In the coming weeks, area conferences will have major showdowns with first place on the line. But there’s more at stake than normal.
This season, only the area champ – or each 1-seed in a split conference – gets an automatic bid. Everyone else is a wild-card (think NFL wild-cards, which are done simply by overall record, and not NCAA tournament selection committee at-large “bids”). Overall, it should mean good things for the N.C. High School Athletic Association football playoffs.
It also takes away a fallback option for whichever team comes up short in games like Friday’s Hillside at Cardinal Gibbons showdown. A first-round home game is not guaranteed for a 2-seed.
But the same is true in reverse – a first-round road game is not guaranteed for a 3-or-lower seed. If a team tanks and ends up third in its conference, but still has a solid 8-3 or 9-2 record, it could jump a weaker team that finished 7-4 or 6-5 but second in its conference.
Streak not a record
As it turns out, there have been other football players with touchdown receptions in more consecutive games than Clayton’s Devin Carter, but his is the only active streak.
Last week, the NCHSAA record book listed the record as seven, which Carter broke in a 36-7 win over Knightdale. But since then, at least five other players have been discovered as having more in the last few seasons. They had gone unreported to the NCHSAA. The most found was 11, though others may have been found.
Carter can set a new unofficial NCHSAA record if he can up his streak to 12 in the coming weeks.
The Starting 11: players of the week
(Times named to The Starting 11 this season in parentheses.)
Vince Amendola, Leesville Road (1): Completed 20 of 32 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns.
Taronald Beaufort, Southern Durham (1): Ran seven times for 138 yards and three touchdowns.
Andrew Bennett, Wakefield (1): Threw for a touchdown (5-of-8 passing, 132 yards), ran for a touchdown (six carries, 23 yards) and scored another touchdown on defense (68-yard fumble return).
Jack Biestek, Cardinal Gibbons (3): Ran 22 times for 190 yards and one touchdown.
Devin Carter, Clayton (5): Caught 10 passes for 161 yards and one touchdown.
Tyrone Clark Jr., J.F. Webb (1): Ran 20 times for 135 yards and three touchdowns.
Caleb Gough, C.B. Aycock (2): Carried 33 times for 185 yards and one touchdown.
Donald Fuller, Ravenscroft (1): Ran 29 times for 228 yards and three touchdowns.
Devon Lawrence, Wake Forest (1): Ran 14 times for 138 yards and three touchdowns.
Tony Mack, West Johnston (2): Ran 14 times for 227 yards and six touchdowns, all in the first half.
Addison Pinkney, Panther Creek (1): Ran 23 times for 144 yards and three touchdowns.
4-point stance: top defenses
Heritage: Limited Sanderson to 65 yards of total offense in a 17-3 win.
Middle Creek: Held Cary to 41 yards of offense in a 65-0 rout, keeping the Imps from crossing the 30-yard line.
Southeast Raleigh: Shut out Rolesville 39-0, allowing 176 yards.
Wake Forest: That’s three straight shutouts for the Cougars after beating Millbrook 37-0 and holding the Wildcats to 89 yards of offense, and they got past midfield just once.
▪ One of the area’s biggest games this week is in the NCISAA 11-man ranks as reigning Division III runner-up Wake Christian (6-0) takes on defending Division II champ Ravenscroft (3-4), likely for the Big East Independent Conference title.
▪ North Stokes High, located near the Virginia border well north of Winston-Salem, forfeited the rest of its season due to a lack of healthy players. It seems to be a trend for smaller schools: South Davidson, also a 1A school, forfeited to North Moore on Friday for the same reason. Cary Christian has forfeited a game this year at the 8-man football level, and East Chapel Hill (4A) and Carrboro (2A) have each forfeited games over the last two seasons.
▪ The Overhills football team forfeited an 8-7 victory over South View for the use of an ineligible player who had just transferred to the school. The transfer part wasn’t the problem, principal Steve Matthews said. The player moved into the Overhills district, but was academically ineligible at his last school. The Jaguars are now 2-4.
Apex HOF: Apex is inducting its first sports hall of fame class this Friday at halftime of its game with Fuquay-Varina. Inductees who played at Apex High, or Apex Consolidated School before desegregation, was eligible. This is the last season Apex will have its games on campus until 2019. Like Garner this year, Apex will move off-campus (to Green Level High) while its current campus gets renovated. Apex has one of the best entrances in Triangle high school sports, running down a steep hill that leads from the school building to the field.