High School Sports

Here’s what you need to know in week 9 of the high school football season

Orange's Marvante Beasley (8) celebrates with teammate Kendall Whitted (3) after his touchdown. The Orange Panthers visited the Hillside Hornets in a high school football game on Oct. 13, 2017. Orange wins 31-20.
Orange's Marvante Beasley (8) celebrates with teammate Kendall Whitted (3) after his touchdown. The Orange Panthers visited the Hillside Hornets in a high school football game on Oct. 13, 2017. Orange wins 31-20. newsobserver.com

Wake County

8-0 is a breeze: Heritage is 8-0 (2-0 Northern 4A) for the first time in school history, and Wake Forest is 8-0 (2-0) for the fourth straight year. Can you feel the excitement for that week 12 showdown yet?

Is it enough? Time will tell how significant Knightdale’s win over Rolesville’s win is for playoff consideration. But the Knights (4-4, 1-1) are looking like the third-best team in the Northern 4A. And when the top two teams in the league are a combined 16-0, doesn’t being third count for something?

Avoiding upset: Apex (3-5, 1-1 South Wake 4A) may have needed to upset Fuquay-Varina (6-2, 1-1) to try and sneak its way into the wild-card talk. The Cougars gave the Bengals all they could handle, which was much like Apex Friendship’s (3-5, 0-2) game against Middle Creek (6-2, 2-0). Garner (4-4, 2-0), meanwhile, appears to be rounding into shape as Thurman Leach-coached teams are wont to do.

Ravenscroft looks ahead: The Ravens (5-4, 3-1) needed this one to win the Big East Independent Conference, but the good news is that they likely won’t see Trinity Christian (7-0, 4-0) in the playoffs. The Ravens play DII and the Crusaders DIII.

Johnston County

South Johnston still scrapping: In every projection thus far, South Johnston (5-3, 1-1 Greater Neuse River 3A) has remained out of the 3A playoffs. All the Trojans can control is how many more games they win, and they did their part in Friday’s rout.

Bring on Cleveland vs. Clayton: Clayton (8-0, 2-0 Greater Neuse River 3A) will host Cleveland (5-3, 2-0) in what will likely be a conference title game next week.

Princeton’s own showdown: Princeton (6-2, 2-0 Carolina 1A) has a date at Lakewood next week that has conference title implications on the line. The Bulldogs, Leopards and state-ranked North Duplin are all still unbeaten in league play.

Durham, Orange, Chatham and Person counties

Northwood states its case: For much of the season, Northwood (6-2, 3-0 Big Eight 3A) has been ranked below Southern Durham (1-8, 0-4) in the MaxPreps rankings despite a wide gap in their win-loss record. This was a must-win for the Chargers to potentially – if these rankings are worth anything – move ahead of the Spartans for good.

Hornets stalled: Hillside (3-4, 2-1 Big Eight 3A) still can’t quite get its ground game going The Hornets’ big plays came through the air against Orange (6-1, 3-0) and are now faced with the possibility of not winning a conference title for the first time since 2009.

Orange runs on Wilson: Down two quarterbacks, Orange turned to Mr. Do Everything, UNC recruit Payton Wilson, to take the snaps. He can return punts, tackle, pick off passes, haul in touchdowns and run for big yards, but he won’t be asked to throw much. Wilson was a battering ram on Friday and helped milk the clock to keep Hillside’s big-play passing offense off the field.

Jordan has title hopes: A year ago, Jordan and Riverside (4-4, 1-1) were playing to avoid sixth place in the PAC-6 Conference, but Friday’s game felt like one for an automatic playoff spot. Jordan (4-4, 2-0) now has the inside track on a top-two spot in the Triangle 6 4A, and a conference title isn’t out of the question.

Eastern counties (Edgecombe, Greene, Lenoir, Nash, Pitt Wayne, Wilson)

EC2A comes to this: West Craven (4-4, 3-0) rallied by Greene Central (5-4, 2-2) and Ayden-Grifton (6-2, 3-0) by Kinston (7-1, 2-1) in what felt like the Eastern Carolina 2A semifinals. The two teams left at the top of the heap

As expected?: Eastern Plains 2A Conference coaches had a pretty darn accurate preseason poll when they voted SouthWest Edgecombe (7-1, 2-0) first and Nash Central (6-2, 1-1) second. Those two are heading for those very places after Friday’s showdown.

