Stakes higher tonight when Southern and Orange scrap to stay in playoffs

Nov. 28, 2013 @ 08:50 PM

WHEN SOUTHERN HAS THE BALL ...

Southern Offense |Orange Defense

C — Kalif Dean |DE — Mark Holt

RG — Eric Allen |LT — Jake Frederick

LG — Christian Howze |RT — Byron Stephenson

LT — Noah Chase |DE — Artrell Stewart

RT — Devonta Lynch | OLB — Bryse Wilson

WR — Maurice Trowell |ILB — Drew Lemaster

WR — Jordan Brown |ILB — Nic Schultz

WR — Derrick Mason |OLB — Collin Pope

WR — Kerry Ivory |CB — J.D. Brooks

RB — William Cameron |CB — A.J. Bradsher

QB — Kendall Hinton |FS — Michael Bolden

WHEN ORANGE HAS THE BALL ...

Orange Offense |Southern Defense

C — Adam Reynolds |RT—Tyler Herbert

RG — Austin Sykes |NG — Christian Howze

LG — Tyler Reitano |DE — Tahj Spivey

LT — Nick Gentile |DE — Montreal Cherry

RT — Joe Poole |MLB — Omal Sullivan

WR — Artrell Stewart |WLB — Dominique Mims

WR — Ky Muller |SS — Kameron Johnson

WB — Patrick Pettiford |ROV — Josh Manns

WB — Tay Jones |FS — Marvin Tillman

FB — Michael Bolden |CB — Jeremy Griffis

QB — Garrett Cloer |CB — Kaleb Barfield

SPECIAL TEAMS

Southern  |Orange

P — Gregory Washington |P — Brad Barbee

K — Leonardo Orozco |K — Seth Mathis

PR — Maurice Trowell |PR — J.D. Brooks

KR — William Cameron |KR — Patrick Pettiford

 |or Tay Jones

DURHAM — One area football team will advance to the state semifinals at Southern High School at 7:30 tonight.

Whether it’s Orange or Southern is the question.

The 3-A Big Eight Conference powers finished the regular season 1-2 in the conference standings on the heels of Southern’s 55-41 Nov. 8 home win over the previously unbeaten Panthers that clinched Southern’s first title in the new league.

It also gave Southern, now 11-2, the No. 2 seed in the state 3-AA playoffs, a seed that guaranteed the Spartans the home field for the first three playoff rounds, including tonight’s 3-AA quarterfinals — as long as they kept winning.

The Spartans have been rolling, stopping outmanned Chapel Hill 40-6 in the playoff opener and following with a heart-stopping 33-28 win over Cardinal Gibbons a week ago.

If Cardinal Gibbons’ ability to tweak its game plan and push Southern to the brink of elimination only a month after falling to Southern at home 45-28 is any indication, the Spartans could be in for a war tonight.

Orange, now 12-1, was almost run out of the stadium in the first 13 minutes of the Nov. 8 meeting with Southern, falling behind 27-0 with 11:20 left in the second quarter. But the Panthers didn’t quit and came almost all the way back before coming up empty on an onside kick with three minutes left, down seven at 48-41. The gamble set up Southern on a short field for the clinching touchdown.

But Orange did come back and the Panthers, who had one of the best defenses in the state for three-quarters of the regular season and continue to have one of the state’s top offenses now, pose a major challenge for Southern.

Southern has outscored the opposition 630-323 in 13 games, showing a tendency to let up at times on defense. Orange has a balanced, powerful double-wing offense that outscored its 13 foes 553-193. Interestingly, 119 of those points allowed came in games 10 (49-28 win over Cardinal Gibbons), 11 (55-41 loss to Southern) and 13 (59-50 win at Clayton Cleveland).

In the other 10 games Orange has played, it has allowed a total of 74 points.

If the “good” Orange defense shows up tonight, Southern’s fuel-on-the-fire run-pass attack will have to be outstanding to offset the Orange attack.

But Southern has the stars to get the job done.

Quarterback Kendall Hinton has thrown for 31 touchdowns and run for 12 more. His 3,239 passing yards (174 for 260, 18.6 per completion) and 1,070 rushing yards (14.3 per carry) are the first part of the equation. Backs Jordan Brown (651 yards rushing, 10.2 per carry), William Cameron (724 yards rushing, 9.5 per carry)  and Toney Bass (516 yards rushing, 7.5 per carry) keep defenses on their heels.

Brown has 12 rushing touchdowns, Cameron 10 and Bass seven.

Downfield, Hinton can look to a rarity — a pair of 1,000 yard receivers. Maurice Trowell has caught 70 balls for 1,370 yards and 16 scores and Derrick Mason has 62 for 1,083 and 11 TDs.

That’s 19.6 yards per catch by Trowell and 17.6 per grab by Mason.

Orange’s offense trails Southern’s in points-per-game 48.5 to 42.5, but the defense allows exactly 10 points per game less than Southern’s, 14.8 to 24.8.

The Panthers might not have the major college recruiting targets that Southern does — Cameron is committed to West Virginia, Trowell to N.C. State and Hinton has held a Duke offer since last season — but it does have stars.

Young quarterback Garrett Cloer has thrown for 2,300 yards in a running offense which features two wingbacks and a fullback. His coach, Pat Moser, admits that Cloer’s pro-style talents might be better served if not for the excellence of backs Patrick Pettiford (1,100 yards rushing) and Tay Jones (1,800 yards rushing). Each averages about 10 yards a touch on the ground.

Bottom line, the stars are aligned for one of the most entertaining games of the season.

NOTES — The winner of No. 6 seed Orange and No. 2 seed Southern will face the winner of Friday’s No. 4 Wilson Hunt (10-3) at No. 1 Fayetteville Douglas Byrd (11-2) matchup.

If Orange wins tonight, it will travel to the Hunt-Byrd winner. If Southern wins, it would host Hunt if Hunt wins, and travel to Byrd on Friday if Byrd beats Hunt.