Friday’s playoff matchups
4AA: Holly Springs (6-5) at Garner (8-3)
Need to Know: This is the first meeting between the two teams. Both teams feature productive running attacks. Holly Springs has four players with six or more rushing TDs on the season and 43 total runs across the goal line.
Garner is led by the area’s leading scorer and rusher – Nyheim Hines who has 38 rushing TDs this season.
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Holly Springs Players to Watch: Receiver Jordan Kornegay had nine TD catches on the season and averages more than 60 yards receiving a game so the Trojans will not be able to just concentrate on the ground attack. Tray Staten leads the Hawks’ rushing attack with 1,463 yards and 21 TDs this season.
Best Wins: Garner, 21-16 over Middle Creek; Holly Springs, 27-21 over Fuquay-Varina
Worst Loss: Garner, 54-40 to East Wake; Holly Springs, 27-0 to Panther Creek
The winner meets: Either Fayetteville Jack Britt (8-3) or Sanderson (6-5)
3AA: Hope Mills Gray’s Creek (5-6) at Cleveland (8-3)
Need to Know: These two teams have a common opponent in Triton. Gray’s Creek fell to Triton 27-21 on Sept. 20, while Cleveland beat the Hawks 31-28 on Oct. 18. The Bears were good enough to compete in the Cape Fear Valley 3A this season, just not good enough to crack into the top three of Douglas Byrd – the No. 1 overall seed in the 3A, Lee County and Terry Sanford.
Gray’s Creek Players to Watch: Safety Jeff Gibson (6-foot-4, 198 pounds) is an N.C. State recruit. Running backs Justin Richardson and Deion Rackley are talented as well.
Best Win: Gray’s Creek, 30-13 over Southern Lee; Cleveland, 45-44 over Garner
Worst Loss: Gray’s Creek, 30-13 over Southern Lee; Cleveland, 45-44 over Garner
The winner meets: Rocky Mount (8-3) or Hillsborough Orange (10-1)
4A: Southeast Raleigh (4-6) at New Bern (8-3)
Need to know: New Bern’s victim list of Triangle area teams in the playoffs in recent years reads like a who’s who of the top area teams: Garner, Hillside, Clayton and Southeast Raleigh, even once in a regional championship game.
But there’s a reason Southeast played those tough nonconference games to start the season: to be know what to expect on a night like this.
New Bern Players to Watch: Linebacker James Fields of New Bern is verbally committed to East Carolina and standout athlete Mike Hughes has offers from almost every DI team in the state.
Best Wins: New Bern, 21-13 over Greenville Rose; Southeast, 35-31 over Clayton
Worst Loss: New Bern, 31-13 to Havelock; Southeast, 41-7 to West Johnston
The winner meets: Heritage (6-5) or Scotland County (11-0)
Two Rivers 3A
Greater Neuse River 4A