Game of the Week: Ashbrook (9-3) @ Crest (11-1): If there is not a game in your area or a team you pull for is no longer in the playoffs, this would be a game to go see. Crest took down Ashbrook by a score of 25-23 earlier in the year. So this game should be a barnburner. It’s hard to beat a good team twice in one year. Last year, it took overtime for Crest to beat Ashbrook 35-28. But when they met in the playoffs the Chargers crushed the Green Wave 58-14. Don’t look for that kind of result this time around as Ashbrook is much improved over last year’s squad. Last week’s 38-35 double-overtime win over Erwin was the Green Wave’s first playoff win since 2007.
My pick: Ashbrook 35 – Crest 28
Burns (11-1) @ South Point (12-0): This should be another good game for area fans to scope out. The Red Raiders were a little rusty last week coming off their bye week, but they pulled away with a 28-7 win over West Rowan. Burns ended North Gaston’s season with a 35-18 victory. The Bulldogs will have a tall task ahead in slowing down South Point’s triple-option attack. Last week was only the second time South Point was held to less than 30 points.
My pick: South Point 35 – Burns 28
Forestview (8-4) @ Freedom (11-1): Forestview is coming off their first ever road playoff win as they knocked out Carson 63-48. Now, they must travel to take on top-seeded Freedom team. The Jaguars pulled away last week after trailing 42-35. That was after leading 35-14 midway through the second quarter. Freedom blew past East Rowan 33-13. This game could do down to the wire. Don’t be surprised to see Forestview pull the upset as the Jaguars have been battle-tested the past four out of five weeks.
My pick: Forestview 35 – Freedom 28
Bunker Hill (8-4) @ Hunter Huss (5-7): The Huskies won a nail-biter last week in their 30-27 victory over West Lincoln. This was their first home victory of the year. This was also their first playoff win since 2006. The Huskies are looking to keep the winning streak going into next week. Should they win this game, they will be home again next week given that the top-seeded team in their bracket has been knocked out and they would have to face #9 Forest Hills or #16 Parkwood. But first things first, the Bears bring an aggressive running attack to the game against Hunter Huss. But the Huskies bring a highly battle-tested team to the field and look for them to be ready for this one.
My pick: Hunter Huss 35 – Bunker Hill 21
Maiden (11-1) @ East Lincoln (8-4): This will be twice in four weeks these two teams have met. As mentioned earlier, it is tough to beat a good team twice in one year. However, the Mustangs totally dominated Maiden 42-0. That is not likely to happen again, however. The Mustangs are expected to win, but look for the Blue Devils to put up a fight this time.
My pick: East Lincoln 35 – Maiden 21
Lincolnton (8-4) @ Carver (11-1): These two teams are no stranger to each other. In 2009, Lincolnton traveled to Carver and took down the Yellow Jackets in the third round of the 2A playoffs. In 2010, the Yellow Jackets traveled to Lincolnton and got revenge against the Wolves in a 41-27 game. The Wolves are hoping for the same results the last time they traveled to Carver. But the Yellow Jackets might be more battle-tested as they have faced four 4A schools earlier in the year.
My pick: Carver 31 – Lincolnton 21
Shelby (8-4) @ North Wilkes (10-2): Coming off their 58-8 victory over Mountain Heritage, the Golden Lions travel to take on a dangerous North Wilkes team. The Vikings edged Brevard last week 31-28. They could have their hands full with the speed that the Lions bring. Given that Shelby has played some top 3A teams and a powerful 4A team in A.C. Reynolds, look for the Golden Lions to be ready for this one.
My pick: Shelby 35 – North Wilkes 17
Cherryville (6-6) @ Starmount (9-3): Just like Hunter Huss, the Cherryville Ironmen got their first playoff win since 2006. They took out conference rival, Highland Tech, 42-13. But they will face a huge task going up to Booneville to take on Starmount. The Rams may have too much for Cherryville, though.
My pick: Starmount 42 – Cherryville 14