Preps Now

Blake: How I voted in the AP football poll going into the playoffs

Each week, The News & Observer high school sports writers D. Clay Best and J. Mike Blake will be sharing their AP football ballots online with a few thoughts on each.

Best is the sports editor for three community newspapers owned by The N&O – the Garner-Cleveland Record, the Clayton News-Star and The (Smithfield) Herald. Blake is the sports editor of two – The Cary News and Southwest Wake News.

This week, it’s just Blake as Best hits the road on assignment.

JMB’s thoughts: Thanks for nothing 4A. With Richmond’s loss, I had to step back and try to make all the pieces fit in terms who of who-beat-who and who’s-playing-the-best-right now. So I came up with Independence tops (easy decision) followed by Dudley, Scotland and Richmond. Southern Durham, if it was 4A, would be my No. 2, so I won’t hold the Scots’ loss to the Spartans against the 4A team. With Dudley and Scotland jumping up, others slid down.

Lake Norman is in for Mooresville, but I probably should have put in Hoggard, Seventy-First or Reagan.

Asheville bumps up in 3A while Northern Guilford replaces Erwin. I didn’t hold Orange’s close loss to Southern Durham against them – nor should anyone.

The 2A poll was just a matter of finding a place for Clinton after its win against Wallace-Rose Hill. I dropped out Carver High in Winston-Salem, a team that only lost to much larger schools.

Another thanks-for-nothing goes to 1A. I put Robbinsville No. 1 because you should always respect the champ that comes out of the far west mountains, whether it’s Robbinsville or more traditional powers like Murphy and Swain County. Wallace-Rose Hill drops only to second followed by James Kenan and Princeton. The 1AA East bracket is killer.

I think other voters penalized Butler, Orange and Wallace-Rose Hill a bit too severely for their last-week losses. All three lost close games either against a team getting No. 1 votes or a team in a higher classification.

I don’t plan to vote again until after the season.

After all, these polls really don’t mean anything anymore.

4A poll

AP poll JMB’s ballot
1. New Bern (9) Independence
2. Independence (4) Dudley
3. Dudley (1) Scotland County
4. Scotland County Richmond County
5. Mallard Creek Butler
6. Wake Forest Wake Forest
7. Richmond County Mallard Creek
T8. Seventy-First New Bern
T8. Butler Charlotte Catholic
10. Hoggard Lake Norman

3A poll

AP poll JMB’s ballot
1. Southern Durham (10) Southern Durham
2. Crest (4) Crest
3. Havelock Havelock
4. Concord Concord
5. Eastern Alamance Southern Guilford
6. Southern Guilford Asheville
7. Freedom Orange
8. Asheville Eastern Alamance
9. Northern Guilford Freedom
10. Orange Northern Guilford

2A poll

AP poll JMB’s ballot
1. East Lincoln (12) East Lincoln
2. Northeastern (2) Franklin
3. Franklin Shelby
4. Owen Northeastern
5. Washington Owen
6. Shelby Washington
7. Clinton East Bladen
8. Southwest Onslow Clinton
9. Reidsville Reidsville
10. East Bladen Lincolnton

1A poll

AP poll JMB’s ballot
1. James Kenan (7) Robbinsville
2. Robbinsville (4) Wallace-Rose Hill
T3. Wallace Rose-Hill James Kenan
T3. Princeton Princeton
5. East Surry (1) West Montgomery
6. Plymouth Plymouth
7. West Montgomery East Surry
8. Mt. Airy Swain County
9. Southeast Halifax Mt. Airy
10. Murphy Whiteville