The NCHSAA football playoffs begin Friday with five area teams in action.
Here’s a quick primer on the opponents the locals are up against come Friday.
4A East — No. 9 East Wake (7-4) at No. 8 Northern Durham (5-6): Both of these teams have been on the rise, with the Warriors winning three straight into the playoffs and the Knights winning four straight.
Senior Domineke McNeill (924 yards, 12 TDs) and junior Jaylan Burton (735 yards, 10 TDs) lead Northern’s running game. Junior QB Luke Fenlon has thrown for 1109 yards and six touchdowns.
Quarterback Tripp Harrington (2,325 passing yards) is also East Wake’s leading rusher with 994 yards and 15 touchdowns.
The winner faces No. 16 New Bern (5-5) or No. 1 D.H. Conley (9-2).
4A East — No. 15 Knightdale (6-5) at No. 2 New Hanover (9-1): The Knights finished the season with a 19-14 loss that came down to the final play at West Johnston.
New Hanover finished 6-0 in the Mideastern 3A/4A Conference and is on a seven-game winning streak, most recently defeating South Brunswick 48-0 on Friday.
Knightdale is going to have to figure out a way to score more than their weekly average of 23.5 points to beat the Wildcats, who are averaging 36 points per game.
The winner here gets No. 10 Cardinal Gibbons (7-4) or No. 7 West Johnston (6-5).
4A East — No. 13 Rolesville (6-5) at No. 4 Cape Fear (8-3): The Colts finished third in the Mid-South 4A Conference. Prior to a win over South View in the regular season finale, Cape Fear had a pair of losses to league champ Jack Britt (36-30) and E.E. Smith (50-14).
Colts Sophomore Justice Galloway-Velazquez has rushed for 974 yards and 9 TDs, and passed for 1,270 yards and 13 TDs.
Rolesville, which was fourth in the Greater Neuse River 4A, is led by junior QB Carnaji Andrews (1,916 passing yards), senior Josh Branch (991 rushing, 10 TDs) and senior Colby Cooper (913 receiving yards, 5 TDs).
The victor will play No. 12 Overhills (6-5) or No. 5 J.H. Rose (8-2).
3AA East — No. 13 Northern Guilford (7-4) at No. 4 Corinth Holders (9-2): The Nighthawks have had plenty of playoff success in recent years, but find themselves in a lower seeded slot coming off of a season-ending loss to 8-3 Eden Morehead. Northern’s other losses are to 9-2 Greensboro Page, 9-2 Western Alamance and 11-0 Eastern Alamance.
Caleb Freeman (1,210 yards rushing, 15 TDs) and Miles Timmons (1,119 yards passing, 11 TDs, 658 yards rushing, 3 TDs) lead the Nighthawk offense.
The winner gets No. 12 Triton (4-7) or No. 5 Asheboro (9-2).
2AA East — No. 15 East Davidson (5-6) at No. 2 Bunn (9-2): The Wildcats have won eight straight since a Sept. 3 loss to Southern Nash. Senior running back Tevin Perry has run for 1,480 yards on the season and 18 touchdowns. Behind him, junior Chris Bumpers has 589 yards and 16 TDs and senior Davonte Caldwell has 566 yards and 11 rushing scores.
The winner will see No. 10 Cummings (4-7) or No. 7 Roanoke Rapids (8-3) in the second round.