Friday night forecast: Area teams gear up for post-season run
By Steve Roush
Published in Sports on November 9, 2006 1:47 PM
Friday Night Forecast? What a terribly misleading name.
High school football and Friday nights go together like peanut butter and jelly. Like love and marriage ... or a horse and carriage, for that matter.
As the song says, you can't have one without the other.
Or can you?
This season, we've had high school football games not only on Friday nights, but on Saturday afternoons (and evenings) and Monday and Thursday nights.
We even had a Tuesday game (remember that Rosewood-Hobbton battle in the mud?).
Friday Night Forecast, eh?
Tonight, which happens to be Thursday night, the state playoffs kick off for the North Duplin Rebels and the Princeton Bulldogs. We're told they're out of class on Friday, so it behooves the schools to get 'em in this evening.
We'll take their word for it.
The rest of the teams will hit the gridiron tomorrow (which is Friday night).
Here's your (Thursday and) Friday Night Forecast (and remember, we're right 70.3 percent of the time)...
Class 1-A -- South Robeson at North Duplin -- The Rebels have had a turnaround season. After only winning three games last year, North Duplin fashioned an impressive 8-2 record and finished in a three-way tie at the top of the Carolina Conference with a 4-1 mark. Junior QB Doug Lloyd has nearly 1,800 yards rushing and passing combined and 18 TDs this season. He's completed nearly 60 percent of his passes in a ball-control offense that features RB Michael Schilling (971 yards, 12 TDs) in the backfield. And don't forget about the North Duplin defense, a unit that is giving up just 188.1 yards per contest. South Robeson has speed on offense, runs a 6-2 defense, and beat North Duplin 58-0 back in '97.
Class 1-A -- Princeton at Hobbton -- The Bulldogs (2-8), back in the postseason for the first time since 2002, are led on offense by RB Gerrell Bogle, a talented back who has rushed for 920 yards on 222 carries. QB Matt Blackwell, who has 528 passing yards this season, returned to the lineup in the regular-season finale against Rosewood after missing considerable time due to injury. Hobbton takes an 8-3 record into tonight's game.
Class 1-AA -- Heide Trask at James Kenan -- The 11-0 Tigers are coming off a huge win at then No. 2 state-ranked Wallace-Rose Hill. Now James Kenan is ranked No. 2 in the final AP 1-A poll. The Tigers blanked Trask (2-8) 20-0 back in September, and the Titans haven't scored a point against Kenan in their last four meetings. They probably won't this time, either.
Class 1-AA -- Spring Creek at Pender -- Josh Wright started the year as Spring Creek's quarterback, and finished the regular season as the team's top back with 1,027 rushing yards and 10 TDs. As a team, however, Spring Creek (3-8) is averaging just 185.7 yards per game offensively, and is giving up 366.4 yards a game. The Gators won just one game in conference play this year, and have never won a postseason game (0-5). Pender, a smash-mouth football team, is 7-4.
Class 1-AA -- Rosewood at Ayden-Grifton -- These two teams met back on Oct. 6, and six Rosewood turnovers led to a 43-21 victory for the Chargers. If the Eagles (6-5) can limit their mistakes and not let Ayden-Grifton (8-3) break off long scoring plays (two Charger TDs went for 80 yards or more in the first meeting), this could be a very close ballgame.
Class 2-AA -- North Lenoir at Southern Vance -- The Hawks (3-8) slipped into the playoffs as a No. 16 seed, and they'll face top-seeded Southern Vance (9-2), the Northern Carolina Conference champion. This will be North Lenoir's fifth straight trip to the postseason.
Class 2-A -- Clinton at Greene Central -- You get a home playoff game, and you get the defending state champs. Life just ain't fair sometimes. Clinton is just 6-5, but four of those setbacks came against Thomasville, Wallace-Rose Hill, East Duplin and East Bladen. The Rams won a home playoff game last year -- winning one this year will be tough.
Class 3-AA -- Eastern Wayne at Burlington Williams -- The Warriors are another team that had a nice rebound year. After not winning a conference game the past two seasons, Eastern Wayne went 3-2 in ECC play and was 7-4 overall. Kendrick Best had a career week running the football last week, rolling up 342 yards and four TDs.
Class 3-AA -- C.B. Aycock at West Brunswick -- The Falcons (7-4) limped into the playoffs with three straight conference losses. RB Dontay Taylor needs just 8 yards to eclipse the 1,500-yard rushing mark for Aycock, and QB Thomas Pilkington has 1,814 passing yards and 20 TDs. West Brunswick was just 6-5 this season.
Class 3-A -- Southern Wayne at Hertford County -- Hertford County is 10-1 and is ranked No. 6 in the 3-A poll. Southern Wayne (6-5) is coming off an emotional come-from-behind 49-38 win over Aycock. Tristan Bass ran for 199 yards in the contest, had a couple of long punt returns, and batted down several passes while covering CBA's top receiver, Montez Ham.
Last week: 5-2 (.714)
Overall: 64-27 (.703)
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