Northern counties (Franklin, Granville, Vance, Warren)

Vikings win one for Hobgood: In less than 72 hours, South Granville’s players had to deal with the scare of their head coach going down with a heart attack and the pressure of gearing up for a showdown at Roanoke Rapids. Under interim coach Frank Mundy, and wearing Tar Heels logo decals to honor both Hobgood’s playing days and his “footprint” on the community, South Granville (8-0, 5-0 Northern Carolina 1A/2A) didn’t miss a beat.

Southern counties (Harnett, Lee, Moore)

Triton stays alive: The Hawks (5-3, 2-0 Tri-County 6 3A) have all but assured themselves an automatic playoff berth, but they’ll need next week’s win to set up a winner-take-all showdown with Lee County in Week 11.

Lee County stifles another: Speaking of the Yellow Jackets (8-0, 2-0), that’s now seven shutouts in eight games. If games were like pop quizzes and you could drop the lowest grade, Lee would drop those 27 points they gave up to Hoke County and be left with an average of zero points allowed per game.


PrepsNow ranking included


Cary Christian at Faith Christian Rocky Mount (won 52-14)


Cap-7 4A: Millbrook at No. 4 Cardinal Gibbons (won 37-21); Southeast Raleigh (won 33-14) at Enloe; Broughton at Leesville Road (won 33-14)

Northern 4A: No. 1 Wake Forest (won 54-13) at Corinth Holders; Wakefield at No. 2 Heritage (won 54-0); Knightdale (won 17-12) at Rolesville

South Wake 4A: No. 13 Fuquay-Varina (won 27-20) at Apex; No. 9 Middle Creek (won 38-17) at Apex Friendship; Holly Springs at Garner (won 42-6)

Triangle 6 4A: Athens Drive at No. 11 Green Hope (won 43-6); Riverside at Jordan (won 10-7); Cary (won 34-0) at Panther Creek

Eastern Carolina 3A/4A: C.B. Aycock at Eastern Wayne (won 55-30); New Bern at No. 12 D.H. Conley (won 42-7); Southern Wayne at J.H. Rose (won 70-28)

Big East 3A: No. 22 Fike (won 44-13) at Franklinton; Hunt at Rocky Mount (won 20-14); Northern Nash at No. 5 Southern Nash (won 49-0)

Big Eight 3A: No. 7 Orange (won 31-20) at No. 15 Hillside; Chapel Hill at No. 23 Northern Durham (won 52-6); No. 24 Northwood (won 20-9) at Southern Durham

Greater Neuse River 3A: Smithfield-Selma at No. 18 Cleveland (won 51-7); No. 6 Clayton (won 43-0) at East Wake; West Johnston at South Johnston (won 41-0)

Tri-County 3A: Harnettt Central at Southern Lee (won 50-7); Union Pines at Triton (won 52-14); No. 3 Lee County (won 55-0) at Western Harnett

Eastern Carolina 2A: No. 17 Kinston at No. 25 Ayden-Grifton (won 27-26); Washington (won 67-27) at South Lenoir; Greene Central at West Craven (won 37-30)

Eastern Plains 2A: North Pitt at Beddingfield (won 55-19); Farmville Central (won 38-27) at North Johnston; No. 21 Nash Central at No. 19 SouthWest Edgecombe (won 24-14)

Northern Carolina 1A/2A: Bunn (won 17-0) at Granville Central; Warren County at J.F. Webb (won 28-25, OT); No. 16 South Granville (won 41-14) at Roanoke Rapids; Louisburg at Southern Vance (won 34-14)

NCISAA 11-man: Trinity Christian (won 66-24) at Ravenscroft; North Raleigh Christian at Village Christian (won 28-6)

NCISAA 8-man: Southampton Academy, Va. at Arendell Parrott (won 48-6); Hobgood/Northeast Co-op (won 70-64) at Bethel Christian; Halifax Academy at Community Christian; Wayne Christian at Grace Christian (won 84-52); St. David’s at Rocky Mount Academy (won 43-20)

Other: Carrboro at Bartlett Yancey (won 24-12); Goldsboro at Clinton (won 21-6); Princeton (won 49-6) at Hobbton; Trinity (won 35-28) at Jordan-Matthews; Rosewood at Lakewood (won 35-14); South Davidson at North Moore (won 42-12); Chatham Central at North Rowan (won 49-6); No. 10 Tarboro (won 60-0) at Northside-Pinetown; Northern Guilford (won 31-10) at Person; Lumberton at No. 14 Pinecrest (won 34-27); Weldon at Rocky Mount Prep; James Kenan (won 54-6) at Spring Creek; North Edgecombe at Southeast Halifax (won 39-12); South Wake Home School at Word of God

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