By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
There will be at least one Alamance County football team moving on after Friday night’s second round of the state playoffs.
Southern Alamance and Williams would like to join the Cummings/Southeast Alamance winner by extending their seasons as well.
Here’s a look at the matchups:
Jacksonville at Southern Alamance
In Class 3-A, this is believed to be the first-ever matchup between third-seeded Southern Alamance (10-1) and the 14th-seeded Cardinals (9-1), whose only loss has come at undefeated Havelock.
Southern won a second-round road game last year in Class 4-A, so the Patriots have evidence that there are no guarantees based on seeds and locations at this time of the year.
Jacksonville has faced several of Southern’s county rivals in the postseason. Western Alamance split four playoff games with the Cardinals from 2017-21. Eastern Alamance lost to Jacksonville in 2018 and 2021. Jacksonville fell in 2005 at Williams, and made a trip to this part of the state for a 2016 setback at Eastern Guilford.
Jacksonville also had a 2004 playoff victory against Southeast Guilford, which was coached at that time by recently dismissed Southern coach Fritz Hessenthaler.
Across its last four games, Southern has given up a total of three touchdowns – and just one by its defense. The other two came on an interception return and a kickoff return.
“They’ve been playing lights out,” acting Southern coach Chris Miller said of the defense.
Jacksonville’s run-oriented approach is option-based, Miller said.
“What we’ve been doing, we’re going to keep doing,” Miller said. “It has worked so well.”
Miller is a longtime Southern assistant. Prior to that, he had been a head coach for football at Woodlawn Middle School. At Southern, he has held head-coaching roles with the softball, girls’ basketball and boys’ basketball teams. He’s also a past assistant coach for football for the North Carolina East-West All-Star Game.
Williams at Fayetteville Seventy-First
In Class 3-A, this is the second time in three seasons that Williams (9-2) makes a second-round trip to face the Falcons (11-0). The 2021 season for the Bulldogs ended with a 29-28 overtime loss.
No. 2 seed Fayetteville Seventy-First has had only one game decided by fewer than 28 points this year. That came in a late-September 12-7 victory against Cape Fear, which eliminated Western Alamance last week.
Williams is trying to advance to the third round for the first time since 2011.
Southeast Alamance at Cummings
This is a Class 2-A game. These teams meet for the second time in three weeks. A share of the Mid-Carolina Conference championship was on the line in the first matchup, with Cummings winning 47-14 in a road game at Southeast.
Cummings (9-2) received seven touchdowns from Jonathan Paylor in the first matchup with Southeast. He added three more for the eighth-seeded Cavaliers in the first-round playoff game vs. Heide Trask.
No. 24 seed Southeast (7-4) had notable performances in the first Cummings game, with Daniel Bunker gaining 134 rushing yards on 20 carries and Jerry Sims charted with 15 tackles.
This is the second year in a row Cummings will play a home state-playoff game against a Mid-Carolina Conference foe. Last year, the Cavaliers defeated Bartlett Yancey in a rematch in the first round.
Game times are 7:00 for each of the three playoff games.