1E-Wake Forest 7, 5E-Laney 6: Wake Forest (13-0) escaped a real threat from visiting Laney (8-5) to advance to the third round. The Cougars trailed for three quarters but finally got on the scoreboard with 10 minutes, 48 seconds left in the game.
Devon Lawrence scored a tying touchdown on a 1-yard run one play after he broke loose and worked his way through the Laney seconday for a 44-yard run to the one. Then Christopher Vidal, the reliable senior kicker, booted in the winning extra point.
It was then up to the Wake defense, which had been stellar all game, to clinch the win. On the Buccaneers’ next-to-last possession, Darius Hodge and Jaden McKenzie had big tackles for losses. On the final possession, Laney threw four incomplete passes, turning the ball back to the Cougars with just 1:16 left on the clock.
Laney used a 62-yard pass play from Sherod Sidbury to Alfahiym Walcott to set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Imeek Watkins for a 6-0 lead. The extra point kick attempt was wide and ended up being the deciding factor.
3E-Heritage 25, 2ME-Pinecrest 21: The Huskies (11-2) got big defensive plays to upend Pinecrest (10-3) on the road. Heritage linebacker Drake Thomas scooped up a fumble forced by Ricky Person for a 30-yard touchdown in the first quarter, and the Huskies got a big safety just before halftime to go up 16-14.
Pinecrest started the second half by milking almost 10 minutes off the clock, scoring on a 20-yard pass from Nik Pry to J.D. Robinson to go up 21-16. Heritage took the lead in the fourth on Person’s second rushing touchdown and added a late 29-yard field goal by Parker George.
Thomas had 75 yards rushing on eight carries for Huskies and Gunnar Holmberg was 15 of 20 for 196 yards. Pinecrest’s Malyke Justice had 15 carries for 116 yards in the loss. Heritage will play at Wake Forest in the next round.
The Huskies will play crosstown rival Wake Forest on Friday.
J. Mike Blake
1ME-Middle Creek 45, 4E-Sanderson 7: Middle Creek (13-0) scored 45 points unanswered in a big win against Sanderson (-4). Dominique Shoffner was brilliant, completing 24 of 26 passes for 327 yards and three scores. Nine Mustangs caught passes from Shoffner, including Jordan Mitchell, who had two TD receptions.
The Spartans ended a stellar season after winning in the playoffs for the first time since 1998.
“What I’m most proud of is the way we adapted,” Sanderson coach Ben Kolstad said. “We lost two senior leaders for the season, and we changed as a team. I’m proud of the way they stepped up and fought. They got better, and we grew as a program this year.”
2E-Garner 54, 3ME-Richmond County 37: Garner scored 26 unanswered points to pull away from the Raiders and into next week’s quarterfinals. Garner (12-1) will make the short trip to rival Middle Creek on Friday.
The game featured 10 offensive touchdowns, a defensive touchdown, a special teams touchdown, two field goals, a safety and five turnovers. Eight of the touchdowns went for 30 yards or more.
Garner’s defense surrendered more points in the first half (31) than it had given up in the previous eight games combined (20). But after the Raiders opened up a 31-21 second quarter lead, the Trojan defense clamped down with the lone Raider score after halftime being a 98-yard kickoff return by Dante Miller.
Garner’s Collin Eaddy totaled 196 yards rushing, another 38 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Braxton Brokenborough threw for 193 yards and a pair of scores while rushing for another for the Trojans, who scored on a 50-yard fumble return by Dalton Counts on Richmond’s first play from scrimmage.
4ME-Cardinal Gibbons 31, 1E-New Hanover 13: Cardinal Gibbons entered Friday’s game averaging 44.5 points, but it was the Crusaders’ defense that was the difference in the second round.
After allowing 42 points to a potent D.H. Conley offense in the opening round, Cardinal Gibbons (12-1) rebounded with a stellar performance, holding the top-seeded Wildcats (8-5) to only 207 yards of total offense.
“We knew coming in that New Hanover had explosive players,” Cardinal Gibbons coach Steven Wright said. “They have a lot of talent on both sides of the football. They had the potential to score 35, 42 or 49 points.”
