By David Keever and Mike Powell —
Mike and David both went 9-1 in last week’s opening round of the playoffs. Better enjoy it, because each week gets tougher and tougher. Out of the ten games in tonight’s pick ‘ems list, at least five of them are 50-50 games.
That’s what the playoffs are all about.
Here we go with Round 2!
South Point at West Lincoln: MP: It’s been a heady week for West Lincoln football, with the program notching its first playoff win in school history and now hosting a postseason game for the first time. In the second round, the Rebels play a South Point team that has been up and down but remains a formidable foe because of tradition and playoff success. And the Red Raiders have their best player, Ray Rose, back on the field. Both teams are very good at running the football. The difference, I think, is on defense. South Point will make more stops and has the experience to handle the raucous atmosphere at Douglas C. Leonhardt Memorial Stadium … MP: South Point 28, West Lincoln 21; DK: West Lincoln 28, South Point 27.
Pisgah at North Lincoln: DK: The Black Bears gave 2A number-one seed Mountain Heritage their only loss of the season way back on September 27, and have won five straight games since an overtime loss to Smoky Mountain. The Knights have been sticking it to opponents since their overtime loss to Parkwood in week one. I see Pisgah being eliminated by a Lincoln County opponent for the second straight year … DK: North Lincoln 35, Pisgah 17; MP: North Lincoln 38, Pisgah 27.
Maiden at Shelby: DK: It was good to see the Blue Devils get over the hump after four straight playoff losses. But what is their reward, a trip to Shelby. The Golden Lions have won 5 state championships in the last six years. Maiden could be in for a rough night … DK: Shelby 42, Maiden 14; MP: Shelby 42, Maiden 20.
Newton-Conover at Reidsville: DK: If Maiden got the worst draw of the night, some might argue that the Red Devils got the second worst. I’ve heard some chatter that the Rams are not quite as good as usual, but I would bet that they are still good enough to win a state title. And Reidsville is one of the toughest places for opponents in the state … DK: Reidsville 45, Newton-Conover 21; MP: Reidsville 35, Newton-Conover 14.
Swain County at Bessemer City: MP: Swain County has the better record (10-2) in this matchup, but Bessemer City (7-4) has faced the tougher schedule outside of the conference and in its conference. I worry about Bessemer City having a bye in the first round, but the Yellow Jackets should to be ready to handle the Maroon Devils in a close one … MP: Bessemer City 20, Swain County 17; DK: Swain County 34, Bessemer City 24.
Charlotte Catholic at Hunter Huss: MP: This attractive matchup features the defending state 3A champs against a talented Huss squad led by Gaston County career passing leader Zo Wallace and a quick, attacking defense. As a sideline narrative, the matchup pits Huss running back LaMagea McDowell against his former team. It’s simply difficult to pick against the Cougars … MP: Catholic 27, Huss 19; DK: Catholic 24, Hunter Huss 20.
Burns at Hibriten: DK: On paper, this appears to be the best matchup of the night in the 2AA bracket. Remember when the Panthers had a running back by the name of McKinley Witherspoon, and he was the difference? The Bulldogs have Kujuan Pryor, and he is the difference … DK: Burns 32, Hibriten 27; MP: Burns 41, Hibriten 28.
Chase at Brevard: MP: The Chase Trojans have been one of the most pleasant surprises in the region, recording 10 wins while losing only to Shelby and Burns. If common opponents mean anything, Chase should be the favorite; the Trojans beat East Rutherford 55-30 while Brevard edged the Cavaliers 16-14. I am going with Chase to continue its sweet run for another week … MP: Chase 32, Brevard 28; DK: Chase 38, Brevard 31.
Kings Mountain at Statesville: DK: When the Mountaineers lost to Crest on the final night of the regular season and fell to the three seed in the Big South 3A Conference, who really got penalized? I’ll tell you who. Last week, West Henderson. This week, unbeaten Statesville … DK: Kings Mountain 35, Statesville 28; MP: Kings Mountain 38, Statesville 35.
West Rowan at Crest: MP: One thing seems certain: The Chargers will not come out flat like they did last week against Asheville Erwin, falling behind 14-0 early before waking up. In fact, Crest will need to be at its best through four quarters to get past a strong West Rowan squad that lost to undefeated Statesville by only three points (27-24). A win here extends the Chargers’ current win streak to nine … MP: Crest 35, West Rowan 30; DK: Crest 24, West Rowan 21.
Last week: Mike 9-1, David 9-1
Overall: David 105-25, Mike 102-28