By John WilsonJohn.firstname.lastname@example.org
Regular season High School football is over and the playoffs are about to begin.
The North Carolina High School Athletics Association (NCHSAA) released their final brackets on Saturday afternoon and three local teams made the cut.
South Point, Stuart Cramer, and East Gaston all received at-large bids.
Here is the breakdown of who plays who and where this Friday night.South Pointvs East Guilford
The 16th seeded South Point Red Raiders will host the 17th seeded East Guilford Wildcats in the first round. The Red Raiders ended the season 7-3 and finished third in the Big South 3A.
The Wildcats finished their season at 7-2 and ended the year in second place in the Mid-State 3A.
The Wildcats will be a tough opponent. They have the ability to produce points and shut down opposing offenses.
Offensively East Guilford has put 40 points or more on the score board in five games, while the Wildcat defensive has held their opponents to eight points or less six times.
Players to watch include quarterback Jaiden Evans, running back Tyriek Boyd and wide receiver Khyair Lundy.
South Point has the weapons to keep pace with the Wildcats. However, to increase their likelihood of pulling out a win South Point will need to play strong for four quarters.
Several times this year the Red Raiders started slow only to finish like gangbusters. In the playoffs that might not work.
South Point will need to hold the line defensively and get their running game going early. Look for senior Tyson Riley to run hard.
Playing strong is something that South Point head coach Adam Hodge will stress as the Red Raiders get ready for Friday night.
“They have a good team,” coach Hodge said of East Guilford. “They have a good quarterback, a good running back and some big ole lineman. We are going to have to play well. Sixteen and seventeen ain’t far apart. I think both of us have good teams. I think it will come down to execution.”East Gaston vs Community School of Davidson
2021 was a good year for East Gaston football. The Warriors recorded their first winning season since 2015 with a 6-4 record. That effort put them in possession of third place in the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A.
EG was awarded the 24th seed and will hit the road to take on the ninth-seeded Community School of Davidson Spartans. The Spartans finished the season 8-2 and won the Catawba Shores Athletic Conference 1A /2A title.
When Davidson has the ball, they definitely like to put it in the air. Quarterback Jameson Davies has thrown for 1,462 yards this season with 16 touchdowns and nine picks. His top target is sophomore Tanner Mullins who has hauled in 10 touchdown passes this year.
A review of the schedule shows that the Spartans and Warriors had two common opponents this year.
In 2021 Davidson and East Gaston both played Thomas Jefferson and Bessemer City. The Spartans beat the Yellow Jackets 31-24 but lost to the Gryphons 51-15 while the Warriors beat Bessemer City 48-28 and Thomas Jefferson 42-37.
This game will come down to doing what you do best and stopping the other guy.
Davidson will throw the ball, and the EG defensive secondary will need to be on their toes.
The Spartans will also have their hands full trying to stop the Warriors running game.
Justin Hill and Markel McKinney have both ran for over 1,000 yards this year. Trying to stop the run will be a priority for the Spartans, but there may be a price to pay if Davidson choses to bring their safeties up to try to crowd the line of scrimmage.
This year the Warriors offense has a credible passing attack. If quarterback Trenton Sherill gets the call he can torch the Spartans up top.
Making the playoffs was something Warriors head coach JT Postell told his team that they needed to shoot for.
“We are excited to make the playoffs,” Postell said. “That was one of our goals going into the season. We know we will have a tough opponent in the Community School of Davidson. We know offensively they pose some challenges with the way they throw the football. Defensively they are very aggressive so we know we need to have a great week of practice and preparation”Stuart Cramervs West Charlotte
The Storm finished the regular season at .500 with a 5-5 record that placed them 5th in the Big South 3A.
Cramer drew the 27th seed and will travel it to Mecklenburg County to take on the sixth-seeded West Charlotte Lions. The Lions ended the regular season 6-3 and came in fourth in the Queen City 3A/4A.
Cramer and West Charlotte never faced the same team in 2021, yet they still have some things in common.
Both teams play in some of the toughest conferences in the state in the Big South 3A and the Queen City 3A/4A. The Storm and the Lions have both taken on some top-tier competition this year.
West Charlotte fields a powerful team that is strong on both sides of the football.
While there is no doubt the Lions will be a challenge, the Storm shouldn’t be short changed either.
Offensively Cramer is more than capable of putting up points.
Senior quarterback Justin Rocquemore can get the job done with his arm or his legs. Rocquemore is a game breaker. If he has a good day the Storm offense will be humming.
During several games this year the Storm defense has also shown that they can play some hard-nosed football.
Defensive end Arias Nash and linebackers Josue Sanchez and Daimean Fernandez are all outstanding players. This crew is gifted. If things work out they can really cause some chaos.
If Cramer plays smart football they have a real shot.
Head coach Ben McMillan believes his team is ready for the next level of play.
“We are excited for an opportunity to play another week,” McMillan said. “We are going to take this as a new season and chance to start over. We feel like we have a good team that can do some good things in the playoffs.”