11/10/08 — Seven area teams qualify for postseason

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Seven area teams qualify for postseason

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 10, 2008 1:46 PM

Seven area teams learned their opening-round opponents in the N.C. High School Athletic Association football playoffs late Saturday evening.

And there was one surprise -- Eastern Wayne.

The Warriors, who ended regular-season play with three consecutive defeats, earned an at-large bid in the 32-team Class 3-A (small-school) division. Eastern Wayne (5-6 overall) thought its playoff fate had been sealed when it lost the draw if it finished in a three-way in Eastern Carolina Conference play.

However, Wilson Hunt upset county rival Wilson Beddingfield to claim the league's third automatic spot on Friday. Despite its loss to Charles B. Aycock, Eastern Wayne received the at-large bid based on a better overall record.

Playoff participants for the third time in the last four seasons, the Warriors travel to Northeastern Coastal runner-up Hertford County on Friday.

Defending 1-AA (large-school) state champion James Kenan (11-0) begins defense of its title at home against Wallace-Rose Hill. It's the first playoff meeting between the two schools since 2003 and a rematch of Friday's game won by the top-seeded Tigers.

Reigning 1-A (small-school) western champion North Duplin (5-6) drew the No. 6 seed in the western bracket and will entertain 11th-seeded Alleghany. Fellow Carolina Conference member Princeton, which has four wins for the first time since 1999, is the 12th seed in the west and faces fifth-seeded Lakewood. The Leopards reached the western regional final a year ago.

Rosewood (2-9) is the No. 15 seed and visits Creswell in 1-A east play.

In the 2-A ranks, Goldsboro (8-2-1) plays host to Edenton Holmes, while Greene Central (4-7) travels to Northeastern Coastal champion Elizabeth City Northeastern.

All games kick off at 7:30 p.m.