Cap-7 thrillers: With a healthy Tyair Smith, Broughton (2-4, 1-0) looked like a brand-new team and beat Southeast Raleigh (3-4, 0-2), scoring a season-high 35 points. Also healthier than a week ago, Leesville Road (3-4, 0-2) nearly took down Sanderson (5-2, 2-0) before Trent Pennix won it with a touchdown run in overtime. The Spartans have a knack for playing in close games and grinding their way to victory, but that’ll be tested next week against Cardinal Gibbons. Millbrook (4-3, 2-0), which seems to be improving each week, left no doubt against Enloe (3-4, 0-2).
Looking ahead?: Sanderson, Cardinal Gibbons and Fuquay-Varina all had trap games on Thursday and Friday night. Sanderson and Gibbons play each other next week for the Cap-7 4A lead while Fuquay-Varina will meet rival Middle Creek for the South Wake 4A opener and that, at this point, looks like it’s between the top two SWAC teams. All three of those teams wound up in much closer games that expected, but they got what mattered: wins.
Gibbons ready for its biggest game yet: Last year, Gibbons (6-0, 1-0) was all fired up for what was essentially a conference championship game against Hillside and had it won until a kickoff return for touchdown in the final seconds. That experience could come in handy this time around. “That was the real turning point in our season,” senior Jack Biestek said. “I think our team has surprised me and everyone else ... I think we can do something special.”
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The streak is over!: Here’s one way to stop a 24-game losing streak: beat someone by 55 points. That’s how Smithfield-Selma (1-5) ended its skid and got first-year coach Michael Parrish his first win on Friday as the Spartans shellacked 1A Hobbton (0-6). SSS left no doubt.
Orange’s near-upset loss opens the door: Everyone thought Orange’s trip to Hillside on Oct. 13 would decide the Big Eight 3A race, but Northern Durham’s visit to Orange next week feels like a Big Eight quarterfinal. Orange struggled mightily with Southern Durham (1-6, 0-2), needing a final-minute field goal to stave off a colossal upset. A week earlier, Northern had no problem with Southern.
Best conference top-to-bottom?: There aren’t many other conferences where it looks like we’ll have four teams jockeying for the conference title right up until the final week. Hillside (2-3, 1-0) will get Orange (4-1, 1-0) and Northern (5-1, 2-0) in back-to-back weeks, and then Northwood (5-2, 2-0) will take on the other three and likely control its own destiny to finish out the schedule. Of all Triangle-area conferences,
Kinston in control: The Vikings (7-0, 2-0) looked good in handing Greene Central (4-3, 1-1) its first Eastern Carolina 2A loss. Kinston has a bye next week and could be in for an even bigger showdown the following week with a trip to Ayden-Grifton (4-2, 2-0) on Oct. 13.
Much-needed win: For J.H. Rose (2-5, 1-1) to claw its way back into the state playoff picture, it can’t drop winnable games from here on out. A barnburner of a game at C.B. Aycock (1-6, 0-2), another tough-luck team, counts as any other win on the scoreboard.
Gaining respect: Can Goldsboro compete in the East Central 2A? Well, the Cougars are off to a good start with a strong performance against former 1A power James Kenan. It’s a tough strength of schedule, but the Cougars (4-2, 1-0) could easily pick up two more wins and be playoff-bound after an 0-11 season in 2016.
Faith Christian’s fast rise: Faith Christian Rocky Mount started a football team this year, and in no time the Patriots (4-1) have proven their worth. They held their own against Rocky Mount Academy, a perennial 8-man power just two miles down the road. With fans squeezing along the fences wherever they could, there’s a sense something special could be built here too. “We’ve been ahead most of the season. Once we fell behind a little bit, I felt like we panicked,” coach Russell Weinstein said.
