East Wake, ranked No. 10 in The N&O, is a tested team, but will be facing its first Greater Neuse challenge Friday at No. 4 Garner.
East Wake (3-1) battled 2013 4AA Eastern Regional champ Wake Forest in a 27-18 loss, beat a very strong Millbrook club and took care of business against South Johnston and Heritage.
The Warriors have bruising runner Damontay Rhem (137 yards rushing per game) and quarterback Tripp Harrington (809 yards). Five Warriors have touchdown catches and Quincy Jackson has three. The East Wake defenders are good enough to hand Millbrook a 7-6 loss.
But Garner (3-1) is averaging 44 points per game, led by Nyheim Hines, who has scored 11 touchdowns and averages 170.8 yards and 11.4 yards per carry.
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A year ago, the Warriors pounded Garner, 54-40, but the Trojans’ defense is improved, giving up 15.5 points per game.
Gametimes are 7:30 unless noted
Northern Vance at No. 1 Southern Durham, 7 p.m.
Northern Vance (1-3) beat Southern Vance last week, breaking the state’s longest losing streak at 24. The celebration may be short-lived. Northern Vance has been plagued by turnovers and Southern (4-0) typically feasts on turnovers. The Spartans beat Northern Vance 62-6 in 2013.
Broughton at No. 2 Wake Forest, 7 p.m.
Wake Forest (4-0) plays like a battering ram on offense and a wall on defense. The Cougars lead in rushing offense with 289.0 yards per game and in rushing defense, allowing only 27.8 yards on the ground. Broughton probably will have to throw and to throw under pressure.
Apex at No. 3 Middle Creek, 7 p.m.
Middle Creek (4-0) has dominated the series – winning 11 of 12 games – but the Cougars (3-1) are off to their best start since 2005. Apex’s Isaiah Totten leads the Triangle with 687 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns. Middle Creek’s Elijah Perry has 502 yards for eight touchdowns.
No. 9 Northwood at No. 5 Orange, 7 p.m.
Northwood (4-0) hopes to have its offense back at full speed under quarterback Ti Pinnix. The Chargers crushed Carrboro 56-14 last week. Orange (4-0) allows only 10 points per game. The showdown is a key Big Eight 3A game.
No. 6 Lee County at Gray’s Creek
Lee County (5-0) beat Western Harnett 43-12. None of the other Lee foes have scored more than seven points. Gray’s Creek (3-2) has scored 42 or more points in three games and 50 in each of its past two.
J.F. Webb at No. 7 Chapel Hill, 7 p.m.
Chapel Hill (4-0) trounced East Chapel Hill last week 65-6. Webb (2-2) has struggled on defense, allowing 32.5 points per game.
No. 8 Cleveland at Durham Riverside
Cleveland (4-1) is rolling. The Rams have won three in a row since a road loss to Garner and are showing marked defensive improvement. The Rams have given up 21 points in their past two outings after giving up 145 in their first three. Riverside (1-4) will have to figure out how to slow down the Rams’ rushing attack led by Corey Brown (735 yards, eight TDs) and Aaron Farmer (409 yards, 9 TDs). Quarterback Diante Strothers leads the Pirates in both rushing and passing
No. 11 Millbrook at Enloe
Millbrook (3-1) is another of the strong defensive strong clubs. The Wildcats are allowing 8.7 points. Enloe (2-2) opens Cap Eight league play under new Coach Steve Johnson. The Eagles lost to Fuquay-Varina last week 34-29.
No. 12 Heritage at Leesville Road
Heritage (3-1) had allowed only seven points in its first three games before East Wake claimed a 34-29 nonconference win last week. Leesville (2-2) suffered its first shutout since Nov. 3, 2006 (7-0, Wake Forest) when Panther Creek took a 27-0 win.
No. 13 Green Hope at Cary
Crosstown foes Green Hope (4-1) and Cary (0-4) meet with the teams trending in different directions. Three of Green Hope’s games have been decided by two points or less, but the Falcons have won all of those. Cary has not scored in its previous two games, both 48-0 losses.
No. 14 Clayton at Harnett Central
Clayton (3-1) has an explosive new offense led by quarterback Eric Hoy, who has more than 1,200 yards from scrimmage in four games (583 rushing, 640 passing), and has been a part of 17 touchdowns (10 passing seven rushing). The Comets have given up 18 points a game in their past three. Central (0-4) is allowing 38.2 points per game.
James Kenan at No. 15 Princeton, 7:30
One of the state’s marque regular-season 1A games will open Carolina 1A Conference play. Both teams are ranked among The Associated Press’ top five 1A teams. Princeton’s offense is led by Florida State commit Johnny Frasier (136 rushing yards per game, 13 total TDs) and a third-year starting quarterback Michael Wooten (798 yards passing).
Princeton’s Cody Garner (46 tackles) and junior Adrian Whack (35 tackles) will try to slow down Kenan quarterback Ken Avent III, who has 12 passing touchdowns. Kenan has used 13 ball carriers this season. Junior Donta Mason leads Kenan with 30 tackles.
Panther Creek at Athens Drive
Athens Drive (1-4) has played in four games decided by single digits, going 1-3. Panther Creek has shut out its past two opponents. The Catamounts (3-1) have allowed five touchdowns in four games.
Cardinal Gibbons at Cedar Ridge, 7 p.m.
Gibbons (3-1) kicks off Big Eight Conference play against the Red Wolves (2-2) in Hillsborough. Cedar Ridge running back Julius Walton averages 90.5 yards rushing. Three of the Crusaders’ games this year have been decided by single digits.
