Neill's Nine

NC Prep Report writer Neill Kirkpatrick highlights the game of the week in each region, and picks one game as our statewide game of the week.

Region 1: 1A Gates County Red Barons (2-0) @ #4 2A Edenton Holmes Aces (3-0)

The Red Barons enter Friday nights contest looking to go 3-0 for the second straight year. This is the first of three straight road games for the Red Barons.

The Aces, ranked fourthed, haven't lost a regular season game since losing to Hertford County 19-16 on October 7th, 2003. Last week the Plymouth Vikings scored 28 points on Holmes defense -- just the third time in the last three years that an opponent nas scored 20+ points against the Holmes defense. This the last of a three game home stand for the Aces.

Gates County: scores 27 ppg and allows 14.5 ppg
Edenton Holmes: scores 30.67 ppg and allows 16 ppg
Players to watch: Holmes: DL Linnell Evans (DL: #28) and QB/LB Brian Leary

Region 2: 2A Newport Croatan Cougars (3–0) @ #4 1A East Carteret Mariners (2-0)

County bragging rights are on the line Friday night when East Carteret hosts Croatan in the  "Cubbies Battle of the Bear." The winner will win their second county title and Cubbies of Beaufort will host the winner for hamburgers and French fries.

Croatan is off to the first 3-0 start in their short history. This would be a big win heading into conference play next week.

The Mariners are looking to make it two in a row against their county rivals after beating the Cougars for the first time last season, 35-10. East Carteret has dropped down to the 1A ranks, which makes this match up a non-conference game for the first time.

Newport Croatan: scores 28.67 ppg and allows 8.67 ppg
East Carteret: scores 44.5 ppg and allows 9.5 ppg
Common Opponent: West Carteret. East beat West 48 – 0, week 1. Croatan beat West 25 – 6, week 3.
Players to watch: East Carteret: OL Travis Bastir, DB Antonie McNeil, LB Jake Mead. Croatan: FB/LB Daniel Burns, and K/P R.J. Allen.

Region 3: #5 3A Wilson Beddingfield Bruins (3-0) @ Southern Nash Firebirds (2-0)

Beddingfield has had Southern Nash's number lately, winning the last three games. This was also a conference game the last three seasons.

Southern Nash has allowed only six points all year, but they will face the best offense they have seen to date. Coach Brian Foster's Firebirds will need a flawless performance to pull off the upset.

Beddingfield comes in ranked fifth in 3A and have run thru their first three opponents. The Bruins need to show up ready to play or they will be in for a fight.

Southern Nash: scores 23 ppg and allows 3 ppg
Wilson Beddingfield: scores 39 ppg and allows 11.67 ppg
Players to watch: Beddingfield: WR/LB Alfrid Artis (WR: #18/ LB: # 21), LB Howard Artis (LB: #24), QB Bennett Johnson, RB/WR Jerry Atkinson, OL Lorenzo Wright. Southern Nash: OL Nick Willaims and RB/S Jermel Ward.

Region 4 #9 1A East Bladen Eagles (1-1) @ #5 2A South Columbus Stallions (2-0)

This was a huge conference match-up in past years but now it is just a big game between two top ten teams.

East Bladen rebounded last week with a 41-18 victory over the Richlands. The ninth ranked Eagles will need to avoid another slow start against the Stallions.

The Stallions are looking to make it two straight over the Eagles.  Look for them to try to pound the ball at the Eagles.

East Bladen: scores 23.5 ppg and allows 16.5 ppg
South Columbus: scores 21 ppg and allows 10.5 ppg
Players to watch: South Columbus: DL Greg Ellebe  (DL: #1, Elite 101: #25, 2 Stars, UNC Commit), OL Garrett Ward, RB Anthony Johnson, and OL Barrett Worley. East Bladen: RB Jerry Campbell, QB Dom Whittington, and DB Tripp Lancaster.

Region 5: #2 4A Winston-Salem Mount Tabor Spartans (3-0) @ #13 3A Winston-Salem Parkland Mustangs (3-0)

Deaton-Thompson Stadium in Winston-Salem will be rocking Friday night as the 13th ranked 3A Mustangs host the 2nd ranked 4A Spartans. Mount Tabor has won the last two match ups with Parkland.

The Spartans have been as good as advertised, especially on offense. The defense has played well, but has not faced a team with Parkland's speed and quickness.

The Mustangs escaped with a 37-26 win last week at Winston-Salem Reynolds and will need to play better this week if they are to pull off the upset. 

Winston-Salem Mt Tabor: scores 46.67 ppg and allows 15 ppg
Winston-Salem Parkland: scores 34 ppg and allows 13.33 ppg
Common Opponent: North Forsyth. Mount Tabor beat North 47 – 12, week 3. Parkland beat North 24 – 6, week 2.
Top Players: Mount Tabor: QB O.C. Wardlow (QB: # 1st, Elite 101: #7, 3 Stars, UVa Commit), WR Ryan Taylor (WR: #7, Elite 101: #37, 2 Stars, UNC Commit), LB Tripp Russell (LB: #17, Elite 101: #94, Wake Forest Commit), and OL Brian Ferguson. Parkland: OL Antwane Lyons (OL: #22), DE Terrance Harriston, and RB Shawn Porter.

