St. David’s entered the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 2A 8-man football playoffs without thinking about a home game. It just doesn’t concern 3-seeds in a four-team brackets very often.
But the Warriors have a home game – and not just any one, a state championship – this Friday when St. David’s hosts Kinston’s Arendell Parrott Academy in a rematch of last year’s title.
St. David’s was undefeated going into last year’s championship before losing28-14 to Parrott, a team it had just beaten 50-28 earlier in the year. The game was played at Parrott as part of a 1A and 2A Saturday doubleheader.
This year, the NCISAA decided to let the higher seed host each championship game, which gives St. David’s a chance for revenge.
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Brackets coming Saturday
The N.C. High School Athletic Association’s football brackets will be posted early Saturday. Brackets are subdivided into big (4AA, 3AA, 2AA, 1AA) and small (4A, 3A, 2A, 1A) halves so that there are eight state champions.
The brackets should not take as long for the NCHSAA to post or have as many revisions as previous years, with most teams already done with the regular season and some key changes in the bracket formula (more built-in tiebreakers to limit random draws, fewer automatic berths). Just as soon as the brackets are out, they will be posted on nando.com/preps.
The Starting 11: players of the week
(Times named to The Starting 11 this season in parentheses.)
Mike Darden, Corinth Holders (2): Ran 30 times for 187 yards and four touchdowns.
Tyson Dew, Cleveland (2): Ran 17 times for 179 yards and two touchdowns; caught three passes for 58 yards and one TD.
Darius Hodge, Wake Forest (2): Blocked a punt for a safety and then ran back the ensuing kickoff for touchdown.
Donald Fuller, Ravenscroft (2): Ran 34 times for 253 yards and six touchdowns.
Devon Lawrence, Wake Forest (2): Ran eight times for 169 yards and three touchdowns.
Caiden Norman, Cleveland (7): Completed 22 of 35 passes for 397 yards and six touchdowns; ran eight times for 63 yards and two touchdowns.
Alex Parker, Northwood (1): Completed 10 of 19 passes for 216 yards and six touchdowns.
Trent Pennix, Sanderson (2): Ran 34 times for 208 yards and one touchdown.
Jacob Scott, Cleveland (3): Caught 11 passes for 207 yards and four touchdowns.
Dominique Shoffner, Middle Creek (4): Completed 15 of 25 passes for 233 yards and five touchdowns.
Broderick Taylor, Holly Springs (6): Ran 17 times for 246 yards and two touchdowns.
4-point stance: top defenses
Garner: Held Rolesville to minus-1 yard rushing, 58 rushing in a 58-7 win.
South Johnston: Defeated rival Smithfield-Selma 49-6 and held the Spartans to 49 yards rushing and 26 passing.
West Johnston: Held Knightdale to no offensive touchdowns, minus-12 yards rushing and 40 passing in a 56-7 win.
Middle Creek: Shut out Apex 48-0 and held the Cougars to minus-34 yards rushing and 123 passing.
▪ Wake Christian is hosting the only other game in Wake County aside from St. David’s. The Bulldogs host Fayetteville’s Village Christian in the Division III semifinals. Ravenscroft goes to Christ School in the Division II semifinals, outside of Asheville. All other schools have this week off.
▪ A few conference championships look like they’re heading for a three-way tie. Princeton hopes it can grab at least a share of the Carolina 1A and enters this week tied with Lakewood and North Duplin. J.H. Rose, New Bern and D.H. Conley appear heading for a three-way tie atop the Eastern Carolina 3A/4A and the same goes for Southern Lee, Lee County and Westover in the Cape Fear Valley 3A.
▪ For playoff purposes, three-way ties can only be broken by head-to-head-to-head record or random draw. Though North Johnston enters this Friday in a three-way tie for the Eastern Plains 2A, there will be no need to draw for the top seed if the Panthers win at Farmville Central. North Johnston has already defeated the teams it is tied with, SouthWest Edgecombe and Washington.
▪ Southern Nash can win the Big East 3A outright if it wins at Northern Nash to go to 11-0 Thursday. Even with a loss, the Firebirds will be the league’s 1-seed. Granville Central can wrap up the Tar-Roanoke 1A outright if it wins at Southeast Halifax Thursday and Ayden-Grifton can do the same in the Eastern Carolina 2A with a win Friday.
Ravenscroft heads west: Ravenscroft’s opponent on Friday, Christ School, is more noted for its basketball teams than football thanks to the trio of Plumlee brothers who attended school there. Christ School is one of the more unique NCISAA destinations. It’s an all-boys boarding school, affiliated with the Episcopal Church, and located on 500 acres of picturesque mountain countryside. Its mascot, the Greenies, is a nice change from pre-1919 when they were the Dishwashers, alluding to the chores each boy had to do. It should be a great view for a playoff football game that Triangle teams don’t get to see very often.