Middle Creek will be all right: There were some question marks about the Mustangs (1-0) entering this year after heavy graduation losses, but another hard-fought game, this time a 33-15 win, against 3A power Rocky Mount was a good omen. Rocky Mount (0-1) has played in two straight 3A title games, Middle Creek in two straight 4AA East finals.
Slow start, promising finish for Green Hope: Down 21-0 at halftime and 31-7 at one point, Green Hope (0-1) looked out of sync against Southern Nash. At least for three quarters. Two touchdown passes to Jordyn Adams and a few onside kick recoveries, and the Falcons made it a respectable 38-28 final. That’s not bad for a team with a lot of new pieces and a new coaching staff.
Don’t discount Millbrook: We know Wake Forest (1-0) is good. Barring an upset, there wasn’t much we were going to learn about the Cougars. Millbrook (0-1) competed for all four quarters against the Cougars in a 34-7 loss. At a crowded Cap-7 Conference table, Millbrook earns a seat.
Southeast Raleigh is young: At times, we look at teams that don’t bring back many starters and put a great deal of faith in the program’s history of churning out talent. But sometimes we should take a step back, and the Bulldogs falling 47-14 to a good West Carteret team after they trailed 14-8 after the third quarter shows room for growth.
Leesville Road gains confidence: Wakefield and Leesville Road entered the night with such similar profiles – new coaches of young teams in crowded conferences – that the winner of this game was automatically going to be a darkhorse candidate in their respective conference. That honor goes to Leesville, which won 20-13.
Clayton is for real: Thirty-two years. That’s how long it’s been since Clayton beat Garner in football. This was a game the Comets lost 50-0 last year after entering the game 6-1 (a loss that started a five-game losing streak that was snapped on Friday). The Comets have the experience and playmaking ability to be a threat in the 3A playoffs. Garner had won 24 straight in the series.
Same old Cleveland: A 58-31 win over a 4A team, Rolesville, looks a whole lot like last year despite losing one of the most productive players in the state from a year ago. That’s a good thing for Cleveland (1-0) and a bad thing for the rest of the Greater Neuse River 3A Conference.
Hillside’s back: New Bern was supposed to be new and improved with a bevy of returning players. The Bears were even picked to win the Eastern Carolina 3A/4A Conference. But Hillside’s 33-0 win is great news for the Hornets (1-0) as the schedule only gets tougher from here.
Same old Orange: Much like Cleveland, it’s a good thing to be consistent when you’re Orange (1-0). A 40-6 win at Northern Nash looks just like several of the final scores from the last few years, and it gets coach Van Smith his first win.
Jury still out on Jordan and Person: Person (0-1) only played one half of football, losing 7-0 to South Granville in a game called due to lightning. Jordan (0-1) went toe-to-toe in a 31-29 loss at North Mecklenburg, but what does that mean? It’s another close loss for a team that had a number of them last year, but it’s always hard to gauge Charlotte-area teams against Triangle ones, because they only ever meet in a handful of state title games over a decade.
Same old ECC?: On Thursday, D.H. Conley lost at Northeastern High in Elizabeth City 55-49 in overtime, and J.H. Rose lost 62-21. That brings the Eastern Carolina 3A/4A Conference’s top three picks in the preseason coaches poll to 0-3 combined and it suggests that high-scoring shootouts are still the norm. Last year, the ECC had the two highest-scoring games in N.C. High School Athletic Association history: a 77-67 game between Rose and Conley followed by an 83-68 game with Conley and C.B. Aycock.
Just wait till Southern Nash cleans it up: Southern Nash (1-0) had four touchdowns called back for penalties and still scored 38 points. The Firebirds went 11-0 last year for a reason, and a few fewer flags being thrown could make them scary.
Championship or bust for Tarboro: Tarboro beat defending 1A East champ Plymouth 49-7, which can only mean one thing: Tarboro fans need to clear their calendar for Dec. 9, the date of the high school football championships.
Nail-biters for first-year coaches: David Weathersby won his debut with Bunn on a last-second 27-yard field goal, 31-30 against North Lenoir as the Wildcats rallied from a 30-20 deficit. Southern Vance’s Darry Ragland had to survive overtime to beat Weathersby’s old team, Bartlett Yancey, 30-22. Southern Vance had lost 17 straight games.