Region 6: #6 2A Shelby Golden Lions (1-1) @ #14 4A Shelby Crest Chargers (1-1)

Shelby versus Shelby Crest is one of the great high school rivalries in the state.

The Golden Lions beat 4A Ashbrook last week 35-14 and face their third 4A team in Crest. Of course this one means a little more to them.

Crest's defense has been very good, but offensively the Chargers are still searching for an identity. Someone needs to step up and take charge. Will this be the game?

Shelby: scores 28 ppg and allows 21 ppg.
Shelby Crest: scores 17 ppg and allows 10 ppg
Common Opponent: Morganton Freedom. Freedom defeated Shelby 28 – 21, week 1. Feedom defeated Crest – 13 – 7, week 2.
Players to watch: Crest: LB Brandon Spikes (LB: # 1st, Elite 101: #4, 4 Stars), WR Dustin Woods, and K/P Doug Lowery. Shelby: TB Tavorris Jolly (TB: #15, Elite 101 #96,  UNC Commit), FB Arsenio Parks (FB: # 9), and LB Doug Scott.

Region 7: #8 2A Catawba Bandys Trojans (3-0) @ #11 3A Hickory Red Tornados (2-0)

This is the conference opener for both teams.

Bandys has played solid football all season. The Trojans have beaten two 3A teams already this season but Hickory is a cut above Lake Norman and Mooresville.

The Red Tornados needed two overtimes to defeat 4A East Burke 13-10 last week. Bandys is the one Catawba County School Hickory hasn't played recently.

Catawba Bandys: scores 30 ppg and allows 10.67 ppg
Hickory: scores 23 ppg and allows 8.5 ppg
Players to watch: Bandys: Matt Woodlief (Elite 101: #13, FB: #10, LB: #2, 2 Stars, Wake Forest Commit), TB Jamar Torrence, and OL   Jamie Frye. Hickory: RB Carlos Shade, QB Patrick Shelton, and TE Connor Hilton.

Region 8: #11 2A East Henderson Eagles (2-1) @ Black Mountain Owen Warhorses (1-1)

With both teams coming off losses last week this is a big game for both teams heading into conference play.

The Warhorses took it on the chin last week as they fell to AC Reynolds 40-7.

East Henderson lost a hard fought game to Asheville Roberson 16-14. Michael Angram needs 97 yards rushing to break the Henderson County career rushing record.

East Henderson: scores 34.33 ppg and allows 17 ppg
Black Mountain Owen: scores 16.5 ppg and allows 24.5 ppg
Players to watch: East Henderson: RB Michael Angram (RB: #8, Elite 101: 21) and LB Zack Minnick. Owen: FB/LB Cameron Clayton, RB/DB Ross Farrar – RB/DB, and K/P Danny Mann.

Game of the Week: #4 4A Greenville Rose Rampants (2-0) @ #3 3A Rocky Mount Gryphons (3-0)

Last season, the Gryphons beat the Rampants during the regular season, on their way to a conference championship. The Rampants returned the favor in the third round of the playoffs, on their way to a second straight state title. This should be a great High School football game.

The Rampants will bring their high-octane offense and stingy defense to Rocky Mount Friday night. This will be the first real test of the season for Rose.

Rocky Mount beat Southeast Raleigh last week 29-19 on the road. Coach B.W. Holt will have the Gryphons ready for their former conference rival.

Greenville Rose: scores 47 ppg and allows 3 ppg
Rocky Mount: scores 35.33 ppg and allows 14.67 ppg
Players to watch: Rose: TE/DL Morgan Randall (Elite 101: #44, DL: #8, UNC Commit), TB Maurice Weaver (TB: #23), and OL Charlie Craigle. Rocky Mount: OT Chauncey Perry, WR Brandon Arrington, RB Brandon McDonald, LB Akeem Williams, and QB Jason Tyler.

Honorable Mention: #5 4A Fayetteville Britt Buccaneers (3-0) @ #5 4A Hope Mills South View Tigers (3-0)

Can you say backyard brawl?

Britt comes into this game off an emotional 24-21 win over EE Smith last week. The trip doesn't get any easier when they travel down the road to South View.

The Tigers easily defeated Byrd last week 42-0 and should be rested for the Buccaneers.

Fayetteville Britt: scores 31.67 ppg and allows 15.67 ppg
Hope Mills South View: scores 30.33 ppg and allows 10 ppg
Players to watch: Britt: WR/S Alex Frye (Elite 101: #51, S: #2, 2 Stars) , OL Jonathan Felix (Elite 101: #93, OL: #10), DL Leon Hudson (DL: #12), LB John Markham (LB: #16), and LB Wesley Flagg (LB: #18, UNC Commit). South View: TB Greg James (TB: #11, Elite 101: #49), QB Jordan Lee (QB: #25), OL David Guy (OL: #20), and S Dominique Jones (S: #13).

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