Prep football playoffs: A look ahead at Friday's area games
Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part look at Friday’s eight state playoff games encompassing nine area football programs. Coming tomorrow: Clayton at Hillside, Rocky Mount at Orange, Northwood at Eastern Alamance and Hertford at South Granville.
Game-by-game breakdowns include playoff classification, East Region seeding and overall records. Today’s and Friday’s reports will be available online at www.heraldsun.com.
3-AA — No. 15 Chapel Hill (4-7) at No. 2 Southern (9-2), 7 p.m. — These Big Eight rivals are no strangers to each other, and conference champ Southern, coming off a 59-20 win over the fifth-placeTigers in the regular season, is the prohibitive favorite. Chapel Hill has battled injuries and bad luck all year, losing a pair of home games (17-15 to Riverside, 29-28 to Carrboro) it could easily have won.
Still, the Tigers don’t have the manpower to match up with the offensive juggernaut Southern projects. The Tigers have given up around 30 points a game (316 in all), while scoring 257.
Chapel Hill’s offense has produced some balance. The Tigers average 172.2 yards through the air, 127.9 on the ground and have scored 15 touchdowns in each phase.
But Southern’s numbers dwarf those. The Spartans average 540.1 yards total offense (279.9 passing, 259.2 rushing) and have scored 81 times this season — 50.6 points per game, actually.
Quarterback Kendall Hinton has a big arm and has passed for 2,978 yards (159 of 236), an average of 18.73 yards per completion and his TD-to-interception ration of 29 to 2 is phenomenal.
On the ground, Hinton leads a group of four with at least 464 yards rushing. He’s got 784, Will Cameron is next with 674, Jordan Brown has 588 and Toney Bass 464.
Receivers Maurice Trowell (59 catches, 1,179 yards, 14 TDs) and Derrick Mason (50-909, 11 TDs) each average more than 18 yards per grab, Trowell a remarkable 19.98.
Southern’s defense has been suspect at times, but with the Spartans offense clicking, it usually doesn’t matter.
4-A — No. 10 Northern (3-8) at No. 7 Wilmington New Hanover (8-3), 7 p.m. — Northern had a remarkable recovery from an 0-6 start this season just to get to the playoffs with a 3-2 that landed third place in a weak PAC-6. But the Knights never pulled an upset and will be hard-pressed to stay with a New Hanover team that’s outscored its opponents 357 to 192. Northern’s numbers are almost an exact opposite. The Knights have scored 192 while giving up 354 and average only 154.7 yards per game (35.3 passing, 129.4 rushing) total offense.
First-year Northern coach R.J. Wilson said he’s impressed with what he’s seen of New Hanover’s passing game, athleticism and defense.
“They’s had some success throwing the ball and they run an unorthodox defense, very aggressive,” Wilson said.
A Northern win tonight would be an upset for the ages, but the road playoff experience should prove a boost to the learning curve of the young Knights, whose roster was decimated by graduation a year ago and whose egos somehow survived the awful start to the 2013 season.
4-AA — No. 10 South View (8-3) at No. 7 Riverside (8-3), 7 p.m. — These teams’ records are not the only mirror images fans will be looking at tonight. Like Riverside, which relies for most of its offense on 2,000-plus yard rusher Joel Evans, South View eschews the pass for the most part as well, although the Tigers do spread around the ground burden more.
Junior Jeremy Cox averages 7.71 yards a carry and has 1,211 yards on the season, including 16 touchdowns for a team that averages 267.2 yards rushing and only about 68.2 passing.
If the Tigers are going to escape with a win, it will be on the ground. South View quarterbacks have completed only .348 percent of their pass attempts (40 of 115) for 750 yards, eight interceptions and four scores.
Defensively, South View has given up 209 points while scoring 280. Riverside has scored a lot more points — 376 — but has given up more —293 — as well.
1-AA — No. 5 Granville Central (7-4) at No. 4 Princeton (8-3), 7 p.m. — Two of the state’s better 1-AA teams will meet in this one. Granville Central has outscored its opponents 491-228 and Princeton likewise dominated the scoreboard 462-227.
There the comparisons end. The visiting Vikings of Stem have a balanced attack that’s produced an average of 422.5 yards per game (227.6 passing, 194.9 rushing). Princeton runs the football. And runs and runs and runs. Of the Bulldogs’ 437.3 yards a game, 308.2 come on the ground — 2,404 from back Johnny Frasier, who averages 11.78 yards per carry and has scored 35 TDs rushing.
The Bulldogs’ Michael Wooten has had some success passing, clinging on 92 of 172 attempts for 1,420 yards, 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Granville Central’s Jay Parker is hitting on .611 percent of his pass attempts (135 of 221, 2,359 yards, 29 TDs, 9 INTs). Corey Evans, a former Oxford Webb quarterback, leads the team with 149 carries for 1,086 yards on the ground, but two-way star Bryce Parrott makes the Vikings go.
In addition to playing a starring role on defense, he has 636 rushing yards and 13 TDs on 91 carries and is the second leading receiver (41 for 728, 11 TDs) as well. Dylan Beckwith has 42 catches for 811 yards and four TDs.