By David Keever and Mike Powell —
Round 4 of the NCHSAA Playoffs is tonight, and the winners will advance to next week’s state championship games. As much as we’d like to see a few upsets this evening, don’t count on it.
Here we go!
Kings Mountain at Charlotte Catholic
DK: After I saw the Mountaineers dismantle Shelby in a 42-17 beatdown on September 20, I thought that there was no way anybody was going to beat this team. Little did I know that Kings Mountain would lose two games in the Big South 3A Conference, at Hunter Huss and at Crest, and enter the playoffs as a tenth seed.
Charlotte Catholic was just the opposite. They started the season winning just two of their first five games. First they lost to teams out of Maryland and Louisiana while only giving up a total of 14 points in those two contests, but then got hammered at Weddington 45-0. At that point, some began to write the Cougars off. We should have learned our lesson by now.
The Mountaineers have been road warriors in the 3A playoffs, with wins at West Henderson, Statesville and A.C. Reynolds. Catholic cruised past Forestview and Hunter Huss, and just last week blew out a West Rowan team 42-7 that had knocked out top-seeded Crest the prior week.
In last year’s highly anticipated contest between these same two teams in the same round, it was all Cougars in a 30-7 3A West Regional victory. Should we really expect any different?
DK: Charlotte Catholic 28, Kings Mountain 21; MP: Charlotte Catholic 24, Kings Mountain 17
Burns at Shelby
MP: The yellow brick road to a state title seems to go through Shelby almost every year, and that is the case for this 2AA semifinal matchup between county rivals. The game has a number of storylines. Of course, there is the familiarity of the programs, with the knowledge that the winner is moving on to the big one next weekend at Wake Forest. Another is the fact that former Shelby assistant David Devine is facing his old team in the biggest game of his four-year stint at Burns, his alma mater. Finally, there is the situation of two conference opponents meeting up again in the postseason. In a Southwestern 2A Conference game in October, Shelby beat Burns 26-13. While that game was competitive, the Golden Lions were in control throughout, leading 26-7 in the second half. Most of the time, the team that wins the regular season meeting wins the playoff game too. MP: Shelby 35, Burns 20; DK: Shelby 38, Burns 21
West Stokes at Reidsville
Can anyone in 2A really beat the Rams?
DK: Reidsville 35, West Stokes 14; MP: Reidsville 31, West Stokes 14
Salisbury at Randleman
These two are playing for the 2AA East championship. I’m no geography major, but …
DK: Randleman 35, Salisbury 20; MP: Randleman 20, Salisbury 14
Watauga at Weddington
Who’s got the biggest “W”?
DK: Weddington 38, Watauga 24; MP: Weddington 27, Watauga 24
Thomas Jefferson at Robbinsville
The Black Knights have probably played in more playoff games in their history than Thomas Jefferson has total games.
DK: Robbinsville 34, Thomas Jefferson 21; MP: Robbinsville 34, Thomas Jefferson 28
Mitchell at East Surry
This could be the best matchup of the night in N.C.
DK: East Surry 42, Mitchell 38; MP: East Surry 42, Mitchell 26
Northeastern at Clinton
Two traditional powers go at it in this 2A East matchup.
DK: Clinton 27, Northeastern 20; MP: Clinton 27, Northeastern 17
East Forsyth at Grimsley
Grimsley’s only loss? You guessed it, 21-20 to East Forsyth. Rematch tonight!
DK: East Forsyth 31, Grimsley 28; MP: East Forsyth 30, Grimsley 20
Vance at Richmond County
Vance eliminated Mallard Creek, while Richmond knocked out Myers Park. Who gets the “biggest” win tonight?
DK: Richmond County 21, Vance 17; MP: Richmond County 20, Vance 13
Last week: MP: 7-3, DK 6-4
Overall: DK 119-31, MP 115-35