It was a wild year in the Northern Carolina Conference, right down to the last week. Roanoke Rapids won the league but was shocked by a 14-0 loss to South Granville in the regular-season finale.
South Granville, which also defeated Bunn, was kicking itself for losses to Franklinton and Warren County. Warren County was trying to figure out how it lost to Southern Vance. Franklinton was regretting a three-point loss to Warren County.
Just as last year, this 2A league figures to have parity again.
Sorting out the field
Favorite: Roanoke Rapids. But Bunn will be the biggest challenger.
Dark horse: Franklinton. The Red Rams have been building a steady program under coach Jeremy Buck.
Underdog: Southern Vance. The Raiders went 1-10 but did upset Warren County.
Seven players to know
Marcus Allen, Roanoke Rapids: Had 144 tackles, 11 for loss.
Dylan Allen, Roanoke Rapids: Had 145 tackles, 7.5 for loss.
Earl Green, South Granville: The Vikings fullback bulldozed his way to 1,245 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns.
D.J. Jones, Roanoke Rapids: Junior running back had 1,629 yards rushing with 14 touchdowns.
Ian Land, Bunn: One of the league’s best big bodies lines up at tight end and defensive end.
Tevin Perry, Bunn: Senior had 478 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns in six games, will now get lion’s share of carries.
Brandin Robinson, Warren County: All-around player had 3 interceptions on defense, 486 total offensive yards.
Games to watch
Aug. 21, Lee County at Warren County: The Eagles – one of the state’s smallest 2A teams – face one of the largest in 3A.
Sept. 9, Bunn at Southern Nash: A Bunn win here sends a clear signal that the Wildcats are as good as advertised.
Oct. 9, South Granville at Franklinton: The winner gets a big leg up to start NCC play.
Oct. 16, Roanoke Rapids at Bunn: Could this be the de facto conference championship game?
One statement, one question
Roanoke Rapids (10-4, 4-1): Roanoke Rapids loses dual-threat QB De’Juan Walker, who caught more interceptions on defense (4) than he threw on offense (three). How do you replace that?
South Granville (7-5, 3-2): The Vikings will be one of the smallest teams in the league. Can morale stay high after a rigorous nonconference schedule?
Bunn (8-5, 3-2): There’s never a lack of talent at tradition-rich Bunn. Is the defense ready to take the next step?
Warren County (6-7, 2-3): The Eagles have the most size and use it to their advantage. Is a deep 2A playoff run in the works?
Franklinton (7-5, 2-3): Red Rams are the wild-card in the league. Could this be their first conference title since 1983?
Southern Vance (1-10, 1-4): Always athletic, the Vikings are looking to rebound. Can cut down on turnovers and compete?