Five teams start playoffs at home, five on road
By David Williams
Published in Sports on November 8, 2004 1:56 PM
Ten area prep football teams will be taking the next step of their seasons Friday night -- the first round of the state playoffs. And in some cases, that next step is going to cover a lot of ground.
While five area teams will open the playoffs at home, five more will be making trips to begin play at a distant field. The longest trip will be for North Duplin, who was put in the 1-A (small-school) bracket and will open the playoffs as a 12th-seed at fourth-seeded East Wilkes, about 20 miles south of Roaring Gap in the mountains near the Virginia and Tennessee borders.
North Duplin will be making its 22nd appearance in the playoffs since 1972, and its fourth straight year in post-season play.
Eastern Wayne has the next-longest trip. The Warriors, who are in the 3-AA (large school) playoffs as a 13th seed, travel to Ramseur to meet Eastern Randolph, a seventh-seed. The town of Ramseur is south of Greensboro on N.C. 64 West, between Siler City and Asheboro.
This is the first playoff appearance for Eastern Wayne under coach Jeff Price. The Warriors last won a playoff game in 1978.
Northampton-East, the seventh-seeded team in the 1-AA (large school) playoffs, will host North Johnston, seeded tenth. The Panthers will travel to Conway, a small town West of Interstate 95 near the Virginia border.
The Panthers are seeking their first playoff win in six appearances, dating back to 1989.
Spring Creek, seeded 16th in the 1-AA (large school) playoffs, will face top-seeded North Brunswick, located in Leland, just west of Wilmington.
The Gators have met the top-seeded team in the playoffs for three of the past four seasons.
The final road team among the area's playoff-bound is Greene Central. The Rams, a 14th-seed, will drive to Jacksonville to meet third-seeded Southwest Onslow for a 2-A (small-school) matchup.
Greene Central has made the playoffs in eight of the past ten years.
Three of the five teams opening at home will be in Wayne County. Southern Wayne drew the No. 8 seed in the 3-A (small-school) playoffs and will meet ninth-seeded Nash Central. The game will be the first home playoff tilt for the Saints since 1972.
Meanwhile, Charles B. Aycock is in the same bracket as the Saints, but seeded sixth. The Falcons will host 11th-seeded Northeast Guilford for the first home playoff game at Hardy Talton Stadium since at least 1972.
Rosewood will make its 16th appearance in the state playoffs with a home game as the fifth seeded Eagles take on 12th-seeded Lejeune. The same two schools are squaring off in the state soccer playoffs later this week.
North Lenoir will open the Class 2-AA (large-school) playoffs at home, taking on 13th-ranked Randleman. The Hawks go into the playoffs seeded fourth, will be making their third straight playoff appearance under coach Wayne Jackson.
James Kenan received a fourth-seed in the 1-AA (large school) playoffs, and will open play at Bill Taylor Field against 13th-seeded Williamston. The Tigers are 13-12 in the playoffs since 1972 but are 8-4 at home in that period.
N.C. High School
State football playoffs
First round -- Nov. 12
Eastern Wayne (13)
at Eastern Randolph (4)
Northeast Guilford (11)
at Charles B. Aycock (6)
Nash Central (9)
at Southern Wayne (8)
Randleman (13) at North Lenoir (4)
Greene Central (14)
at Southwest Onslow (3)
North Johnston (10)
at Northampton-East (7)
Williamston (13) at James Kenan (4)
Spring Creek (16)
at North Brunswick (1)
Lejeune (12) at Rosewood (5)
(West) North Duplin (12)
at East Wilkes (5)
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