Northern Durham’s Cinderella second half of the season finally came to an end, but it took a last-minute drive for D.H. Conley to survive with a 42-39 win Friday night on the Greenville school’s home field.
The No. 1 seed Vikings (11-2) advanced to the third round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A playoffs. No. 8 Northern Durham, which started the season 0-5, won five of its final six and a first-round playoff victory to wrap up a 6-7 comeback effort.
Northern’s Jaylan Burton kept his team in the game with a punt and kickoff return for touchdown.
No. 2 New Hanover 24, No. 7 West Johnston 17: New Hanover (11-2) needed a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to rally for a 24-17 win over West Johnston, denying an upset bid in the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A playoffs.
Burke Estes tied the game early in the fourth quarter on a 10-yard touchdown run and then Keegan Santos gave New Hanover the lead with 5:18 left in the final quarter on a two-yard plunge.
West Johnston (7-6) moved the ball all the way to the New Hanover 6-yard line but Andre Wilson’s fourth down throw to the end zone was picked off, ending West’s season.
West Johnston held a 14-10 lead at halftime thanks to a short touchdown run from Jake Strickland and a touchdown pass from Wilson to Michael Holloway.
Wilson ended the game with 165 combined yards and Joseph Lama ran hard for 90 yards on 24 carries in the absence of the Wildcats' leading rusher Tony Mack, who suffered an ankle injury in the team's opening round win last week.
New Hanover will host Hillside in the next round.
No. 2 Cleveland 36, No. 7 Gray’s Creek 18: The Rams defense had its best showing of the year, stopping the Bears (9-4), who had just scored 69 points last week. Cleveland improved to 10-3 on the season and will host No. 3 Southern Durham next Friday.
No. 3 Rocky Mount 34, No. 11 South Johnston 20: Rocky Mount pulled away from South Johnston with three straight scores in the second half to take a 34-20 second-round 3A football playoff win over the No. 11 seed Trojans.
With the win, the third-seeded Gryphons (11-2) will host Morehead next Friday. Morehead upset No. 2 Havelock 42-35.
Rocky Mount never trailed in the game, but South (8-5) stayed within striking distance, trailing just 17-14 midway the third quarter. The Gryphons then scored the next 17 points before South’s Kavante Johnson closed out the scoring with a late 89-yard touchdown run for the final margin.
No. 2 Bunn 56, No. 10 Cummings 34: For the 12th time in 13 games this season, Bunn eclipsed the 40-point mark. This time it was in a second-round victory over Cummings in the NCHSAA 2AA playoffs.
Bunn trailed 7-0 before erupting for 35 unanswered points, beginning with an 18-yard touchdown run from Chris Bumpers on a fourth-and-one with 3:16 remaining in the opening quarter.
After a missed field goal by the Cavaliers, Bunn took the lead for good on Tevin Perry's 4-yard touchdown burst with 8:21 left before halftime.
The Wildcats (11-2) took advantage of three Cummings (5-8) turnovers in the opening half, all of which were converted into touchdowns
Perry finished with four scores, including a 29-yard run on the first drive of the third frame that pushed the Wildcats' margin to 35-7. Perry delivered 238 yards on 21 carries, marking his third outing of the season with 200 or more rushing yards.
Bunn will carry a 10-game winning streak into next Friday's third-round matchup at home against No. 3 East Duplin.
No. 4 East Carteret 35, No. 5 Granville Central 27: Granville Central ended its best season in school history with a second-round loss at No. 4 seed East Carteret, 35-27. The Panthers (9-4) were conference champions for the first time and won a playoff game for the first time before bowing out to the Mariners (11-2).
Bonitta Best, Michael Held, David Justice, Geoff Neville and Tom Shanahan contributed.