No time to panic for Garner: Garner was a popular pick to unseat Middle Creek as the South Wake Athletic Conference champion this year, so an 0-2 start with losses to 3A foes Clayton and Cleveland to start the year may raise a few eyebrows. What it shouldn’t do is raise alarm (holding Cleveland to 19 points is a silver lining). The last time Garner started 0-2 was 2010, and it then went on to finish 11-3, winning a conference championship and ending the year in the third round of the playoffs.
Enloe gains more than just a W: Enloe is on its third coach in four seasons. The Eagles could’ve come out of the gates this year with a myriad of struggles and it all would’ve been justified. Instead, Enloe rallied in the final minutes to beat Southern Lee just one week after nearly doing the same to Triton – both are two of the better area 3A programs. That’s only going to breed confidence.
Friendship is 2-0: Last year, in its first varsity season, Apex Friendship won its opener and then lost nine straight. This year, the Patriots (2-0) have doubled the school’s longest winning streak and have looked impressive while doing it. It’s still too early to say whether Friendship might make some noise in the SWAC or not.
Wake Forest still wears the crown: Wins by Wake County teams in Rockingham are hard to come by. Wake Forest (2-0) looked the part of the state’s No. 1 team with a commanding victory at Richmond County (1-1), becoming the county first team since 2014 Millbrook to pull off the road win in Raider Stadium.
Heritage answers offensive questions: The Huskies (2-0) entered this year with questions about how they would move the ball (these were nit-picky questions, given there’s a Duke recruit at quarterback and an N.C. State recruit at running back). Hanging 47 points on Middle Creek in a game that got close in the second half is a good way to put those doubts aside.
Sometimes we get it right: Last week’s notes included a positive outlook for Southeast Raleigh, Green Hope and Millbrook despite losses. All three had strong victories on Friday.
Cleveland flexes its defense: Cleveland (2-0) had never won a game in which it scored less than 20 points. In fact, the Rams had just one win in school history when scoring less than 30 points. Pulling off a 19-15 win over Garner isn’t big just because of the opponent, it’s big because it means this year’s Rams team might not need their best night offensively to pull out wins. That’s a trait that comes in handy come playoff time.
Corinth Holders gets much-needed win: The Pirates (1-1) played well enough on defense last week to get a win. They left no doubt this week. With only 19 points surrendered in two contests, Corinth Holders’ defense is one to watch in the coming weeks as it still has to play high-powered Clayton and Cleveland over its next three games.
Northern’s nightmare is over: Northern Durham had started each of the last six seasons 0-2 it looked like the streak was going to continue as Person lined up a chip-shot 12-yard field goal with less than two minutes to play.
But no – the field goal was blocked! – and Patric Harris scooped up the loose ball and returned it for a go-ahead touchdown with 1:09 left to play. After last week’s comeback effort against Fike was stopped by lightning, the Knights needed this one.
Tough-luck Person: Person has played just six quarters of football this year and finds itself 0-2 with both games decided by a total of 10 points, undone by a blocked field goal and bad weather. The Rockets are learning to finish games.
Hillside must forget: Hillside led Scotland County 21-20 late in the third quarter, but the Fighting Scots (1-1) came back to win. Hillside (1-1) can’t worry about this one for long. For starters, Scotland County is no longer one of Hillside’s roadblocks for a state championship now that the Hornets are in 3A and Scotland is still 4A, but also, Hillside still has two more tough nonconference games – Pinecrest and Dudley – to slug through over the next two weeks.
Cause for concern: Southern Durham (0-2) has scored in single-digits in back-to-back games. This year’s group is young, and the competition has been tough, but the Spartans still have some things to figure out. It could be a 2012-type year, when Southern started 1-4 but finished second in its conference. That team’s core group made it to the state championship the next year.
Coming together for Riverside: Two games in one week and the Pirates (2-0) haven’t allowed an offensive touchdown yet. Riverside has had a stout defense in recent years, even if wins were few. A 2-0 start – the first in 13 years! – signals that the wins are starting to come. The rest of the Triangle 6 Conference is 3-7.