We see you Pinecrest: The Patriots (1-0) stepped up the nonconference schedule this year, and right off the bat they had one of Wilmington’s best teams. Pinecrest shut out Laney 30-0 – that’s a Laney team that lost 7-6 at 4AA champ Wake Forest in the second round of last year’s playoffs.
You don’t want to see Richard McCollum, trust us: If Southern Lee kicker Richard McCollum is coming out for a field goal, it’s not a good look for the opponent. He nailed a 46-yarder last year to beat rival Lee County, and he booted a 35-yarder to win at Gray’s Creek in this year’s season-opener that had another 20 yards on it. Southern Lee (1-0) was down 14-7 with less than eight minutes left in the fourth quarter.
With PrepsNow ranking
Bethel Christian at Arendell Parrott (won 42-22)
New Hanover (won 62-21) at No. 19 J.H. Rose
Northampton County at Roanoke Rapids (won 30-22)
No. 9 D.H. Conley at Northeastern (won 55-49, OT)
No. 22 Southern Durham at A.C. Reynolds (won 50-9)
Western Harnett at Apex Friendship (won 46-6)
Southern Wayne at Ashley (won 38-6)
Apex at Broughton (won 27-21)
Athens Drive at No. 13 Cardinal Gibbons (won 42-19)
Southside (won 26-0) at Ayden-Grifton
North Lenoir at No. 21 Bunn (won 31-30)
Hoke County at Cary (won 31-28)
Hobgood Academy at Cary Christian
Rosewood at C.B. Aycock (won 56-26)
Carrboro at Cedar Ridge (won 21-6)
Word of God at Central Virginia, VA
Wake Christian (won 34-8) at Chatham Central
No. 3 Garner at Clayton (won 35-14)
St. David's (won 42-7) at Community Christian
South Johnston (won 13-12) at Corinth Holders
Rocky Mount Prep (won 21-0) at Creswell
Washington at East Carteret (won 28-27)
Kinston (won 27-22) at Farmville Central
Terry Sanford (won 35-19) at No. 17 Fuquay-Varina
No. 24 Southern Lee (won 17-14) at Gray's Creek
No. 5 Southern Nash (won 38-28) at Green Hope
Rocky Mount Academy (won 68-14) at Halifax Academy
No. 23 West Johnston (won 40-20) at Harnett Central
North East Carolina Prep at Harrells Christian (won 54-6)
Panther Creek at No. 2 Heritage (won 43-0)
Goldsboro (56-0) at Hobbton
No. 20 Holly Springs at Hoggard (won 48-7)
Eastern Wayne (won 35-15) at Hunt
Beddingfield (won 39-0) at J.F. Webb
West Montgomery (won 38-7) at Jordan-Matthews
Louisburg (won 41-0) at KIPP Pride
East Wake at Knightdale (won 36-14)
Wakefield at Leesville Road (won 20-13)
No. 14 Rocky Mount at No. 10 Middle Creek (won 33-15)
North Edgecombe at Nash Central (won 55-6)
No. 8 Hillside (won 33-0) at New Bern
Southeast Halifax at North Johnston (26-15)
Jordan at North Mecklenburg (won 31-29)
Community School of Davidson (won 32-13) at North Moore
South Creek at North Pitt (won 41-8)
Cannon School (won 47-7) at North Raleigh Christian
Fike (won 28-25) at Northern Durham
No. 7 Orange (won 40-6) at Northern Nash
Franklinton (won 12-0) at Northern Vance
Warren County (won 35-6) at Northwest Halifax
No. 6 Lee County (won 35-0) at Northwood
SouthWest Edgecombe (won 43-18) at Pasquotank County
South Granville (won 7-0) at Person
Laney at No. 11 Pinecrest (won 30-0)
No. 12 Cleveland (won 58-31) at Rolesville
Ravenscroft (won 48-27) at Sandhills Titans
Princeton (won 28-21) at Smithfield-Selma
Greene Central at South Central (won 45-27)
Spring Creek (won 22-6) at South Lenoir
West Carteret (won 47-14) at No. 16 Southeast Raleigh
Bartlett Yancey at Southern Vance (won 30-22, OT)
Plymouth at No. 15 Tarboro (won 49-7)
Enloe at No. 25 Triton (won 24-21)
East Montgomery (won 35-21) at Union Pines
No. 18 Millbrook at No. 1 Wake Forest (won 34-7)
Southampton Academy (Va.) at Wayne Christian
East Forsyth at No. 4 Sanderson
Riverside at Chapel Hill (ppd. from Fri.)