High School Focus
LAST WEEK’S RESULTS
4AA - Hillside 36, Clayton 30
4AA - Hope Mills South View 20, Riverside 17
4A - New Hanover 40,Northern 0
3AA - Southern 40, Chapel Hill 6
THIS WEEK’S GAMES
With seeds, (records)
No. 5 Hillside (9-2) at No. 4 Knightdale (10-1)
No. 10 Cardinal Gibbons (9-3) at No. 2 Southern Durham (10-2)
NAMES & NOTES
Hillside and Southern both should be satisfied with where they ended up in the NCHSAA football playoff brackets. ... Mostly.
Seeded No. 2 in the 3AA East, Southern (9-2) could argue that its every it as good as No. 1 Fayetteville Byrd (9-2). And the Spartans could be bothered by the fact that, should they and Orange both win Friday, then Southern will be paired against a Big-8 team for the third straight week.
But it all pretty much is a wash. Consider that Byrd has to play 11-1 Wilson Fike in the second round.
As for Hillside (9-2), it might seem unfair that such a good team has to go on the road to Knightdale (10-1) after just one game at home. But of all the Eastern 4A teams hosting second-round games, all had the same number of wins or more compared to Hillside. The teams that advanced last week with the worst records? New Bern (9-3) and New Hanover (9-3), playing this week repectively at No. 1 Scotland County and No. 2 Hoggard.
One has to doubt that Hillside would trade places with either of those road teams.
Elsewhere, Orange’s pairing with Cleveland is a good example of the problems the NCHSAA faced when it did away with its “pod” system and instituted real post-season seeding this fall for the first time. Just three weeks ago, Orange was still undefeated and ranked No. 7 statewide in the 3A by the Associated Press. Now, here the Panthers (11-1) find themselves on the road against a Cleveland team (9-3) with a worse overall record.
The difference between the two seeds? Cleveland won its conference with a 5-0 league record. Orange went 6-1 and finished second in the Big-8.
Many people would argue, convincingly, that Cleveland’s losses to (7-5) Clayton, (5-7) Green Hope and (8-4) Riverside are far worse than Orange’s solo loss on the road at Southern Durham.
But, with a limited staff and a very short amount of time within to seed its playoffs, how many criteria can the NCHSAA consider? With less than 24 hours from the end of the last regular-season games to the announcement of pairings, the NCHSAA is tasked enough to consider overall records and conference finishes.
In the 128 games played last Friday, only 19 “favored” teams lost to lower seeds. Four were No. 8s losing to No. 9s. The biggest upset came in the 2AA West, where No. 16 Parkwood (5-6) defeated No. 1 Franklin (11-0) by a score of 35-17.
Southern is No. 1
Fans who showed up at Southern last Friday got a lot for their money: good football, a great variety of food at the concessions stand and an excellent show. Southern Durham’s Symphonic Soul of the South is the best marching band of any school in the Big-8 Conference, and arguably the best in the Triangle. And it’s a real marching band that plays while moving in formation, not one of the “strolling bands” that shifts, stands and plays one song at a time.
A good indication of the level of respect it gets: the S.S.O.S. band played Saturday at N.C. Central’s home game with Norfolk State.
Spartans dominate on the field, too
Oh, and by the way, the football Friday at Southern was pretty hot, too. Chapel Hill led 6-0 in the first quarter, but it was pretty much all Spartans after that. Kendall Hinton led the way with 110 yards and two touchdowns on just nine carries, plus 190 yards on 12-for-18 passing, including a 16-yard TD pass to Jordan Brown.
Chapel Hill turned the ball over twice in the red zone, the last time resulting in a 96-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Southern’s Marvin Tillman.
Evans ends up above 2,000
Riverside senior Joel Evans finished the year as the top rusher in the PAC-6 Conference and one of three running backs in the Triangle with more than 2,000 yards. Held to less than 20 yards in the first half Friday against South View, Evans got 104 yards and two touchdowns by the end of the night. That left him with 2,451 yards for the season.
Only two players, both of whose teams are still alive in the playoffs, have more rushing yards than Evans: Nyheim Hines of Princeton (2,622) and Johnny Frasier of Garner (2,698).
Eagles look to get even
North Carolina Central University defeated Norfolk State University 24-13 Saturday in the Eagles’ last home game this season inside O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium. NCCU (5-6, 3-4 MEAC) wraps up the season with a trip Saturday to Greensboro, where the Eagles face long-time rival North Carolina A&T (6-4, 3-4) at 1 p.m.
“It’s all mental from here on. It’s a new game ever week, and we can’t afford to take anyone for granted. We pretty much have everything put together; we have all the right tools. We just have to make sure each week that we’re ready to play.”
Adrian Jones, Southernlooking toward cardinal Gibbons in the playoffs
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