown run of five yards.
Over the final six minutes of the third quarter, the Golden Bulls outscored Hillside, 21-7, to make things interesting.
“I think we had a little lull in that third quarter. We knew what they wanted to do, and they were able to hit some of their stuff and they stayed in the game,” said King.
In the third quarter when they had all their points, we missed some assignments and rotations. We gave up some long touchdown passes.”
Hillside made it 42-14 after Marcus Krah returned a kickoff 70 yards with just under two minutes left in the game. But E.E. Smith’s offense continued to fire away, as they answered just one minute later when Herbin hit Aaron Whitaker for a 39-yard touchdown pass.
Krah’s kickoff momentarily took back the momentum that Hillside had controlled for much of the game.
“[The kickoff] was a huge play,” said King. “But [E.E. Smith] kept the ball a lot in that third quarter. The energy they were playing with on defense, we were cold on offense. I think the weather got to them early, and us in the third quarter. But it’s the playoffs. You live and learn, and we’re just happy to be playing next week.”
Southern 25, Cardinal Gibbons 6: The Spartans
(12-0) swept their Big Eight rivals from Raleigh for the second straight year to extend their overall winning streak to 25 games.
Southern, ranked No. 1 in the state by the Associated Press, missed three field goals and two extra-point attempts.
“We left a lot of points on the board tonight,” Spartans coach Darius Robinson said. “We can’t do that next week against a powerhouse team coming in here.”
But where the offense was lacking, the defense was stellar. Southern Durham sacked quarterback Wesley Wagner six times, intercepted him once and blocked a punt.
Senior middle linebacker Tahj Spivey had five sacks.
“Our defensive line put the pressure on them and opened up the holes for me to get through,” he said. “Our offense wasn’t playing its best so it was up to the defense to pick up the slack.”
Southern led 12-0 at halftime .
Southern Durham drove 47 yards on 10 plays on its first possession and kicked a 25-yard field goal. Southern Durham missed a 39-yard field goal attempt on the ensuing possession.
Southern again was stopped on its next drive at the Crusaders 7.Leonardo Orozco hit another 25-yarder for a 6-0 lead.
The Spartans finally got into the end zone with 1 minute, 25 seconds left in the half. Quarterback Kendall Hinton (12 of 23 for 154 yards and a touchdown) found wide receiver Kaleb Barfield for 37 yards to make it 12-0.
Barfield put Southern up 19-0 at the beginning of the third quarter with a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Jordon Brown made it 25-0 with 4:34 left in the game before the Crusaders cracked the scoreboard on Wagner’s eight-yard connection to William von Jess.
Fayetteville Seventy-First 28, Durham Riverside 0: Seventy-First (12-0), which allows just 9.2 point per game, shut out the 4-8 Pirates. Riverside allowed the Falcons a single touchdown in the first half, on a 40-yard run by Jamil Jolliffe, but they broke the game open in the second half.
Fayetteville Cape Fear 35, Northern Durham 14: The Knights (4-8) kept it close for most of the game before falling to the (9-3) Colts. Antonio Burden ran for 189 yards and three touchdowns for Cape Fear, which won a playoff game at home for just the second time in 10 years.