Friday’s Area Playoff Games
4A: No. 16 Clayton (6-5) at No. 1 New Bern (11-0), 7:30
New Bern is ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press’ 4A state poll entering the playoffs and the Bears have outscored their opponents 403-77 this season. New Bern has held eight opponents to less than 10 points, so it’ll be a matchup of strength vs. strength when it lines up against Clayton, which averages 33.6 points a contest.
New Bern handled a big bit of adversity in wrapping up the Eastern Carolina 3A/4A Conference Championship in the last week of the regular season. Quincy Wright came off of the bench in place of injured starting quarterback Mike Hughes (he with 20-plus Division I scholarship offers) to throw for 173 yards and lead three touchdown drives in a 33-13 win over Greenville Rose. The Bears had two touchdowns covering more than 85 yards in the win: a 97-yard kick off return by Rasheed McCoy and an 87-yard run by D.J. Howard.
Up Next: The winner meets either No. 9 Wilmington New Hanover (7-4) or No. 8 Greenville Rose (9-2).
3AA: No. 14 Cameron Union Pines (6-5) at No. 3 Corinth Holders (8-3), 7:30
Corinth Holders gets the chance to host its first playoff game in the new era on Friday. Union Pines hasn’t exactly shined in the late season. The Vikings have lost four of their last five entering the 3AA playoffs. Three of those losses were not close either.
It’s Union Pines’ first playoff appearance since 2007.
Up Next: The winner meets either No. 11 Lee County (9-2) or No. 6 Orange (10-1).
3AA: No. 9 Hope Mills Gray’s Creek (7-4) at No. 8 Cleveland (9-2), 7:30
Gray’s Creek has won four of its last five entering the playoffs, including back-to-back 49-plus point outings against Union Pines and Douglas Byrd. And yes, this is the same group of Bears Cleveland met in the opening round of the 3AA playoffs last season, a 33-13 Cleveland triumph.
The Bears run the ball and run it well this season. Leyland McDonald has 1,486 yards rushing and 20 TDs; Calvin Boyd has 1,559 yards and 19 TDs.
Up Next: The winner meets either No. 16 Cardinal Gibbons (6-5) or No. 1 Southern Durham (11-0).
Final Conference Standings
Greater Neuse River 4A
Two Rivers 3A