Last week, I wrote about how three teams had far from ideal first-round playoff opponents waiting for them on Friday night. Of course, all three of those teams: Clayton (at Durham Hillside), Southeast Raleigh (at New Bern) and Wake Forest Heritage (at Scotland County), promptly jumped out to leads in their respective games.
Just goes to show you never underestimate anybody when it playoff time comes. Heart and desire are the two hardest factors to judge in high school athletics and they can’t be measured on paper analyses of games.
Sure, all three of those teams eventually bowed out with losses Friday night but their efforts reminded us of the role desire plays in the games we love to watch.
“This has been a group that has been a little under-manned all year,” Pinkowski said after the loss to Durham Hillside. “But they played with everybody. They had a big game against Garner, a big game tonight. … The Comets will live to fight another day, but we’re not hanging our heads. We’re just taking a little siesta until we can get back in the weight room and get back out here next year.”
“We’re saying goodbye to 20-plus guys who, a lot of them, have been starters for us since they were sophomores,’ Honeycutt said. “But we’re looking forward to working with a group of 30-plus sophomores on the varsity level, guys who were part of a very successful junior varsity group this season. We’ve got some talented juniors coming back as well.”
That changed a bit when all three of the top finishing teams in the league won easily in the first round of the 1AA playoffs: James Kenan, Princeton and Lakewood.
Kenan and Princeton, of course, meet on the field this Friday, so at least one team from the league will be gone. Meanwhile, Lakewood meets a Whiteville team that’s highly regarded.