Cleveland wrapped up an unbeaten season in the Two Rivers 3A Conference with a 35-16 victory over Western Harnett Friday night.
The Rams finished the season 8-3 overall and 5-0 in the conference. Isaac Martin, a Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas selection, ran for three first-half touchdowns for Cleveland in the win. Triton takes the No. 2 seed and Corinth Holders - by virtue of its win over Western Harnett - is the No. 3.
The outright league title is the first in Cleveland’s short history despite its solid playoff record in its first three seasons of varsity football. The Rams will host a 3AA playoff game next week.
The Wildcats (4-7 overall, 2-4 conference) built a 41-0 lead before Central put up 20 points in the final quarter of play. West finsihed a game out of a three-way tie for third in the conference.
Clayton will still go into the playoffs as at at large team because if its 7-4 record this season. East Wake finished the season 4-7, going 2-4 down the stretch after its upset of Garner in late September.
Garner, meanwhile, finished second in the conference outright. The Trojans will carry an 8-3 record into the 4AA playoffs and enter the playoffs as the Greater Neuse River’s No. 2 seed.
Knightdale went unbeaten in the GNRC finishing up its conference season with a 30-21 win over rival East Wake.
In addition to giving the Spartans a good note to go out on, the win - and Triton’s 41-14 win over Corinth Holders - prevented a three-way tie for third in the conference.
Corinth Holders was the league’s No. 3 qualifier even though it tied at 2-3 in the league with Western Harnett. The Pirates (7-4 overall) get the final automatic playoff bid by virtue of its win over the Eagles earlier this season.
South Johnston technically was last in the league since it loses any tiebreaker to SSS because of Smithfield-Selma’s head-to-head win. Both teams went 1-4 in the league.