Rocky Mount Academy shows resolve: A number of the best plays from Friday’s game between the Eagles and Faith Christian were called back due to an untimely holding or block in the back call on RMA. But the Eagles (5-0) pressed on and got the win comfortably. “I tell (the players) I don’t have plays for third-and-22 or second-and-17,” coach Terrell Hudgins said. “We got after it and we cut back (on penalties) and the defense stepped up big-time and we got through some adversity.
And then there were three: The Northern Carolina 1A/2A Conference voted another team off the island on Friday. The list of teams with an undefeated conference record narrowed from four to three as Bunn (4-2, 3-0) handed Warren County (5-2, 3-1) a loss. Next elimination dates: Roanoke Rapids hosts South Granville on Oct. 13 and Bunn on Nov. 3; Bunn hosts South Granville on Oct. 20.
Another Friday, another shutout: We’re more than halfway during the season, and if you had to count touchdowns allowed by Lee County (6-0) you wouldn’t even need a second hand – or a thumb for that matter. The numbers are staggering: six games, five shutouts and 27 points allowed, all coming against Hoke County. It would need nine more shutouts to tie the state record, however.
Dan Richards Cup gets returned: Overhills (3-3) may be 0-3 in the Patriot Athletic 3A/4A Conference, but the Jaguars are tops in Harnett County for the third time in four years after beating Overhills. The Cup goes to the top Harnett County team, and all four schools play one another each year. Triton had the honor last year.
PrepsNow ranking included
Riverside at No. 5 Cardinal Gibbons (won 31-9)
Harnett Central at No. 11 Fuquay-Varina (won 26-14)
Fayetteville Christian at Ravenscroft (won 52-0)
No. 20 SouthWest Edgecombe (won 54-21) at Currituck County
North Duplin (won 28-0) at Granville Central
Cummings at No. 3 Lee County (won 56-0)
Hobbton at Smithfield-Selma (won 55-0)
Overhills (won 17-7) at Triton
Graham (won 32-14) at Word of God
No. 18 Millbrook (won 49-14) at Enloe
No. 4 Sanderson (won 20-17, OT) at Leesville Road
Broughton (won 35-34) at Southeast Raleigh
Eastern Carolina 3A/4A
J.H. Rose (won 50-49, OT) at C.B. Aycock
New Bern (won 38-26) at Eastern Wayne
Southern Wayne at No. 21 South Central (won 69-6)
Big Eight 3A
No. 25 Northern Durham (won 38-0) at Cedar Ridge
Northwood (won 41-14) at Chapel Hill
No. 8 Orange (won 16-15) at Southern Durham
Eastern Carolina 2A
South Lenoir at Ayden-Grifton (won 63-0)
Greene Central at No. 17 Kinston (won 42-26)
North Lenoir at Washington (won 45-12)
Northern Carolina 1A/2A
Louisburg at Northern Vance (won 17-14)
Southern Vance at No. 16 South Granville (won 51-6)
J.F. Webb at Roanoke Rapids (won 42-8)
Bunn (won 56-35) at No. 23 Warren County
No. 14 Pinecrest at Richmond (won 28-7)
Eastern Alamance (won 42-7) at Person
Spring Creek at East Duplin (won 81-6)
James Kenan at Goldsboro (won 31-23)
Eastern Randolph (won 37-13) at Jordan-Matthews
Northampton County (won 32-24) at North Edgecombe
Albemarle (won 6-0) at North Moore
Chatham Central at North Stanly (won 58-6)
Rocky Mount Prep at Northwest Halifax
Jones at No. 10 Tarboro (won 61-0)
Princeton at Swansboro (won 53-50)
Harrells Christian (won 20-14) at North Raleigh Christian
Wake Christian (won 18-14) at Village Christian
Wayne Christian at Bethel Christian (won 36-6)
Rocky Mount Academy (won 30-6) at Faith Christian
Arendell Parrott (won 52-18) at Grace Christian Raleigh
Cary Christian at Southampton Academy, Va. (won 53-6)