Prep Football: Playoff pairings released
SPENCER - North Rowan seniors have to be sick of West Montgomery, but they're going to see the Warriors one more time.
The Cavaliers will host West Montgomery Friday in the first round of the 1AA state playoffs.
It will not only be a rematch of a 20-14 overtime struggle the Cavaliers won in the 10th week of the regular season, it'll be the seventh matchup of the Cavaliers and Warriors in a four-year time frame.
West Montgomery has won four of the six meetings in that short span and eliminated North from the playoffs in both 2010 and 2011.
"They're a good football team with a lot of tradition and they gave us all we wanted in the regular season," first-year North coach Joe Nixon said.
North is the No. 4 seed in the eight-team 1AA Midwest pod, while West Montgomery is the No. 5 seed.
The winner is almost certain to face the pod's top seed - Mount Airy - in the second round.
"There are some great teams in our pod, no doubt, but that's what the playoffs are all about," Nixon said. "It's not going to be easy, but it's not supposed to be easy."
Nixon said his team is about has healthy as he could hope for, for the 12th week of the season.
• Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan went to Wingate Saturday to watch two former Hornets - Wingate center Joe So and Lenoir-Rhyne fullback Ike Whitaker - in a SAC contest.
When Pinyan's cell phone buzzed with a call from Waxhaw Cuthbertson coach Michael Roark seeking a film exchange, Pinyan had a pleasant surprise for him.
"I told him I was already down here in his neighborhood," Pinyan said with a chuckle. "I told him I could make him a deal and save him a lot of trouble."
Roark had expected to have to drive a long way to meet Pinyan halfway between Waxhaw and Salisbury. Pinyan saved him some time and gas.
Salisbury is not only the No. 2 seed in the 1AA Midwest pod, it's the No. 2 seed for the whole Western half of the 1AA bracket.
The Hornets have a chance to play a bunch of home games, although there aren't any gimmes.
Cuthbertson may be the No. 7 seed in the Hornets' pod, but it handed 3A Hickory Ridge its only loss of the season.
Cuthbertson's losses are to tough teams in its area - Weddington, Monroe, Forest Hills and Marvin Ridge. There also was a loss to 4A Rocky River.
"There are no slouches in our bracket," Pinyan said.
Salisbury won a drawing or a coin flip with Forest Hills for the No. 2 seed, and that means the Hornets would host Forest Hills if both make the second round.
• At home for the first round, West Rowan will see a foe it has never faced in Northeast Guilford, but West coach Scott Young is familiar with NEG coach Tom Pursley.
Pursley has been around. His NEG team lost to A.L. Brown in the 1997 3A championship game.
"He's a coaching lifer, and he does a great job," Young said. "This will be a first-round game that you'd like to see in the second round."
West lost a flip for the No. 3 seed in the 3A Midwest pod, and as the No. 4 seed, the Falcons have a stiffer draw than usual. The Falcons are only the No. 10 seed in the overall 3A West bracket, so if they're going to make a run it will be mostly as road warriors.
"We're used to being a No. 1 or No. 2 seed, but we lost two conference games," Young said. "That means a tough 4-5 game to start with. It comes with the territory."
The West-NEG winner figures to be traveling to the top seed in the pod - Concord - in the second round. West has ousted the Spiders from the playoffs the last two years, but this one would be at Concord's Bailey Stadium instead of Mt. Ulla, where the Falcons have been virtually unbeatable for five seasons.
• Rivals Carson and East Rowan will meet for the second time this season. Again, they'll meet in Granite Quarry for a rare all-Rowan playoff matchup.
Carson is the No. 15 seed in the 3AA Midwest pod, while East is the No. 2 seed in the pod. East doesn't have as good an overall record as West Rowan, but the Mustangs finished ahead of the Falcons in the NPC.
East beat Carson 27-7 in the first meeting on Sept. 14. If the Mustangs can handle the Cougars again, they'd earn another home game against either Central Cabarrus, a hot SPC team, or Rockingham County.
• A.L. Brown is in the 3AA Midwest pod as a No. 4 seed. The Wonders are No. 8 for the overall 3AA West bracket.
Brown's only sure home game is a first-rounder against No. 5 seed North Forsyth.
It will get challenging quickly for the Wonders, who will likely get a second chance against the pod's No. 1 seed Hickory Ridge in the second round. Perennial A.L. Brown nemesis Charlotte Catholic is the No. 2 seed in the pod.
• Davie County is the No. 3 seed in the 4A Midwest pod and is home against No. 6 Ragsdale in the first round. If Davie wins its first game, the most likely scenario is a trip to No. 2 seed High Point Central for the second round. Unbeaten North Davidson looms as the top seed in the pod.