The high school football regular season is over, which means that the playoffs are upon us.
Area teams West Forsyth, East Forsyth, East Surry and Mount Airy have first-round byes in their respective classes, but 21 area teams will kick off the playoffs.They’ll have to figure out how to survive the rainy and cold weather predicted for tonight.
Here are five games to watch in the first round of the NCHSAA playoffs:
No. 11 Central Cabarrus (7-4) at No. 6 Mount Tabor (7-4)These teams will play in the first round of the NCHSAA Class 3-AA West playoffs at Bob Sapp Field. Mount Tabor finished in a three-way tie for the Piedmont Triad 3-A conference title with Greensboro Dudley and Parkland.
Mount Tabor had three touchdown runs by three different running backs last week to help the Spartans defeat Southwest Guilford 26-6.
Brian McIntyre is the leading rusher for the Spartans. He has 850 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 128 attempts. The Spartans have had trouble scoring all season, but their defense has more than held its own, outscoring their opponents 198-125.
Central Cabarrus finished at 3-2 in the South Piedmont 3-A and tied for second with Kannapolis Brown.
Solomon Faulkner is the leading rusher for the Vikings with 816 yards on 139 carries and has scored four touchdowns. The Vikings have outscored their opponents 299-181.
No. 9 Alexander Central (8-3) at No. 8 Parkland (7-3)
The Mustangs will play their first-round game in the NCHSAA Class 3-AA West playoffs at Deaton-Thompson Stadium.
Led by first-year coach Laymarr Marshall, who previously coached at Mount Tabor, the Mustangs have had ups and downs all season. Despite all their success, they have been outscored 255-240 this season.
Parkland has plenty of firepower, led by quarterback Camian Shell and receiver Chase Rorie.
Alexander Central finished in a three-way for second in the Northwestern 4-A/3-A. Coached by Butch Carter, the Cougars have outscored their opponents 420-250.
The Cougars’ offense is led by running back Steven Montgomery, who has 1,647 yards on 147 carries and has scored 19 touchdowns.
No. 12 South Caldwell (4-7) at No. 5 Glenn (7-4)
Glenn will try to bounce back in the first round of the NCHSAA Class 4-A West playoffs. Last week, the Bobcats lost 34-7 against West Forsyth in a game that decided the winner of the Central Piedmont 4-A.
The biggest problem for Glenn last week was its inability to stop West Forsyth. The Bobcats had one of the best defenses in the area, but the Titans piled up 525 total yards of offense.
South Caldwell, coached by Marc Kirkpatrick, struggled in the Northwestern 4-A/3-A, finishing 1-5. The Spartans were also outscored 360-316.
No. 10 West Mecklenburg (6-4) at No. 7 Davie Co. (6-5)
After all the dust settled last week in the Central Piedmont 4-A, Davie finished fourth in the conference after its 49-42 win in a shootout against Reagan.
The winner of this Class 4-A West playoff game will play next week at No. 2 East Forsyth, which finished second in the Central Piedmont 4-A.
The War Eagles are led by dynamic quarterback Nate Hampton, who has thrown for 2,884 yards on 231-of-374 passing with 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Running back Tate Carney has 1,028 yards rushing on 150 carries and 19 touchdowns.
West Mecklenburg finished 4-2 in the So Meck 7 4-A, and the Hawks will come up from Charlotte to play in Mocksville. Running back J’Mari Taylor has 1,260 yards on 165 carries and 11 touchdowns to lead the Hawks.
No. 12 West Columbus (1-10) at No. 5 W-S Prep (7-4)
Winston-Salem Prep finished 2-3 in the Northwest 1-A with wins against North Stokes and Bishop McGuinness in the last two games of the regular season. The Phoenix will play struggling West Columbus in the first round of the Class 1-A playoffs at Atkins.
The Phoenix last won a playoff game in 2016, when it defeated Robbinsville. Winston-Salem Prep has outscored its opponents 430-331 this season.
The Vikings finished 1-7 in the Three Rivers 2-A/1-A conference, defeating just East Columbus.