Gibbons’ Anton Stoneking finished the game 15 for 24 passing for 221 yards and Dalen Spruill had 190 rushing yards on 29 carries.
2ME-Cape Fear 35, 3E-West Johnston 34 (OT): Justice Galloway-Velazquez rushed for two touchdowns and passed for three, giving Cape Fear an overtime win over West Johnston.
Tony Mack scored four touchdowns for West, which finished its best season in school history at 10-2, but came up inches short on a two-point conversion try in overtime.
Mack finished with 92 yards on 19 carries while Andre Wilson, who rushed for 126 yards and passed for 104, scored the overtime touchdown for the Wildcats.
Galloway-Velazquez had 317 yards total offense for Cape Fear (13-0), which hosts Cardinal Gibbons next week.
1ME-Scotland County 66, 4E-Southeast Raleigh 28: Southeast Raleigh (9-4) couldn’t hold back the tied of Scotland County (13-0) and highly-touted running back Zamir White (14 carries, 220 yards and five TDs). The Bulldogs scored once in each quarter, two on Maurice Nelson passes (to Jeffery Onyegbule and Sherman McLeod) as well as an Onyegbule run and Tahir Barnes pas to Tyler Williams.
Scotland will host Hoggard in the next round.
6E-Hoggard 65, 2E-J.H. Rose 41: The Vikings took advantage of two early special-teams gaffes by the Rampants.
The Vikings (8-5) quickly sprinted out to a 16-0 lead just 3:38 into the game thanks to two botched punts by the Rampants that led to two Hoggard touchdowns and a safety.
J.H. Rose (7-5) scratched and clawed its way back to cut the deficit to three, but the Vikings scored a touchdown in the waning seconds of the first half, and the Rampants could get no closer.
Hoggard rolled up 400 yards and eight touchdowns on 49 carries. The Vikings clamped down on Rose running back E.J. Harris. His 82 yards rushing was only the second game this season in which he was held under 100 yards.
Rose quarterback Ryan Goodwin finished 22 for 44 passing for 361 yards and five touchdowns. Caleb Edwards had seven receptions for 139 yards and three touchdowns for the Rampants, and teammate Mydreon Vines had 120 yards and two touchdowns receiving on six receptions.
5E-Jacksonville 28, 1E-West Brunswick 12: The Cardinals (9-4) will play at Lee County in the next round after defeating the Trojans (9-4).
2ME-Lee County 35, 3E-Terry Sanford 3: Jahmir Smith ran for 141 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Yellow Jackets (12-1) past Terry Sanford the second time this year. Smith carried 22 times in the game, with TD runs of 2, 2 and 7 yards. Lee County scored 35 unanswered points after the Bulldogs (9-4) opened the scoring with a 27-yard Thomas Rogers field goal on their first possession.
1ME-Eastern Guilford 37, 5ME-Asheboro 7: The Wildcats (13-0) will host Western Alamance in the next round after defeating the Blue Comets (9-4).
3ME-Western Alamance 51, 2E-Cleveland 26: The Rams (9-4) were outscored 28-0 in the fourth quarter. Western Alamance (11-2) advanced to meet Eastern Guilford in the third round.
Cleveland wide receiver Jacob Scott broke the NCHSAA single-season receiving yardage record, catching eight passes for 93 yards to finish with 1,915 yards. He surpassed the mark set by Mohamed Massaquoi of Charlotte’s Independence High in 2004.
1E-West Craven 36, 4ME-Eastern Alamance 7: West Craven (13-0) will host Havelock in the next round after defeating Eastern Alamance (10-3).
3E-Havelock 14, 2ME-Orange 7: Havelock’s Solomon Beligotti scored on a 16-yard touchdown run with 5:12 remaining to lift the Rams (12-1).
After a scoreless first half, Beligotti broke the stalemate on a 1-yard touchdown plunge with 4:38 remaining in the third quarter. Orange evened the game late in the third quarter on an 80-yard touchdown run from Marvante Beasley, who finished with 117 yards.
