High School Sports

Prep football preview: Leesville the team to beat as it rolls into Week 9 undefeated

Here’s a look at the week nine high school football players and games to watch, plus the schedule and standings.

Game of the week

Broughton (3-4) at Leesville (7-0)

Leesville Road had its back against the wall and Millbrook was throwing haymakers.

But Leesville survived, and escaped with a 19-14 win after four field goals by senior kicker Noah Burnette and a late interception from senior linebacker David Sohn. The game, though, was exactly what Pride coach Ben Kolstad expected in the thick of conference play.

“Everyone is coming for us and we have to be ready for the challenge,” Kolstad told The News and Observer after the Millbrook game. “But you know what, that’s going to make us better and get us ready come playoff time.”

Leesville improved to 7-0 overall and 3-0 in the CAP-7, and is the league’s only undefeated team. The next team looking to upset the Pride is Broughton (3-4, 1-1). The Capitals have split their last two CAP-7 games, and have dropped 12 straight to Leesville Road. But the undefeated Pride realize they will get every team’s best shot moving forward. Not that they have a problem with that.

“We love it,” Sohn said. “We love having that target on our back, get the best competition and make us better for playoffs.”

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Holly Springs (7-0) at Middle Creek (5-3)

The Golden Knights have won seven games in one season five different times since the school opened in 2006. Sitting at 7-0 now, Middle Creek stands between Holly Springs and win No. 8, which would be a school record. The Mustangs have dropped two of their last three games this season.

Millbrook (4-4) at Cardinal Gibbons (5-2)

The Wildcats had Leesville Road on the ropes last week, on the move for a potential game-winning score. Millbrook played its A-game against the Pride, but came up short. If they bring that same energy into Cardinal Gibbons this week, they could be driving for a win again this week. The Crusaders are trying to still battle for a top two finish in the league and the Wildcats currently sit one spot ahead of Gibbons.

Knightdale (5-2) at Rolesville (7-0)

The Rams improved to 7-0 last week and set a school record for wins in a single season. Most importantly, Rolesville improved to 1-0 in league play and will be tested this week against a solid Knightdale team. The Knights’ two losses are to Greensboro Grimsley and Wake Forest, two teams ranked in the top 10 in the state. Knightdale has played some big time programs and will head to Rolesville looking to pull an upset.

Week nine players to watch

Omarion Hampton, Cleveland

The sophomore running back only had eight carries last week against East Wake, but finished with 123 yards and three touchdowns. This season he has 1,167 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Amir Johnson, Cleveland

Teams know they have to worry about Hampton, but Johnson emerged last week as well, rushing for 118 yards and two scores against East Wake. The Rams now take both players into Friday’s game against Smithfield-Selma.

Talli Price, Cary

Stepped in at quarterback for the Imps, completing 20 of 34 passes for 272 yards and one touchdown against Panther Creek. Price also rushed for 73 yards and one touchdown.

Devin Smith, Riverside

Pirates’ quarterback Landin Sledge threw seven touchdowns last week against Hillside, Smith caught three of them and has 838 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns this season.

Jaylen Wright, Southern Durham

Against Vance County, Wright carried the ball 14 times for 168 yards and two scores, also caught four passes for 48 yards.

Xavier Rhodes, Southern Durham

Rhodes caught six passes for 102 yards against Vance County last week. Leads the Spartans in catches and receiving yards this year.

Sean Brown, Middle Creek

The Mustangs have a big contest on Friday against undefeated Holly Springs. Brown has been solid this season, passing for 1,499 yards and 17 scores, and Middle Creek will need Brown to be on top of his game this week.

Whit Kane, Heritage

Kane has been the top target for Walker Harris this year, leading the Huskies with 37 catches for 542 yards and seven scores this season. Heading into Friday’s showdown with Wakefield, Kane will look to continue his 77.4 yards per game average.

Parker Hayward, North Raleigh Christian Academy

Hayward, the senior defensive end, has seven sacks in seven games this season for the Knights.

Justin Rhodes, Northern Durham

Rhodes, the Knights’ defensive end, has 13.5 tackles for loss this season and should be a focal point of the Chapel Hill offensive staff.

Byrum Brown, Rolesville

Sophomore quarterback completed 17 of 21 passes for 371 yards and five touchdowns during a 49-14 win over Wakefield. He also rushed for 38 yards and one score.

Friday night schedule

Athens Drive (1-6) at Durham-Riverside (6-1)

Cary (2-6) at Jordan (5-2)

Cedar Ridge (1-6) at East Chapel Hill (0-6)

Chapel Hill (1-6) at Northern Durham (5-2)

Clayton (3-4) at East Wake (0-7)

Garner (2-5) at South Garner (1-6)

Hillside (2-5) at Panther Creek (4-4)

Northwood (4-3) at Southern Durham (6-1)

Orange (2-5) at Vance County (6-1)

Smithfield-Selma (1-6) at Cleveland (6-1)

Southeast Raleigh (1-6) at Enloe (1-7)

Spring Creek (1-7) at North Raleigh Christian Academy (2-4)

Wake Forest (6-1) at Corinth Holders (4-3)

Wakefield (4-3) at Heritage (4-3)


CAP-7 (4A)

Leesville Road: 7-0, 3-0

Millbrook: 4-4, 2-1

Cardinal Gibbons: 5-2, 1-1

Broughton: 3-4, 1-1

Sanderson: 3-5, 1-2

Enloe: 1-7, 1-2

Southeast Raleigh: -6, 0-2

Northern Athletic (4A)

Rolesville: 7-0, 1-0

Wake Forest: 6-1, 1-0

Heritage: 4-3, 1-0

Corinth Holders: 4-3, 1-1

Knightdale: 5-2, 0-1

Wakefield: 4-3, 0-1

South Wake Athletic (4A)

Holly Springs: 7-0, 3-0

Apex Friendship: 6-2, 3-0

Garner: 2-5, 1-1

Fuquay-Varina: 1-6, 1-1

Middle Creek: 5-3, 1-2

South Garner: 1-6, 0-2

Apex: 1-7, 0-3

Triangle (4A)

Green Hope: 6-1, 3-0

Durham-Riverside: 6-1, 2-0

Panther Creek: 4-4, 2-1

Jordan: 5-2, 1-1

Hillside: 2-5, 1-2

Cary: 2-6, 0-3

Athens Drive: 1-6, 0-2

Big Eight (3A)

Southern Durham: 6-1, 3-0

Northwood: 4-3, 3-0

Vance County: 6-1, 2-1

Northern Durham: 5-2, 2-1

Orange: 2-5, 1-2

Cedar Ridge: 1-6, 1-2

Chapel Hill: 1-6, 0-3

East Chapel Hill: 0-6, 0-3

Greater Neuse (3A)

Cleveland: 6-1, 1-0

Clayton: 3-4, 1-0

West Johnston: 2-5, 1-0

South Johnston: 2-5 0-1

Smithfield-Selma: 1-6, 0-2

East Wake: 0-7, 0-1

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Sports reporter Jonas Pope IV covers college recruiting, high school sports, NC Central and the ACC for the Herald-Sun and The News & Observer.