Heritage shows balance: Sanderson (2-2) took away Heritage (4-0) star running back Ricky Person for most of the night and kept him out of the end zone. But big plays over the top by the Huskies (4-0) were the difference. Duke recruit Gunnar Holmberg completed 10 passes for four touchdowns, including all three passes that Devin Grant caught. It’s a big moment for an offense that faced its biggest test yet.
Sanderson working on finishing drives: The Spartans put together some lengthy drives against Heritage, including one that was stalled inside the 5 as time expired on the first half (which Heritage led 14-0). Executing in the red zone will be a priority going into next week’s game with Green Hope (3-1), said coach Ben Kolstad.
Talent on display: At the Heritage-Sanderson game there were coaches on the sideline from N.C. State, North Carolina, Duke and Louisville (the Cardinals were in town to face UNC on Saturday). It’s rare to see representatives from four ACC staffs on the same sideline, but the two teams should put at least seven players into the conference over the next two years.
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Apex shines: The old “throw out the record books” saying that’s used so often for rivalries applied here. The Cougars (1-3) had averaged six points over the previous two weeks, while Cary (2-2) had averaged a respectable 28 points per game through three contests. Instead, Apex won its fourth straight in the rivalry after Cary had won five in a row, and coach Robert Graham is 3-0 against the Imps.
Middle Creek rebounds: It wasn’t a “must-win,” but the Mustangs (2-2) have two quality wins to go with losses to the PrepsNow No. 1 and No. 2 teams. There’s a chance Middle Creek can make a strong run.
Millbrook’s chances coming: Millbrook (1-3), which also has losses to those top two teams, and now Middle Creek as well, won’t be below .500 for much longer. The Wildcats are better than their record.
Another Friendship milestone: The Patriots (3-1) have their fourth win in school history, but more importantly have their first over a fellow 4A opponent. Panther Creek (0-4) was a conference opponent last year.
Let the Enloe hype begin: Look out: the Eagles are 3-1 with a winnable home game against Knightdale next week. Enloe’s win soured an opportunity for Athens Drive (2-2) to potentially go 5-1 in nonconference play.
Gibbons as a Cap-7 favorite? Winning at Cleveland (2-2) is hard. Holding the Rams without a point for a half, which the Crusaders (3-0) did, is almost impossible. Offense has never been a problem for Gibbons, and now it has a defense to match.
Fuquay-Varina stays steady: The Bengals (2-1) have quietly been handling business, with their only loss coming to Terry Sanford of Fayetteville. Next week’s game with Cleveland will be pivotal. A win could set the stage for a potential 5-1 start.
Clayton gets defensive: The Comets (4-0) are more than just big plays on offense. Clayton has allowed just 27 points over four games to start the year.
South Johnston snaps out of it: The Trojans (2-2) scored more points on James Kenan (1-2) than they had all season combined.
Knights come up clutch again: Three weeks in a row, Northern Durham (3-1) has made the winning plays late (and remember, the Knights were coming back on Fike before lightning made the game go final). Now it’s time to think of the Knights as a threat to win the Big Eight Conference.
Hard-luck Hillside: The Hornets (1-3) go into their first of two bye weeks with a third loss that went down to the wire – and the last two have been without Oregon running back recruit Jamal Currie-Elliott. To hold reigning 4A champ Dudley to 14 points is an eye-opening result for any team.
Southern Durham’s schedule: With a team this young going against an early schedule this tough, it’s no wonder Southern (0-4) is winless. Next week, against Wakefield, will be its last, and best, chance to pick up a nonconference win.
Miller makes Jordan history: Ben Miller is only a junior, but he is the all-time passing leader for the Falcons (1-3), which rolled to their first win after starting the year with three single-digit losses.
Red Wolves missed chance: Starting the year 1-2 isn’t the worst spot to be in, but for Cedar Ridge it comes with a price. The Red Wolves get a Cardinal Gibbons team that is on a roll next week, then will play three of the best teams in the league to open conference play .
Orange in control: The Panthers (2-1) didn’t need a second-half point to win at Rolesville. Orange has allowed back-to-back teams to top the 20-point mark, so that means the defense isn’t quite as dominant as last year.
Goldsboro’s turnaround: It’s hard to find a team in the PrepsNow area that’s improved more in a shorter period of time than the Cougars (3-1). Goldsboro was 1-10 last year and didn’t officially hire Elvin James as head coach until late July.
Look out for Spring Creek: The Gators (3-1) need just one more win to match the second-best total in the school’s history since it opened in 2001. However, being in arguably the toughest 2A conference in the state won’t make that easy when league play kicks off in two weeks.
Ahlers’ best game?: East Carolina quarterback recruit Holton Ahlers had perhaps his best game yet as a passer. He completed 23 of 26 throws for 327 yards and six touchdowns in three quarters for D.H. Conley (3-1).
