The only reason it would be difficult to say that the Hillside Hornets are back following Friday’s 47-0 non-conference victory over Nash Central is because they never really went anywhere. The home victory moves Hillside to 2-4 on the season, but the record is misleading. Three of the losses were by less than three points and the schedule, including rival Southern, New Bern and Greensboro Dudley, was brutal.
UNBEATENS NORTHWOOD, ORANGE TO CLASH IN HILLSBOROUGH
There was little to no doubt that the area’s top high school football conference this season would be the Big Eight 3-A.
With returning state 3-AA champion Southern, state 3-AA semifinalist Orange and 2013 playoff teams Cardinal Gibbons, Northwood and Chapel Hill all in the fold, things couldn’t have looked brighter for the second-year conference.
Turns out, through four games, the Big Eight might have been undervalued. And tonight, the Big Eight jumps into conference play.
The top four teams in the league — Southern, Orange, Northwood and Chapel Hill — are undefeated (4-0) and ranked no lower statewide than 34th in the 3-A ranks by MaxPreps.com, the online partner of the N.C. High School Athletic Association.
One of those four is assured of suffering its first loss tonight as Orange, which has outscored its four opponents by a combined 144-40, hosts Northwood at 7.
Three of Orange's wins have come at the expense of 4-A programs from the embattled PAC-6.
Northwood has outscored its four victims 172-29 and is ranked 26th (3-A), Orange 13th.
For the second straight season, Hillside came up empty against Charlotte Country Day School 20-18 Friday.
Another tough opponent handed Hillside a disappointing loss on Friday night. Defending state 4-A champion Greensboro Dudley prevailed 12-9 thanks to a late fourth-quarter touchdown by sophomore quarterback Hendon Hooker.
Kestrel Heights records historic win ... Granville Central routs Northampton ... Person dismantled by reigning 4-A state champion Greensboro Dudley.
Brown already had offers to play football at East Carolina, Boston College, Virginia, West Virginia, N.C. State and Wake Forest — where quarterback Kendall Hinton, who threw that touchdown pass to him, appears to be headed.
LAST-MINUTE TD LIFTS SOUTHERN OVER HILLSIDE 16-13 AT NCCU
Southern junior Jordan Brown scored the go-ahead touchdown in the final minute of last year’s 3-AA state championship game.
On Friday he scored another winning touchdown in the final minute, and the stakes may have been just as high.
Brown’s 8-yard touchdown catch with 25 seconds left gave Southern a 16-13 win over 4-A Hillside at N.C. Central University’s O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium, breaking the Hornets’ four-year winning streak in the city’s biggest rivalry.
“Winning the state championship is huge,” Southern coach Darius Robinson said. “But unfortunately in order for you to get the respect in our state, in our city, in our region, we have to win a game like this. So it’s on the level of a state championship because that’s a great team over there.”
The Southern-Hillside rivalry always seems to come down to the final possession — the last seven meetings have been decided by a total of 31 points — and Friday’s meeting was no exception.
For coverage of all area football games played this weekend, click on View All to the right of Sports (above) and scroll down to High Schools.
It's Southern and Hillside tonight (Friday, Aug. 29) at 7:30 p.m. at N.C. Central's O'Kelly-Riddick Stadium — enough said.
In a long-awaited clash of state 4-A heavyweights, No. 5-ranked New Bern’s defense dominated No. 8 Hillside 12-0 before a capacity crowd at Russell E. Blunt Stadium Friday night.
Some of the top high school football talent in the area emerged from the Durham Eagles Athletic Association.
No. 5 NEW BERN VISITS NO. 8 HILLSIDE IN FOOTBALL OPENER FRIDAY
For a program that churns out top national college prospects like Dairy Queen fills soft-serve cones, back-to-back early playoff exits the past two seasons has Hillside High School angry and ready to do something about it.
The Hornets, who haven’t lost a PAC-6 4-A game since 2009 and haven’t lost to a current PAC-6 member since Jordan pulled off a 21-20 win on Sept. 22, 2006, hope to ride a dominant offensive line into state title contention this season.
The trip begins Friday, Aug. 22 at 7:30 p.m. as the Hornets, ranked No. 8 among 4-A schools in the state by CarolinaPreps.com, hosts No. 5 New Bern.
The voyage won’t be an easy one, particularly in the early going.
Hillside coach Antonio King has scheduled a nightmarish non-conference slate that includes reigning state champions No. 2-ranked Southern (3-AA) and No. 7-ranked Greensboro Dudley (4-A) to complete the Hornets’ three-game opening stretch.
PREP PREVIEWS 2014: This is the last in a series of previews of area high school football programs for the 2014 season.
In a change from past seasons, Friday night high school football results will be published in a special four-page pullout section that will appear in The Herald-Sun each Sunday morning during the season.
Complete coverage will be available online at www.heraldsun.com early Saturday.
CarolinaGridiron.com has ranked the top 15 high school football programs in North Carolina in each of four attendances classifications. Locally, Hillside is ranked No. 15 in 4-A, defending state 3-AA champion Southern is ranked fourth and Orange is ranked 10th in 3-A. ... Duke's Boutier falls in round of 32 at U.S. Women's Am ... Duke leads all ACC schools on academic honor roll ... Landon Donovan to retire ... Kevin Love to join Cavaliers, NBA sources say. ... Ex-UNC star Felton suspended by NBA.
Former Hillside and Riverside high school point guard Justice Kithcart, who announced just over a week ago that he would transfer to Winston-Salem Quality Education Academy, has changed his mind and announced Wednesday that he will play at Lynchburg, Va., Virginia Episcopal this season.
Veteran high school basketball head coach Thurman Jordan, most recently at Holly Springs High School, has been named boys' basketball coach at Hillside High School.
NCPreps.com has named quarterback Kendall Hinton of reigning state 3-A champion Southern High School to its preseason 3-A North Carolina all-state team. ... Hillside star OT Emanuel McGirt was named to the 4-A all-state team.