Key area high school football games tonight

08/21/2014 9:47 PM

08/21/2014 9:49 PM

7 p.m. kickoff unless noted

No. 2 Wake Forest at Panther Creek

Within less than a year, the Catamounts will have played Wake Forest three times. Wake Forest won last year’s opener 28-14 on Aug. 23 and beat Panther Creek 35-14 in the playoffs. All eyes will be on Wake Forest’s Bryce Love, one of the nation’s top runners.

New Bern at No. 3 Hillside, 7:30 p.m.

New Bern graduated 35 seniors from a 9-4 team. Bears quarterback Mike Hughes is back. Hillside won 27-24 in overtime last year at New Bern and returns a veteran club.

Fuquay-Varina at No. 4 Millbrook

Millbrook’s defense carried it early last year, but the offense came on strong. Fuquay-Varina’s running game might give the Wildcats trouble.

No. 6 Garner at No. 5 Middle Creek

Middle Creek lost the opener to Garner last year 21-16 but got revenge in the third round of the 4AA playoffs, 24-21. Garner has superb runner Nyheim Hines, but Middle Creek slowed him more than anyone else during 2013. Warren Messer, one of the keys to the Mustangs’ 2013 win, now plays for the Trojans.

7. Orange at Person

Orange is expected to contend with Southern Durham in the Big Eight 3A. Quarterback Garrett Cloer leads the offense against a rebuilding Person.

No. 8 Cleveland at Clayton

Clayton stunned the Rams last year, 53-29. The Comets have good speed, but Cleveland is expected to be strong defensively.

Rolesville at No. 9 Lee County

Rolesville would be hard pressed to find a tougher place to play the program’s first game. Sanford has an old football tradition and its Lee County expects to be strong this season.

No. 10 Wakefield open

No. 11 Northwood at East Chapel Hill

Northwood’s high-powered offense is expected to give the Wildcats a long night. Northwood’s Ti Pinnix had 3,056 yards passing in 2013.

No. 12 Erwin Triton at Fay. Cape Fear

Triton expects to be bigger and faster than in 2013 when it finished 9-3. The Hawks beat Cape Fear 19-9 in the 2013 opener.

No. 13 Bunn at Wilson Fike

Antony Evans, one of 13 returning Fike starters, rushed for 1,809 yards during an 11-2 season. Nevertheless, Bunn expects to be competitive with a bevy of fast backs and big linemen.

No. 14 Cardinal Gibbons at Green Hope

Last year Gibbons escaped with a 14-12 win when the Falcons missed a late field-goal attempt. Green Hope’s Luke Massei passed for 2,820 yards in 2013.

Jordan at No. 15 Leesville Road

Leesville Road thumped Jordan 62-21 last year. The game will be the first for Leesville Road coach Mike Hobgood.

Other games

J.H. Rose at Athens Drive

Greenville Rose was loaded last year but lost a lot of the defense that gave Athens Drive fits. The Jaguars will have to slow wide receiver Cornell Powell, a junior drawing tons of recruiting interest.

Cary at Broughton

Cary and the Caps have been opening the season against one another for more than a decade, and Cary has won the past four. The offensive philosophies couldn’t be farther apart. Cary runs the double-wing, and the Caps are pass-heavy.

Cedar Ridge at Carrboro

Carrboro runner Trai Sharp missed 2013 with a knee injury, but he is ready for his senior year. He led the Jaguars to the 2012 state final.

Princeton at East Carteret

How many yards will Princeton’s Johnny Frasier get? He is one of the nation’s top rushers and a Florida State recruit.

Oxford Webb at Granville Central

Granville Central is coming off its first winning season since the school opened six years ago. Webb is looking for its first winning season since 2008.

Apex at Harnett Central, 7:30 p.m.

Apex is in a new, power-run spread formation and is looking for more offense. Apex beat Harnett Central 43-0 in 2013.

Heritage at Holly Springs

Veteran coach Wayne Bragg makes his Holly Springs debut against senior-laden Heritage.