It was the final game for Orange coach Pat Moser, who announced plans to retire in August. He led the Panthers (12-1) to four consecutive 10-win seasons, its best run in school history.
4E-Rocky Mount 27, 1ME-Southern Nash 21: The defending state champion Gryphons rushed for 322 yards to avenge a regular-season loss to the previously unbeaten Firebirds.
Senior Juane Daniels-Sanders had 167 yards on 17 carries with touchdown runs of 60 and 22 yards to pace Rocky Mount (11-2).
Classmate Deangelo Collins had 64 yards and a TD run of 4 yards. Rocky Mount got field goals of 23 and 25 yards from Chase Miller in the second half. Southern Nash had defeated Rocky Mount 21-10 at home on Oct. 28.
The Firebirds (12-1) lost in the second round for the fourth straight year. Running back Kendrick Bell had a TD run of 4 yards to put the Firebirds in front on their first drive of the game and a 10-yard score on SN’s first second-half drive. A 37-yard TD pass to Nadir Thompson from Matt Hampton cut the lead to six with 1:25 to go.
An onside kick was recovered by the Gryphons’ Artavious Richardson.
3ME-Southern Guilford 29, 7ME-South Johnston 7: Southern Guilford (11-2) reeled off 29 straight points after South Johnston (6-7) scored the game’s opening touchdown late in the first quarter. Andrell Edwards totaled 107 yards through the air and on the ground, and tallied three scores in the win, while Hakeem Knight rushed for a game-high 86 yards.
Following DeParis Patterson’s 28-yard score, the Trojans got into scoring position just twice after, and turned it over on downs both times. Patterson threw for 75 yards and ran for 57, while Jaequan Wells had 81 rushing yards on a game-high 21 carries. Southern Guilford will host Rocky Mount in the third round next week.
1E-East Duplin 33, 5E-Roanoke Rapids 0: The Panthers (12-1) will host Hertford County next after defeating the Yellow Jackets (11-2).
3E-Hertford County 34, 2ME-T.W. Andrews 31: The Bears (9-4) will travel to East Duplin next after defeating the Red Raiders (8-5).
1ME-Clinton 45, 5ME-South Granville 7: The Vikings (8-5) couldn’t upset undefeated Clinton (13-0). The Dark Horses will host Jacksonville’s Northside High in the next round.
6E-Northside (Jacksonville) 15, 2E-Bunn 7: David Howle’s 25-year tenure as Bunn’s head football coach came to a close Friday.
The Wildcats (11-2) scored the lone touchdown of the opening half thanks to a 1-yard quarterback sneak from Quenten Wright, but the Monarchs (10-3) found the end zone on their first two possessions of the second half on touchdowns from Jaquis Koonce (6-yard run) and Jonte McMullen (22-yard run).
Bunn drove down to the Northside 8-yard line late in the fourth period, only to see a potential touchdown pass nullified by an ineligible lineman downfield penalty. The Monarchs’ defense then came up with a pair of quarterback sacks to hold the Wildcats on downs, and an ensuing first down from Northside’s offense helped run out the clock.
The defensive-oriented contest featured just 337 total yards – 196 from Northside and 141 from Bunn. Dwayne Washington sparked the Monarchs with 113 rushing yards on 16 attempts. Howle’s career wrapped up with 12 league championships, along with a state runner-up finish last year.
1E-Northeastern 63, 5E-Southwest Onslow 20: The Eagles (11-2) will host Edenton Holmes next after defeating the Stallions (7-6).
3E-Edenton Holmes 51, 7E-Kinston 33: The Aces (11-2) will travel to Northeastern next after defeating the Vikings (7-6)
1ME-South Columbus 75, 5ME-Fairmont 42: The Stallions (11-2) will host East Bladen next after defeating the Golden Tornadoes (8-5).
3ME-East Bladen 28, 2E-Ayden-Grifton 21 (OT): East Bladen (9-4) blocked a game-winning field goal try to force overtime and then stopped Ayden-Grifton at the goal line on fourth down to preserve the win.
