A number of area teams are facing conference opponents in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association, which happens every year.
And so every year we get to test the adage “it’s hard to beat a team twice in the same season.”
In 2014, that was mostly true. In 11 rematches last year, there were seven teams who pulled off the regular season/postseason sweep.
Of the four losses – Southern Durham losing to Chapel Hill, Heritage to Wakefield, South Granville to Bunn and Green Hope to Panther Creek – only Chapel Hill’s win was an outright upset.
Bunn and South Granville had tied for second place in their league, Green Hope and Panther Creek had tied for first. Wakefield had finished just one game behind Heritage.
Pinecrest forfeits provide another lesson
For the second year in a row, a high-profile 4A football team had to forfeit away a stellar season because of violating part of the NCHSAA’s 8-quarter rule, a provision that allows football teams to use a maximum of eight players each week for varsity and junior varsity games.
Pinecrest High was 8-2 entering its season finale last week when someone at the school discovered that the paperwork had not been filed with the NCHSAA. Failing to file paperwork is necessary to ensure the players are passing weekly physicals to play in both games.
The Patriots won the finale but will settle for an 1-10 mark.
Last year, Greensboro’s Dudley High was 10-0 and riding a 25-game winning streak when the school also did not file its paperwork properly.
Some area coaches saw what happened to Dudley and decided to scrap 8-quarter players altogether to rule out any chance of an infraction.
The Starting 11: Players of the week
(Times named to The Starting 11 in parentheses.)
Melvin Briggs, St. David’s (3): Ran for 203 yards and four touchdowns on just nine carries.
Jordon Brown, Southern Durham (2): Had 11 rushing attempts for 210 yards and four touchdowns.
Tucker Burkinshaw, Green Hope (3): Threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns on 20 of 27 passing, adding a rushing touchdown.
Collin Eaddy, Garner (3): Dashed for 240 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries; added a 12-yard catch.
Tripp Harrington, East Wake (4): Completed 10 of 14 passes for 253 yards and four touchdowns; added nine carries for 37 yards and a TD.
Kris Haywood, Northern Vance (1): Ran for 274 yards on 22 carries for four touchdowns; added 118 yards passing on 12 of 22 passing.
Lee Holmes, Southeast Raleigh (1): Ran 27 times for 174 yards and four touchdowns; caught two passes for 53 yards and completed an 18-yard pass.
Domineke McNeill, Northern Durham (1): Ran for 167 yards and a TD on 19 carries.
Caiden Norman, Cleveland (5): Responsible for eight touchdowns (five passing, three rushing). Had 274 yards on 16 of 22 passing and ran 20 times for 146 yards.
Tevin Perry, Bunn (3): Ran 11 times for 175 yards and four touchdowns and added an interception return for a fifth score.
Zaheed Stubbs, Harnett Central (1): Ran 28 times for 182 yards and two touchdowns, caught three passes for 17 yards.
3-point stance: Top defenses
East Wake: Two pick-sixes and a blocked punt for touchdown in a 60-27 blowout of Harnett Central.
Middle Creek: Shut out Apex for the last three quarters in a 41-9 romp.
Wake Forest: Held Enloe to minus-14 yards of offense in a 48-0 win.
▪ Bunn coach David Howle did what everyone expected he would do when he won his 200th game – he deflected credit. “I’ve never been an awards person,’’ Howle said. “All of these games were won by the players. This is a great community with hard-working kids. For me, it’s been an honor to coach here at Bunn all of these years.’’
▪ Athens Drive’s winless season wasn’t the way the Jaguars wanted to close out Williams Stadium. The team played with co-head coaches after a change just four games into the year.
“There are all kinds of memories here (at Williams Stadium), and we didn’t realize how many people wished we would have been able to stay here,” said Athens coach Jimmy Ray. “These kids here fought through a lot of adversity and were just warriors this year.”
▪ Your East finals (if the higher seeds win throughout) will be: Jack Britt at Middle Creek (4AA); New Hanover at D.H. Conley (4A); Cleveland at Fayetteville Terry Sanford (3AA); Havelock at Eastern Alamance (3A); Bunn at T.W. Andrews (2AA); SouthWest Edgecombe at Kinston (2A); Tarboro at Wallace-Rose Hill (1AA); Southside at Plymouth (1A).
▪ Your East finals (if the top-ranked teams in the AP poll win out) will be: Wake Forest at Middle Creek (4AA); New Hanover at D.H. Conley (4A); Orange at Fayetteville Terry Sanford (3AA); Havelock at Eastern Alamance (3A); Greene Central at Clinton (2AA); SouthWest Edgecombe at Kinston (2A); James Kenan at Wallace-Rose Hill (1AA); Southside at Plymouth (1A).
Raider Stadium: Holly Springs will play in one of North Carolina’s most treasured high school football stadiums on Friday when the Golden Hawks visit Richmond County. The Raiders, one of the most prestigious programs that last won a state title in 2008, play in the 8,000-seat Raider Stadium. A human mascot shoots a musket after every Richmond touchdown. It’s one of the only stadiums in the state with two pressboxes so coaches from each team can be on the same side of the field as their sideline.