Sanderson at Knightdale

Sanderson linebacker Cole Nigro is among the state’s most effective defenders. Knightdale is rebuilding after last year’s Greater Neuse River 4A championship season. The Knights still have speed.

Southeast Guilford at Northern Durham

The 2014 Falcons look even more talented than the team that beat Northern Durham 46-0 last year in Greensboro.

Corinth Holders at Northern Nash

Corinth Holders believes this can be a special season. Northern Nash could be a measuring stick.

Ravenscroft at Northern Vance

Coached by veteran winner Ned Gonet, Ravenscroft is an NCISAA program that is rebuilding. Northern Vance will try to end a 21-game losing streak.

Chapel Hill at Riverside

Chapel Hill will open with a new quarterback, either senior transfer Connor Stough or veteran backup Jake Guskiewicz. First-year Riverside coach Chris Howell has significant numbers back from last year’s 8-5 team.

East Wake at South Johnston

South Johnston coach Hunter Jenks begins his tenure against an East Wake team that is expected to contend for the Greater Neuse River 4A title. East Wake’s Damontay Rhem had more than 2,000 yards in total offense in 2013.

Fayetteville Britt at Southeast Raleigh

New Southeast Raleigh coach Michael Thibodeau said playing one of the state’s finest programs is a quick way to judge his team’s progress. Britt is coached by former Leesville Road standout Brian Rimpf.

Chatham Central at Wake Christian, 7:30 p.m.

Wake Christian handled the Bears easily last year, but Wake Christian must replace a chunk of its senior leadership.

Smithfield-Selma at West Johnston

The Spartans won their last game of the 2013 season, topping South Johnston. They open the 2014 seasons at neighboring West Johnston. Expect an emotional effort.

Saturday game

Landover (Md.) Capitol Christian at No. 1. Southern Durham

Landover (Md.) Capitol went 7-0 last year in its first season of varsity football. Southern Durham, the 2013 N.C. 3AA champ, is led by senior quarterback and Wake Forest commit Kendall Hinton.

Other Friday games

Beddingfield at Greene Central

C.B. Aycock at Rosewood

D.H. Conley at North Pitt

East Duplin at Richlands

Farmville at Plymouth

First Flight at Dixon

Franklinton at Goldsboro

Gates at Bertie

Gray’s Creek at St. Pauls

Harrells Christian at South Lenoir

Hobbton at Midway

Holmes at West Craven

Hunt at South Central Pitt

J.F. Webb at Granville Central

James Kenan at Southern Wayne

Jones Senior at Kinston

Jordan-Matthews at Providence Grove

Lakewood at Union

Louisburg at North Johnston

Nash Central at Tarboro

North Lenoir at Eastern Wayne

North Raleigh Christian at Cannon School

Northside-Pinetown at Creswell

Northwest Halifax at North Edgecombe

Overhils at Pinecrest

Pasquotank at Camden County

Pender at Wilmington Laney

Pembroke Swett at Pine Forest

Red Springs at White Oak

Riverside-Martin at Ayden-Grifton

Rocky Mount Prep at Kipp Pride

Scotland at South View

South Brunswick at Wallace-Rose Hill

South Columbus at Hoggard

South Creek at Perquimans

South Granville at Rocky Mount

Southeast Guilford at Northern Durham

Southeast Halifax at Hertford County

Southern Nash at SouthWest Edgecombe

Southern Vance at Northeastern

Southside at North Duplin

Southwest Onslow at Jacksonville

Swansboro at Lejeune

Trask at Topsail

Union Pines at East Montgomery

Washington at Havelock

West Carteret at Northside-Jacksonville

Western Harnett at Southern Lee

Whiteville at North Brunswick

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Preps Now

Tim Stevens, J. Mike Blake, Clay Best, Caryn Grant, Aaron Moody and Elliott Warnock follow all the news for high school athletes from Wake, Orange, Durham, Chatham and Johnston counties.

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