Offensive struggles continue for Tigers: Chapel Hill had a rare two-games-in-five-days stretch and did not score an offensive touchdown in either one. On Monday, Chapel Hill scored twice on defense in a 22-14 loss to Riverside, and the Tigers were shut out by Apex Friendship. The silver lining is that both losses came to much bigger 4A teams.
No shame for Orange: Orange’s loss to Hoggard High out of Wilmington was the Panthers’ first nonconference regular-season loss since 2012. But it’s important to note Hoggard rolled through 4A Holly Springs last week and took down Hillside in last year’s playoffs. It’ll only help the strength of schedule.
Northwood has bragging rights: It’s been a long time since Northwood lost the claim of best team in Chatham County. Northwood’s win over Jordan-Matthews gives them six straight in the series.
Conley breaks through: It wasn’t necessarily the win or the margin of victory that was the most impressive about D.H. Conley (1-1) on Friday at Rocky Mount (0-2). It was the way Conley’s front seven overpowered Rocky Mount for most of the night (the secondary surrendering four touchdown passes on eight completions is a different story). It won’t show up in the box score, but Conley showed a glimpse that its defense has the ability to catch up with its high-powered offense.
Rocky Mount 0-2, but have no fear: Rocky Mount hadn’t fallen to 0-2 since coach Jason Battle took over, but this was always a possibility given the reigning 3A runner-up’s schedule. The Gryphons moved the ball well through the air on offense – Jaquan Lynch’s four touchdowns on 10 passes is one of the best performances by a Gryphons QB in recent years – and executed well when the blocking held up.
Message sent: Southern Nash and Tarboro faced teams that will do well in the Eastern Plains 2A Conference and rolled them both. Southern Nash (2-0) is running its double-wing offense like a well-oiled machine early in the year while Tarboro (2-0) will have its biggest, and perhaps only, nonconference test next week with 3A Northern Nash.
And then there’s South Central. It’s the Falcons, not county foes Conley and J.H. Rose, that are 2-0 to start the year. And South Central has done it against two of the better 2A teams in the eastern half of the state.
Sending an even bigger message was Arendell Parrott in 8-man football. The defending state champion Patriots (2-0) hung 88 points on Wayne Christian, and that’s with a running clock (it was 72-28 at halftime).
Kinston did what?: It looked like Kinston and North Pitt were heading for overtime, but Josiah Gardner took a fake punt that probably seemed like just a safe play to help time run out. Instead, it was a game-winning play for the Vikings. Josiah Gardner ran the fake punt 56 yards for a touchdown to shock North Pitt and likely the Kinston coaching staff as well.
Franklinton needed this: Franklinton (2-0) beat county rival Bunn (1-1) for the first time since 2011, and that’s a good omen for the Red Rams. That year, Franklinton went 10-3. With the schedule Franklinton has in front of it – J.H. Rose, Wake Forest, Southern Nash and Rocky Mount – it needs a shot of confidence now heading into those games.
South Granville the NCC favorite?: South Granville has defeated two 3A teams in back-to-back weeks to open the season. Last week’s 7-0 win at Person was halted at halftime, but the Vikings played the full four quarters against a talented South Johnston team. South Granville always schedules bigger schools in nonconference, but this year it’s passing these tests with flying colors.
Win No. 300, Lee County leaves no doubt: That’s two games and zero points allowed for coach Burton Cates’ crew down in Sanford. Not a bad way for Cates to win his 300th game as a head coach. Lee County (2-0) has now done it against a perennial 3A playoff team (Northwood) and a up-and-coming 4A program (Holly Springs).
Gap widens in Harnett: Between Overhills dominating county rival Harnett Central (0-2) and Western Harnett (0-1) coming up short to 2A Providence Grove, the gap is widening between Overhills (1-0) and its three county opponents (1-4 combined). Only Triton (1-0) looks like a threat to steal the Dan Richards Cup from the Jaguars this year.
