Wake Forest completed its fourth straight undefeated season – a regular season winning streak of 49 games – and ran its overall win streak to 27 in a row. The Cougars slowed down crosstown rival Heritage 38-14 in front of 10,000 fans at Trentini Stadium.
It was the second straight year the two teams had collided in the regular season with undefeated records. Both were 7-0 a year ago when they met at Heritage.
Defending state champion Wake Forest (11-0, 5-0 Northern Athletic 4A) got three touchdowns from running back Marquis Dunn (two rushing, one receiving) and two more on the ground for newly-committed Dexter Lawrence.
Heritage (10-1, 4-1) scored the game’s first and last points on runs by N.C. State running back Ricky Person Jr., but were limited to 146 yards of total offense.
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Wake Forest should be the No. 1 seed overall in the 4AA East bracket when the N.C. High School Athletic Association releases them Saturday morning.
Heritage figures to play in the 4A bracket, which fields the 24 smaller 4A teams that make the field (the largest 24 playoff team play in the 4AA bracket) and will get a first-round home game before hitting the road in the second round.
The only other Northern Athletic 4A team with playoff hopes is Knightdale, which defeated Wakefield on Friday.
Cap-7 4A: Cardinal Gibbons had already tucked away the conference title and Sanderson had the second seed outright. Leesville Road is likely to make the postseason, as is Millbrook. Gibbons’ last 11-0 regular season came in 2012, when the Crusaders were in 3A. Sanderson has now won 17 games in the last two seasons, the most in any two-year stretch in school history, which dates back to 1968.
South Wake 4A: By virtue of its head-to-head win on Friday, Garner is the SWAC champ and Middle Creek took second. Fuquay-Varina and Apex Friendship are on shaky ground as they await the brackets, despite both winning on Friday. Garner is on a six-game winning streak entering the playoffs and now has seven conference titles in the last eight years, including four in a row.
Triangle 6 4A: Green Hope already had the top seed, and Jordan the 2-seed. Athens Drive hopes to sneak into the playoffs despite having more than double the wins of two likely wild-cards from Charlotte. It’s the fourth conference title in Green Hope’s school history and first since 2014.
Eastern Carolina 3A/4A: It came down to a wild finale, but D.H. Conley took home the ECC title while South Central was second. It won’t affect their seeding – D.H. Conley was already a 1-seed in 3A and South Central the 1-seed in 4A. Eastern Wayne locked up the conference’s No. 2 3A automatic bid. It’s Conley’s third straight conference title, but the first of them to be outright.
Big East 3A: Southern Nash repeated as conference champs, and Fike had the 2-seed already. Rocky Mount, which has played in the last two 3A state championships, winning it all in 2015, is in good standing to receive a wild-card. It’s the third conference title for Southern Nash in the last four years.
Big Eight 3A: After Northern Durham defeated Northwood, Orange gets the 1-seed and Northern the 2-seed. Northwood and Hillside are likely to make the playoffs. It’s Northern’s first conference title since 2004, while Orange has now won three in a row.
Greater Neuse 3A: Clayton wrapped up an 11-0 season on Thursday night, while Cleveland defeated South Johnston for the 2-seed. All three should be in the playoffs. It’s the first time the Comets have ended a season undefeated since winning the state championship in 1989.
Tri-County 6 3A: Lee County defeated Brick City Bowl rival Southern Lee, which created a three-way tie for second. A draw was needed to determine the league’s playoff representative, which Triton won. Southern Lee and Union Pines likely needed to win that draw to play in the postseason. It’s the second straight conference title for Lee County.
Eastern Carolina 2A: West Craven won the title outright despite an upset loss to Washington in the finale. Kinston gets the 2-seed by virtue of a head-to-head win over Greene Central. Ayden-Grifton falls into the wild-card pile while Washington and North Lenoir will watch and wait. West Craven also won its conference title last year.
Eastern Plains 2A: SouthWest Edgecombe, Beddingfield and Nash Central are in a three-way tie for first. All three are co-champs, but SouthWest Edgecombe drew the 1-seed and Nash Central the 2-seed. Beddingfield and Farmville Central will likely make the playoffs as wild-cards. North Johnston is likely on the outside looking in. It’s the first conference title in Nash Central school history, first since 2014 for Beddingfield and third in a row for SouthWest Edgecombe.
Northern Carolina 1A/2A: South Granville ends the year undefeated for the first time in school history and wins its first conference title since 2013. Bunn will take the league’s 2A 2-seed. Roanoke Rapids is likely to get a wild-card, but Southern Vance and Warren County will have to wait nervously for the brackets to come out despite their winning records. Granville Central will get a first-round bye in the 1AA playoffs by virtue of earning the league’s 1-seed in 1A. Southern Vance snapped a 17-game losing streak this season, while Warren County won seven regular-season games for the first time since 1998.
