Prep football: Playoff brackets released
By Mike London
The undefeated, defending 3A state champions aren’t a No. 1 seed in brackets that were released Saturday, but NCHSAA football pairings aren’t based on rankings, power ratings and message boards.
Seeds are based strictly on record and conference standing. If two teams are undefeated conference champions, a coin is flipped to break the tie.
West Rowan finally lost something ó the coin toss with Lenoir Hibriten for the No. 1 slot in the 3A West bracket. The Falcons enter the playoffs as the No. 2 seed.
“It doesn’t bother me a bit,” West coach Scott Young said. “We lost a coin flip, and that’s the way you do it. The flip side, I guess we won a coin flip (with Belmont South Point) last year, so it doesn’t bother me at all.”
The flip obviously affects many future pairings. The most significant aspect of the coin toss is that if the 3A West final comes down to West and Hibriten, the Falcons must go to Lenoir instead of playing in Mount Ulla.
In the first round, West plays host to No. 15 Morganton Freedom (5-6).
The coin flip also sets up a potential rematch of West and No. 7 seed South Rowan in the second round, earlier than anyone expected. West won 28-0 in the regular season.
South will be at home against No. 10 R-S Central (Rutherfordton-Spindale) in Friday’s first round.
R-S Central is 8-3.
“If we do play South Rowan in the second round, you look at that as a good local rival with the fans, and it would be a fun atmosphere if we win and they win,” Young said.
Also in 3A, Carson’s first playoff appearance will come in the East bracket.
The ninth-seeded Cougars are fortunate as far as mileage for their first-round trip. They’ll play No. 8 Ledford. Ledford is in the community of Wallburg, near Thomasville, and won’t be a long journey for Cougar fans.
Carson assistant Barry Mitchem, who coached for years at West Davidson, will be very familiar with Ledford, which was in the 2A CCC for many years.
East Rowan also is in the East bracket. The No. 6 Mustangs earned a first-round home game with their eight wins and will take on No. 11 South Brunswick (5-5). That school is located in Long Beach ó N.C., not California.
n A.L. Brown is the No. 3 seed in the 3AA bracket for the larger schools in 3A.
Brown plays host to SPC foe Jay M. Robinson, the No. 14 seed, in the first round. If they win, the Wonders would be at home in the second round against the winner of the Charlotte Catholic-Asheville Erwin game.
n The NCHSAA apparently had its hands full putting the 2AA bracket together.
Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan was first informed he was playing Piedmont. Then he was on the verge of working out of a film exchange with Berry. Then the Hornets’ opponent was finally switched to East Burke, located near Morganton.
The No. 8 Hornets are home against East Burke’s ninth-seeded Cavaliers. The tough thing about being in the 8-9 game is the survivor is on the road against the No. 1 seed in Round 2. If Salisbury wins, its likely reward is the top-seeded Shelby Lions.
n In 1AA, No. 9 seed North Rowan did not receive a friendly draw.
The Cavaliers face a long trip to the westernmost outpost in the state, No. 8 Murphy (7-4), in the first round. If the Cavs survive that one, they’ll likely travel to face unbeaten YVC rival Albemarle, the No. 1 seed.
n The Davie War Eagles, who finished 4-7, did not make the 4A bracket. Friday’s 31-30 loss to North Davidson closed their season.
Bret Strelow contributed to this story.