East Bladen’s Ethan Hines and Ayden-Grifton’s Modica Whitehurst split the six touchdowns scored in regulation between the two of them in what quickly became a track meet as both teams went to the air a combined 20 times.
Xavia McDowell’s 11-yard touchdown grab in overtime was one of just two Eagle completions on the night, but it proved to be enough to finish off the Chargers (9-4).
On 4th-and-goal from the 14, Ayden-Grifton’s Blake McLawhorn found D.J. Suggs for a reception just short of the goal line, and the Eagle defensive backs downed Suggs just inches from the end zone to end the game.
Whitehurst ran for a 40-yard score on the Chargers’ first possession. Hines found the end zone from 10 yards out on the ensuing drive and added an 11-yard plunge midway through the second quarter to put the visitors up 14-7. Hines led all rushers with 181 yards.
Whitehurst rushed for a 12-yard touchdown with 1:06 remaining in the first half to tie the game going into intermission and cap off a 108-yard first half. The senior finished with 165 yards rushing and added an interception on defense.
The Chargers had a chance to win the game on a 33-yard field goal attempt with 17 seconds remaining in regulation, but the driving kick was knocked down and recovered by East Bladen in Charger territory. A desperation heave fell incomplete in the end zone to send the game into overtime.
1E-East Carteret 56, 5E-Gates County 0: The Mariners (12-1) will host Tarboro next after defeating the Red Barons (8-5).
3E-Tarboro 61, 2ME-Granville Central 0: Deontae Williams rushed for 189 yards and four touchdowns and Clifton Joyner added 140 yards rushing and a touchdown as visiting Tarboro (11-2) cruised past Granville Central (6-7) in a 1AA East second-round game. Williams scored on runs of 15, 10, 11, and 23 yards for the Vikings, who blew the game open with a 36-point second quarter.
The Panthers were limited to 29 yards of offense and one first down, reaching Tarboro territory only once when Tarboro muffed a punt at its 31 early in the first quarter. Granville Central turned the ball over three plays later at the 23, and Tarboro scored on its ensuing drive on Williams’ 15-yard touchdown run.
1ME-Lakewood 42, 5ME-Princeton 22: In a rematch of Carolina 1A co-conference champions, the story remained the same as the Leopards (10-3) used big plays to best the Bulldogs.
Lakewood’s speedy senior tailback, Carsell Bennett, first used his speed to on a 58-yard touchdown reception on a go-route to give the Leopards the early lead and added a 63-yard rushing touchdown as he raced untouched up the middle of the Princeton defense to extend the margin.
Princeton (7-6) put together a perfect drive in the first quarter to answer Bennett’s first trip to the end zone as the Bulldogs drove 71 yards on 13 plays with Earl Gibson Jr. capping off the scoring drive on a two-yard plunge.
Every time Princeton put points on the board, however, the high-powered Leopards answered tight back as Dre Oates ran for pair of rushing touchdowns from 15 and 10 yards out.
Bennett led Lakewood with 127 yards on the ground and quarterback Zach Tanner ran for a score in addition to his scoring connection with Bennett.
Gibson recorded his 13th 100-yard rushing game of the season, finishing with 119 yards on 29 attempts. Trace James added 56 yards on the ground and a touchdown.
2E-Wallace-Rose Hill 38, 3ME-Union 0: The Bulldogs (11-2) will travel to Lakewood (9-4) next after defeating the Spartans.
1E-Plymouth 49, 4ME-Jones 13: The Vikings (10-3) will host North Edgecombe next after defeating the Trojans (6-7).
2ME-North Edgecombe 16, 3E-Northside (Pinetown) 14: The Warriors will travel to Plymouth next after defeating the Panthers (8-5).
5ME-Northampton County 42, 1ME-Southeast Halifax 14: The Jaguars (7-6) will travel to Southside next after defeating the Trojans (7-6).
2E-Southside 60, 3ME-KIPP Pride 8: The Seahawks (9-4) will host Northampton County next after defeating the Panthers (7-6).