Raleigh (N.C.) Leesville Road vs. Apex (N.C.) Middle Creek
This second round playoff showdown between two of the top teams in the Triangle area did not disappoint. Leesville Road moved to 12-0 with a 37-30 victory over Middle Creek, while the Mustangs ended the season with a 10-2 record. Leesville Road junior Braxton Berrios will play receiver in college, but lined up all over the field on Friday night. Berrios finished the game with 95 yards rushing and two touchdowns on offense. Defensively, he had an interception and a fumble recovery. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Berrios is a tremendous athlete, who is a threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball. The Leesville star has great quickness and good agility. Berrios does a nice job of making defenders miss and is extremely dangerous in the open field. On the recruiting front, he recently picked up an offer from South Carolina and he appears the really like the Gamecocks. With that said, he made it clear that he is not ready to name any favorites. Berrios has eight scholarship offers, but said he will wait and focus on recruiting after the season. Leesville Road will take on undefeated Garner next weekend in the third round of the playoffs.
Middle Creek senior quarterback David Salmon did not have his best game (14-30 for 195 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions). Regardless, Salmon had a great season. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound signal-caller threw for over 3,000 yards and 37 touchdowns. He was also named Tri-9 Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Although, he is not attracting interest from many big schools, look for some school to get a very good player on Signing Day.
Middle Creek junior wide receiver Curtis Burston injured his ankle a few weeks ago, but still played Friday night. Burston was clearly not 100 percent, but there is a lot to like when it comes to his game. He is a big, physical receiver that has good hands. At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Burston is a tough matchup for most high school defensive backs. Over the next few months, look for his recruitment to pick up. He is attracting interest from several ACC and SEC schools.
Kristen Kenney, East Field Reporter
Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside vs Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith
Despite being hit with injuries the Oscar Smith Tigers defeated Bayside en route to the Eastern Region semis. Offensive playmaker and UVA commit Zach Jones suffered an ankle sprain but still showed up to lead his Tigers to a 35-12 victory, but he didn't do it without the help of highly-touted 2014 lineman Andrew Brown. Brown didn't let a bruised knee slow him down. When his backup got injured, Brown came into the game showing up big on defense, getting two sacks.
Bayside's trio of signal caller Deion Stitt, running back Taquan Mizzell and wide receiver/defensive back Quin Blanding could not get much going on offense. Mizzell, who saw time on defense this game, finished with 175 yards on 20 carries and scored Bayside's only two touchdowns. Mizzell is the spark, he is exciting to watch. Blanding, a two-way player, had five catches for 61 yards on offense, and Oscar Smith was not about to throw it his way while he was in the backfield. Blanding is a special player, and will only get bigger, stronger and faster in the next year. This game showed that the 2014 recruiting class is loaded with game-changers.
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