South Granville’s scary good: South Granville (4-0, 1-0 Northern Carolina 1A/2A) led 34-0 after the first quarter and 54-0 at halftime of a game against a Northern Vance (0-4, 0-1) team that was not exactly a pushover over the last two seasons, going 10-12.
Raiders improved: There was a time when Southern Vance (1-3, 0-1 Northern Carolina 1A/2A) and Bunn (2-2, 1-0) almost always played with conference championship implications on the line. After Bunn won the last two meetings 51-18 and 51-14, the Raiders are closing the gap under first-year coach Darry Ragland.
J.F. Webb surprises: The Warriors (1-2) ended nonconference play with by far their best defensive effort. Webb had surrendered an average of 40.5 points per game over its first two contests.
Yellow Jackets let up a little: The magnanimous Yellow Jackets (4-0) decided four straight shutouts was just rude and let Hoke County (0-4) score the first points of any kind by a Lee County opponent this year. It was back-and-forth for a little bit, but Lee kept a zero where it matters most: in the loss column.
Pinecrest’s heartbreak: The Patriots (3-1) went to Charlotte and fell behind 17-6 going into the fourth quarter, only to take a 20-17 lead with 2:08 to go and then lose on a 1-yard touchdown run with 21 seconds left at Providence (3-1).
PrepsNow ranking included
Cary at Apex (won 35-13)
Panther Creek at Apex Friendship (won 42-14)
Halifax Academy at Arendell Parrott (won 60-16)
J.F. Webb (won 40-12) at Carrboro
Faith Christian (won 54-0) at Cary Christian
Wake Christian at Charlotte Country Day (won 19-9)
Jordan-Matthews (won 41-20) at Chatham Central
No. 7 Cardinal Gibbons (won 41-14) at No. 16 Cleveland
Cedar Ridge at Cummings (won 27-20)
East Wake at No. 17 D.H. Conley (won 43-8)
No. 15 Hillside at Dudley (won 14-7)
Athens Drive at Enloe (won 48-35)
Ayden-Grifton (won 21-7) at Farmville Central
North Wake Home School at Fayetteville Christian
Beddingfield at Fike (won 31-7)
Southeast Raleigh (won 38-20) at No. 21 Franklinton
New Hanover (won 41-38) at No. 18 Garner
C.B. Aycock at Goldsboro (won 19-18)
Hobgood/Northeast at Grace Christian Raleigh (won 65-51)
Eastern Wayne at Greene Central (won 40-21)
New Bern (won 23-6) at Hunt
Person at Halifax County, Va. (won 36-6)
No. 8 Clayton (won 42-0) at Harnett Central
J.H. Rose at Havelock (won 54-0)
No. 5 Lee County (won 55-27) at Hoke County
No. 14 Green Hope (won 27-15) at Holly Springs
Southern Lee at Jack Britt (won 38-24)
South Johnston (won 41-28) at James Kenan
Chapel Hill at Jordan (won 52-19)
Jones at No. 25 Kinston (won 41-0)
Broughton at Knightdale (won 23-21)
No. 20 Triton at Laney (won 26-14)
No. 1 Wake Forest (won 42-7) at No. 23 Leesville Road
No. 10 Middle Creek (won 34-22) at No. 12 Millbrook
Northern Nash at Nash Central (won 30-27)
North Johnston (won 25-22) at North Brunswick
No. 11 Tarboro (won 65-12) at North Edgecombe
South Central (won 40-7) at North Pitt
E.E. Smith (won 26-15) at Overhills
Rosewood at Pender (won 20-15)
No. 6 Pinecrest at Providence (won 24-20)
North Raleigh Christian at Ravenscroft (won 47-21)
Northern Durham (won 28-23) at Riverside
Granville Central at Roanoke Rapids (won 46-0)
Bethel Christian at Rocky Mount Academy (won 55-16)
Jacksonville (won 57-0) at Rocky Mount Prep
No. 9 Orange (won 28-21) at Rolesville
No. 2 Heritage (won 28-7) at No. 3 Sanderson
Southern Durham at Seventy-First (won 46-14)
Corinth Holders (won 46-3) at Smithfield-Selma
Northern Vance at No. 22 South Granville (won 54-0)
Richlands (won 26-6) at South Lenoir
Community Christian at Southampton Academy, Va. (won 52-22)
Bunn (won 34-30) at Southern Vance
North Lenoir (won 40-8) at Southern Wayne
Hobbton at Spring Creek (won 36-14)
North Moore at Trinity (won 25-12)
Randleman (won 49-22) at Union Pines
No. 13 Fuquay-Varina (won 34-13) at Wakefield
Louisburg at Warren County (won 27-14)
St. David’s (won 68-8) at Wayne Christian
West Carteret (won 42-7) at West Craven
No. 4 Southern Nash (won 49-0) at West Johnston
Northwood (won 28-8) at Western Harnett
Winston-Salem Prep (won 18-8) at Word of God