By David Keever and Mike Powell
As usual, the matchups keep getting better with each round. North Lincoln and West Lincoln try to keep the South Fork 2A alive, but this will be a tough week as both teams face very tough opponents.
Tonight’s winners will all advance to next week’s Regional Finals. So here we go with Round 3.
Burns at North Lincoln: MP: This is one playoff game in which the first quarter will be key. North Lincoln has made a habit of getting off to fast starts and working with the lead. It will be interesting to see if Burns can reverse the trend and take the Knights out of their comfort zone. My guess is Bulldogs star Kejuan Pryor get his yards, but North Lincoln does not get burned by big plays and eventually wears down the visitors with its physicality … MP: North Lincoln 42, Burns 27; DK: North Lincoln 42, Burns 35.
West Lincoln at Shelby: DK: What a season for the Rebels, and they’re not ready for it to be over quite yet. After a road win over Ashe County and a first-ever home playoff game that resulted in a victory over South Point, West Lincoln faces 2A powerhouse Shelby. If the Rebels are able to run the football and play keep-away from the Golden Lions, they can keep this game close and have a chance at the end. It’s a tall task, but West Lincoln is playing with a lot of confidence right now … DK: Shelby 34, West Lincoln 26; MP: Shelby 35, West Lincoln 13.
Kings Mountain at A.C. Reynolds: MP: The Rockets are one of the hottest teams in the field, having won 11 in a row after starting the season 0-2. On the other hand, Kings Mountain seems to be regaining the form that took the Mountaineers to the top of the state AP rankings in September. The 10th seeded road warriors continue the journey … MP: Kings Mountain 45, A.C. Reynolds 32; DK: A.C. Reynolds 35, Kings Mountain 31.
Mountain Island Charter at East Surry: MP: The Raptors probably have as much talent as any team left in the 1A field on both sides of the state. But it’s hard to dismiss the fact that East Surry beat 2A power Reidsville 55-49 in a September matchup. In fact, Reidsville has been the only team to challenge the Cardinals (12-0) all season … MP: East Surry 41, Mtn. Island Charter 25; DK: East Surry 38, Mtn. Island Charter 24.
Brevard at Reidsville: DK: Last year, the Blue Devils gave the Rams all they wanted, falling 24-21 in the 2A Western Regional Final on the road. Of course, Reidsville went on to went the 2A title the following week. It’s hard to pick against the Rams when playing in a big game at home … DK: Reidsville 28, Brevard 17; MP: Reidsville 34, Brevard 17.
West Stokes at Mountain Heritage: DK: Another big 2A matchup tonight in Burnsville, where the top-seeded Cougars try to stay on a state championship course. This should be a very tough, physical game between two top programs … DK: Mountain Heritage 24, West Stokes 21; MP: Mountain Heritage 28, West Stokes 19.
Thomas Jefferson at Elkin: MP: Thomas Jefferson has outscored the opposition 96-0 so far in the playoffs, and appears to be playing its best football in late November … MP: Thomas Jefferson 35, Elkin 21; DK: Thomas Jefferson 30, Elkin 28.
Mount Tabor at Watauga: MP: Watauga rushed for an amazing 600 yards last week in a second round win over A.L. Brown. Enough said … MP: Watauga 41, Mount Tabor 20; DK: Watauga 38, Mount Tabor 28.
West Rowan at Charlotte Catholic: DK: The Falcons pulled off a minor upset last week, knocking off number-one seed Crest on the road. Can they pull off a repeat performance tonight in Pineville against one of the state’s best programs? … DK: Charlotte Catholic 31, West Rowan 21; MP: Catholic 24, West Rowan 21.
Myers Park at Richmond County: DK: Speaking of star-power, this game will be full of it. A lot of green in the stadium tonight in Rockingham, and the winner of this matchup will be the favorite to capture the 4AA title … DK: Myers Park 35, Richmond County 34; MP: Myers Park 27, Richmond County 20.
Last week: David 8-2, Mike 6-4Overall: David 113-27, Mike 108-32