NCISAA playoffs: Ravenscroft and Wake Christian were eliminated from the DII 11-man playoffs on Friday. In 8-man football, Arendell Parrott and Rocky Mount Academy advanced to the 2A title game next Saturday. Parrott will host both 8-man games: Halifax Academy and the Northeast Academy/Hobgood Academy co-op team will play in the 1A.
Other: Overhills clinched the No. 1 4A seed out of the Patriot Athletic 3A/4A by defeating Pine Forest on Friday. In 1A, Tarboro closed out the regular season with an 11-0 record and a No. 1 seed in the 1AA playoffs awaits the Vikings. Goldsboro went 0-11 on the field last year (picking up a forfeit win) but notched first winning regular-season record since 2012 and will likely get into the playoffs. Had Carrboro defeated Cummings, the Jaguars would have likely gotten a home playoff game by virtue of the Mid-State 2A’s 2-seed. Instead, the Jaguars will be staying home.
West Johnston at Clayton (won 51-0)
PrepsNow ranking included
Cap-7 4A: Millbrook (won 34-14) at Broughton; No. 4 Cardinal Gibbons (won 42-28) at Enloe; No. 8 Sanderson (won 36-21) at Southeast Raleigh
Northern 4A: Wakefield at Knightdale (won 27-13); Corinth Holders at Rolesville (won 27-14); No. 2 Heritage at No. 1 Wake Forest (won 38-14)
South Wake 4A: Apex Friendship (won 37-20) at Apex; Holly Springs at Fuquay-Varina (won 34-14); No. 20 Garner (won 28-26) at No. 7 Middle Creek
Triangle 6 4A: Riverside at Athens Drive (won 47-6); Jordan (won 33-23) at Cary; No. 10 Green Hope (won 52-20) at Panther Creek
Eastern Carolina 3A/4A: J.H. Rose at New Bern (won 53-47); No. 11 D.H. Conley (won 78-43) at No. 14 South Central; Eastern Wayne (won 60-54) at Southern Wayne
Big East 3A: Hunt at No. 16 Fike (won 31-6); Rocky Mount (won 40-12) at Northern Nash; Franklinton at No. 5 Southern Nash (won 60-7)
Big Eight 3A: Cedar Ridge at Hillside; No. 22 Northwood at No. 17 Northern Durham (won 34-7); Chapel Hill at No. 15 Orange (won 56-16)
Greater Neuse River 3A: No. 24 South Johnston at No. 23 Cleveland (won 53-7); Smithfield-Selma at East Wake (won 44-7)
Tri-County 3A: Triton (won 53-7) at Harnett Central; Southern Lee at No. 3 Lee County (won 24-3); Western Harnett at Union Pines (won 34-6)
Eastern Carolina 2A: Greene Central (won 31-19) at Ayden-Grifton; North Lenoir at Kinston (won 42-6); Washington (won 47-28) at West Craven
Eastern Plains 2A: North Pitt at Farmville Central (won 30-24); Beddingfield (won 10-7) at No. 13 SouthWest Edgecombe; North Johnston at No. 18 Nash Central (won 63-26)
Northern Carolina 1A/2A: Granville Central (won 35-0) at Louisburg; Bunn (won 28-7) at Roanoke Rapids; Northern Vance at Southern Vance (won 20-14); J.F. Webb at No. 12 South Granville (won 49-0)
Other: Cummings (won 45-15) at Carrboro; North Moore (won 48-14) at Chatham Central; No. 25 Pinecrest (won 34-16) at Hoke County; Providence Grove (won 22-20) at Jordan-Matthews; Goldsboro (won 40-7) at Midway; Person at Northeast Guilford (won 41-3); No. 21 Overhills (won 38-20) at Pine Forest; Rosewood at Princeton (won 28-27); Rocky Mount Prep at Southeast Halifax (won 50-0); South Creek at No. 9 Tarboro (won 49-2)
NCISAA D2 11-man playoffs:1-Statesville Christian vs 8-Cannon School (won 35-3); 4-Metrolina Christian vs 5-Charlotte Country Day (won 39-35); 3-Trinity Christian (won 66-51) vs 6-Ravenscroft; 2-Charlotte Latin (won 30-0) vs 7-Wake Christian
NCISAA 2A 8-man playoffs: 1-Rocky Mount Academy (won 35-16) vs 4-Faith Christian (Rocky Mount); 2-Arendell Parrott (won 54-40) vs St. David’s
NCISAA 1A 8-man playoffs: 1-Halifax Academy (won 46-20) vs 4-Bethel Christian; 2-Northeast-Hobgood Co-op (won 36-26) vs 3-Community Christian