#4 Rosewood at #2 Pamlico: For the 2nd year in a row, a Carolina Conference team has reached the 1A regional finals. Last year North Duplin reached the regional finals, and this year it's Rosewood. So far in the playoffs, Rosewood has defeated North Edgecombe (35-34) and Northampton County (28-14). Pamlico County marches into the playoffs with a 12-1 record (only loss to undefeated Tarboro). Pamlico's rushing attack is a beast! For this game, I'm picking Pamlico County to edge out Rosewood.
#4 Robbinsville at #3 Murphy: for the 7th straight year, a SMC team will represent the West in the 1A state title game. Earlier this season Murphy defeated Robbinsville (at Robbinsville) by a 27-14 score. You can throw out all records in this huge rivalry. Robbinsville has an incredibly great rushing attack, but they also have a decent passing game that will keep defenses honest. Murphy loves to run the ball, and they have 3 running backs that will carry the load. While Murphy's passing attack may not look impressive, they avoid mistakes. I think Murphy's defense is the better of the two squads and, as such, I'm picking Murphy.
#3 John Holmes at #1 Tarboro: Almost everyone who follows 1AA football are ready to engrave Tarboro's name on the 1AA state championship trophy. Not so fast, my friends. Holmes sports a 12-1 record (only loss is to undefeated 2A Northeastern) and the Aces has a vicious rushing attack. Holmes' defense is also very solid. That being stated, the Tarboro talk is for real, and the Vikings could beat almost anyone in the state regardless of classification. Tarboro has 4 running backs that have rushed for over 700 yards this season. However, the big difference is Tarboro's defense: the Vikings have allowed 45 points...the entire season. I'm picking Tarboro to win.
#4 East Surry at #2 Starmount: These two teams played earlier this season with East Surry besting Starmount by a 35-12 score. Starmount has scored only 16 more points than they have allowed the entire season. Last week, East Surry avenged their only loss of the season by dismantling Mount Airy 40-0. To me, East Surry is the clear favorite and I'm picking East Surry to represent the West in the 1AA state championship game.
#6 Southwest Onslow at #1 Northeastern: Last week Southwest Onslow knocked out defending 2A state champ Wallace-Rose Hill by a 29-20 score (odd fact: SWO and WRH played earlier this season and SWO also won that game 29-20). SWO has a wonderful rushing attack that has experienced success throughout the year. Northeastern also has a tremendous rushing attack that can go yard for yard with Southwest Onslow. Northeastern's defense might be a bit better than SWO. Throw in the home field advantage and I'm picking Northeastern to advance.
#8 Brevard at #2 Reidsville: The Rams have allowed a total of 93 points for the entire season. The Rams have a very balanced offense that has success running and passing the ball. Brevard has won three consecutive games against Randolph County schools (Eastern Randolph, Randleman, and Wheatmore). However, Reidsville is in Rockingham County (not that it matters). Reidsville has too much firepower and a nasty defense to matter. I'm picking Reidsville to win and advance.
#3 North Davidson at #1 Ledford: Wow, the top two teams in the Central Carolina Conference meets to decide who goes to the state championship game. Earlier this season Ledford defeated North Davidson (at North Davidson) 9 to 7. North Davidson has a good offensive mix between the run and the pass. Ledford has a very stout offensive attack to supplement a nasty defense. North Davidson's defense is also among the best. These two teams will be playing lights out on Friday night, and this game could really go either way. I'm picking North Davidson to win this re-match.
#4 Shelby at #2 Hibriten: Shelby stumbled out of the gates this season, and after 4 games they sported a 1-3 record. Since then, the Golden Lions have won 10 games straight. Shelby has one of the best passing attacks in the entire state, and they can move the ball down the field with any team. Hibriten, on the other hand, has one of the best rushing attacks in the state and rarely throws the ball. Both teams play very well on defense, but Shelby's defense might be more proven than Hibriten simply because Shelby has played better competition. Hibriten did win the 2AA state championship game last year, but I don't see them returning. I'm picking Shelby to win and advance to the state title game.
Last week's picks:
Jim 1A/1AA: 5-3, Jim 2A/2AA: 7-1
ConnerP 1A/1AA: 6-2, ConnerP 2A/2AA: 6-2
Overall in the playoffs:
Jim 1A/1AA: 31-9, Jim 2A/2AA: 44-12
ConnerP 1A/1AA: 31-9, ConnerP 2A/2AA 44-12