Community Christian at Cary Christian
The Knights (0-4) welcome first-year program Community Christian (0-4) out of Wilson as both teams search for their first win.
Holly Springs at Fuquay-Varina, 7 p.m.
Rivals Fuquay-Varina (2-2) and Holly Springs (3-1) are each coming off victories heading into their SWAC opener. The Golden Hawks are 3-1 for the first time in school history. Fuquay-Varina has proven it won’t go away easily no matter the opponent.
Franklinton at Granville Central
Granville Central’s Jay Parker leads area passers with 1,389 yards and 18 touchdown passes. Central (4-1) has not lost since dropping its opener to J.F. Webb. Franklinton (4-0) beat Northwest Halifax 70-0 last week.
Northern Durham at Greensboro Dudley
Could Northern (0-5) possibly have constructed a tougher nonconference schedule? Northern is taking on a top 10 team for the second week in a row and for the third time in five weeks. Unlike many of the offensive juggernauts Dudley (4-0) has fielded in the past, this year’s team is led by possibly the best defense in the state. The Panthers have yielded just 16 points in four games (4.0 ppg).
Nash Central at Durham Hillside, 7 p.m
Records can be deceiving. Hillside is 1-4, but still is the PAC-6 4A favorite. Nash Central (0-5) has defensive lineman Houshun Gaines, who is being recruited by ACC schools.
Southern Pines Pinecrest at Jordan, 7 p.m.
This one of just four road games this season for the 5-0 Patriots, who come out of the tough-as-nails Southeastern Conference. It’s been almost two years since Pinecrest lost to any team not ranked in the state’s top 10. Pinecrest quarterback Christian Ledbetter is lightning quick. He ran for 173 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Patriots in last week’s 31-14 win over Southern Lee. Jordan is 0-5.
West Johnston at Knightdale, 7 p.m.
Knightdale (2-2) needs to find more offense if it wants to put another championship trophy in the display case after winning the Greater Neuse in 2013. Knightdale averaged 12.8 points a game. West Johnston (3-1) is a strong defensive unit with potent playmakers on offense.
North Lenoir at North Johnston, 7:30
North Johnston (0-5) seeks its first win against North Lenoir (1-4), which is allowing 46.2 points a game
Southeast Raleigh at Rolesville, 7 p.m.
Southeast (1-3) is averaging nine points a game and hasn’t scored more than 18 in a game. First-year varsity program Rolesville is averaging 11 points a night, although the Rams have put up a combined 36 points in their last two outings.
Northern Nash at Smithfield-Selma, 7:30
Northern Nash (3-2) comes to Tucker Stadium on a two-game winning streak after dominating Warren County (43-6) and Southern Vance (48-0). Quarterback Jacob Green and runner Quon Whitaker lead the Knight offense. The Spartans (1-4) lost to unbeaten Wilson Fike last Friday, 52-10.
Kestrel Heights at Wake Christian, 7:30
Wake Christian (3-2) looks to run its winning streak to three games with the second in a string of three consecutive home games. Nathaniel Williams leads the Bulldog offense with Kyle Patterson a threat at in the run game and the passing game. Kestrel (1-4) forfeited last week’s game to Winston-Salem Atkins.
South Johnston at Wilson Fike , 7:30
South Johnston (1-4) has a fast, talented and young squad that keeps getting better but hasn’t seen that turn into many wins. Fike (5-0) is one of the top 3A teams in the state.
Ashley at South Brunswick
Beddingfield at Wilson Hunt
Charlotte Country Day at Ravenscroft
Chatham Central at East Montgomery
Clinton at Pender
Columbia at Plymouth
Cummings at South Granville
D.H. Conley at Greenville Rose
Dixon at Pamlico
Douglas Byrd at Southern Lee
East Carteret at Croatan
East Duplin at South Lenoir
Eastern Alamance at Williams
Fairmont at St. Pauls
Forestview at Lake Norman Charter
Goldsboro at Northside-Jax
Greene Central at North Pitt
Havelock at Richlands
Hertford County at Holmes
Hoggard at Topsail
Jones Senior at Southwest Onslow
Kinston Parrott at Northeast Academy
Lakewood at Spring Creek
Laney at West Brunswick
Lawrence at Rocky Mount Academy
Midway at East Bladen
New Bern at C.B. Aycock
New Hanover at Lumberton
North Brunswick at Purnell Swett
North Duplin at Lejeune
North Edgecombe at KIPP Pride
North Lenoir at North Johnston
Northampton at Bunn
Northeastern at First Flight
Overhills at South View
Perquimans at Cape Hatteras
Person at Bartlett Yancey
Pine Forest at E.E. Smith
Ragsdale at East Chapel Hill
Roanoke Rapids at Northwest Halifax
Rocky Mount at Triton
Rocky Mount Prep at Southeast Halifax
Rosewood at Hobbton
Seventy First at Jack Britt
South Central at Eastern Wayne
South Columbus at West Columbus
South Creek at Farmville Central
Southampton (Va.) at Hobgood Academy
SouthLake Christian at Harrells Academy
South Robeson at Red Springs
St. David’s at Halifax Academy
Victory Christian at North Raleigh Christian
Wallace-Rose Hill at Trask
Washington at Riverside-Martin
Weldon at Warren County
West Craven at West Carteret
Western Harnett at Jordan-Matthews
Whiteville at East Columbus