Game of the Week: West Rowan (7-4) @ South Point (11-0): The last time these two teams met was back in 2008 in the 3A playoffs. The Falcons ripped South Point 35-7 en route to their first of three consecutive state titles. But this is a different South Point team and a different West Rowan team. Don’t look for that same result tonight in Belmont.
My pick: South Point 48 – West Rowan 28
West Lincoln (7-4) @ Hunter Huss (4-7): West Lincoln is in search for their first playoff win. Hunter Huss, believe it or not, is in search of their first home win of the season. All four of the Huskies’ four victories were on the road this year. The Rebels hope to snap their three-game losing streak in the process.
My pick: Hunter Huss 27 – West Lincoln 20
Forestview (7-4) @ Carson (7-4): Forestview is hoping to put their playoff woes behind them as they travel to Carson. The Jaguars are 1-12 all-time in the playoffs and have not won one on the road. Carson has won two in their eight-year history. The Jaguars stopped a three-game skid last week with a 65-8 win and hope to keep momentum going as they travel to take on the Cougars.
My pick: Forestview 27 – Carson 24
Ashbrook (8-3) @ Erwin (9-1): Ashbrook is another team looking to end their playoff woes. The Green Wave have not won a playoff game since 2007 when they advanced to the third round. Their last playoff win was a 41-28 victory over Ardrey Kell. These two teams met in the first round just two years ago with Erwin laying the hammer down on them 35-7. Ashbrook is looking for some payback though. Erwin was tripped up for the first time last week as they lost 21-7 to Asheville.
My pick: Erwin 21 – Ashbrook 14
North Gaston (6-5) @ Burns (10-1): North Gaston is in the playoffs for the first time since their 2007 state title run. Burns has not missed the playoffs since 2008 and have not gone one-and-done under Matt Beam’s tenure. The Wildcats have a tall mountain to climb as they travel to face the Bulldogs.
My pick: Burns 34 – North Gaston 17
Hickory Ridge (4-7) @ Crest (10-1): The Chargers have won their first conference title since 2006 when they split the Big South 4A/3A with East Gaston. That’s also their first outright title since 2004 when they won their second straight 3AA state title. The Chargers should not have any trouble with the struggling Ragin’ Bulls of Hickory Ridge.
My pick: Crest 42 – Hickory Ridge 7
Bandys (5-6) @ East Lincoln (7-4): East Lincoln begins the defense of their state title tonight as they host conference foe, Bandys. The Mustangs routed the Trojans 55-26 earlier this year and there is little reason to believe that can't do it again tonight. The Trojans have had their share of ups and downs this year. The Mustangs since their 44-27 loss to Forestview (their only on-the-field loss) have been consistent and have been getting better each and every week.
My pick: East Lincoln 48 - Bandys 21
Lincolnton (7-4) @ Thomasville (5-6): A rematch from last year is in the making as Lincolnton travels to Thomasville. The Bulldogs booted the Wolves from the playoffs last year with a 55-14 rout. Lincolnton will try and keep that from happening again. They will also try and eradicate the bitter taste from last week’s 42-14 drubbing at the hands of Maiden. This could be a dogfight.
My pick: Lincolnton 30 – Thomasville 27
Mountain Heritage (7-4) @ Shelby (7-4): This looks like a catfight in the making. The Golden Lions have lost their last two home games. The Cougars are hoping to add to that as they visit Shelby. The Cougars have not lost on the road yet this year. But they probably have not faced a team as strong as Shelby. They usually peak this time of year and this year looks no different.
My pick: Shelby 34 – Mountain Heritage 27
Bessemer City (6-5) @ Avery County (4-7): Bessemer City saw their four-game winning streak and their chances for an outright conference title fall last week as they lost 28-27 to archrival, Cherryville. Now, they are looking to rebound from that as they travel to Avery County. The Vikings have lost four of their last five games heading into tonight. The Yellow Jackets should have the edge in this one.
My pick: Bessemer City 34 – Avery County 24
Highland Tech (1-10) @ Cherryville (5-6): Cherryville earned a share of the Southern Piedmont conference title last week with a 28-27 victory over Bessemer City. Now they are looking to turn that success into a playoff victory. They have not won a playoff game since Keith Fox’s first season as head coach when they came away with wins over Swain County and Jordan-Matthews. They face conference foe, Highland Tech. Cherryville should take this game easily.
My pick: Cherryville 47 – Highland Tech 6