PrepsNow ranking included
Chapel Hill at Apex Friendship (won 46-0)
Wayne Christian at Arendell Parrott (won 88-28)
Granville Central (won 7-6) at Bartlett Yancey
Smithfield-Selma at Beddingfield (won 32-22)
Southampton Academy, Va. (won 40-8) at Bethel Christian
Athens Drive (won 53-28) at Broughton
Rolesville at No. 12 Clayton (won 41-6)
No. 13 Garner at No. 10 Cleveland (won 19-15)
No. 23 Fike (won 26-25) at East Wake
Cedar Ridge at Eastern Guilford (won 50-7)
Goldsboro at Eastern Wayne (won 34-12)
North Lenoir at Farmville Central (won 41-16)
Jordan at E.E. Smith (won 13-10)
No. 20 Bunn at Franklinton (won 31-21)
Cary at No. 17 Fuquay-Varina (won 35-24)
J.F. Webb at Gates County (won 42-28)
Apex at No. 18 Green Hope (won 37-12)
C.B. Aycock at Greene Central (won 40-10)
Scotland County (won 34-21) at No. 7 Hillside
Chatham Central (won 20-14) at Hobbton
Faith Christian Rocky Mount (won 19-16) at Hobgood Academy
No. 5 Lee County (won 45-0) at Holly Springs
Hertford County (won 27-22) at Hunt
North Pitt at Kinston (won 19-12)
Southern Wayne at James Kenan (won 55-13)
Northwood (won 42-6) at Jordan-Matthews
Rocky Mount Prep at Lakewood (won 44-0)
J.H. Rose at Laney (won 39-12)
North Wake Home School (won 14-8) at Louisburg
No. 2 Heritage (won 47-27) at No. 8 Middle Creek
Havelock (won 48-19) at New Bern
North Stokes at North Moore (won 47-7)
Fayetteville Christian at North Raleigh Christian (won 42-6)
Person at Northern Durham (won 29-26)
Hoggard (won 26-6) at No. 6 Orange
Harnett Central at Overhills (won 47-6)
Ayden-Grifton (won 34-26) at Pamlico County
No. 22 Leesville Road (won 38-16) at Panther Creek
Gray's Creek at No. 9 Pinecrest (won 42-6)
Midway at Princeton (won 41-21)
High Point Christian (won 31-8) at Ravenscroft
No. 1 Wake Forest (won 38-13) at Richmond County
Northern Vance at Riverside (won 30-0)
Southeast Halifax at Roanoke Rapids (won 38-7)
No. 19 D.H. Conley (won 60-43) at No. 14 Rocky Mount
Community Christian at Rocky Mount Academy (won 47-22)
North Johnston at Rosewood (won 28-25)
Knightdale at No. 3 Sanderson (won 34-7)
South Granville (won 21-7) at South Johnston
Jones at South Lenoir (won 49-6)
Northern Nash at Southeast Raleigh (won 37-0)
No. 11 Cardinal Gibbons (won 20-8) at Southern Durham
Enloe (won 28-24) at No. 24 Southern Lee
Nash Central at No. 4 Southern Nash (won 48-7)
Red Springs (won 27-14) at Southern Vance
North Edgecombe at SouthWest Edgecombe (won 36-8)
Lejeune at Spring Creek (won 48-0)
Halifax Academy at St. David’s (won 48-26)
Union Pines (won 48-39) at St. Pauls
Trinity Christian (won 38-20) at Wake Christian
Millbrook (won 39-9) at Wakefield
KIPP Pride at Warren County (won 45-14)
No. 15 Tarboro (won 48-0) at Washington
South Central (won 31-20) at West Craven
Corinth Holders (won 28-6) at No. 21 West Johnston
Providence Grove (won 21-9) at Western Harnett
Harrells Christian at Word of God (won 49-18)