Western is at Williams Friday night in first round of playoffs
By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
Rematches are the overriding theme for Alamance County football teams going into the state playoffs.
And there could be another intriguing rematch looming in the second round.
Round 1 is Friday night. Here’s a look at those games:
Western Alamance at Williams
In Class 3-A East Region, No. 18 seed Western (6-4) visits No. 15 seed Williams (7-3) at Burlington Memorial Stadium in a rematch of Williams’ 21-10 home victory October 7. Williams placed second in the Central Carolina 3-A Conference, with Western in third place.
“We came out the first game (of the year) and we lost,” Williams linebacker Jordan Harless said. “That took a toll on us because we had big high expectations, but we stuck with it. We lost a couple of games that didn’t go our way, but we’re still here as a team.”
[See more of Jordan Harless’ comments below. Story continues below video.]
Both teams were behind league champion Eastern Alamance, which is the possible second-round foe for the winner.
The Bulldogs have defeated Western in the last three meetings. The most-recent result sparked Williams’ three-game winning streak.
“We’re starting to show up,” Harless said. “Offense was having a little bit of struggles in the beginning of the year and defense wasn’t hustling to the ball as we needed to. Now we’re all coming back together and there couldn’t be a better time than right now because playoffs are right around the corner.”
Bulldogs defensive back Nasir Price said: “We had a rough start, but as a team we’ve grown together. We’re peaking, but we have more improvement to do.”
Western also holds a three-game winning streak.
“During the first part of the season, we had the physical aspect of the game, but we really didn’t have the mentality and the chemistry,” Warriors linebacker Chazz May said in an interview with The Alamance News. “We’ve become more physical and started to execute as a team together and we started to be more successful by doing that. … We kind of learned how to work better as a team.”
[See more of Chazz May’s comments below. Story continues below video.]
The Warriors were bounced from the first round last year, but there might be a different vibe this time.
“We’re on a winning streak,” May said. “We’re trying to keep the train rolling.”
The teams weren’t in the same conference when they last met in the playoffs, with the Warriors winning 53-7 in the first round in 2018. That’s the last time Western beat the Bulldogs and marked a string of 17 consecutive wins in the series.
Franklinton at Eastern Alamance
In Class 3-A East Region, Eastern (9-1) is the No. 2 seed and holds a nine-game winning streak.
Eastern is in the postseason for the 18th consecutive season. The Eagles have won at least one game in the state playoffs in each of the past 14 seasons.
Franklinton (4-6) is the No. 31 seed.
Eastern would stay at home for at least four games if it continues to win. That would require defeating the Western Alamance/Williams winner next week. The Eagles topped Western and Williams in close Central Carolina 3-A Conference games on back-to-back weeks during the regular season
Durham Riverside at Southern Alamance
In Class 4-A East Region, Southern (7-3) will face DAC-VII Conference rival Durham Riverside (6-4). The Patriots defeated Riverside 50-37 on October 14 at home.
Southern suffered two of its three losses in home games, including a winner-take-all showdown with Durham Hillside last week.
The Patriots dropped a home game in the first round of the 2021 state playoffs.
Bartlett Yancey at Cummings
In Class 2-A East Region, Cummings (6-3) is the No. 8 seed with a matchup with No. 25 seed Bartlett Yancey (7-3) in a battle of Mid-Carolina Conference members. The Cavaliers beat Bartlett Yancey 32-14 on September 29.
“Gear up for playoffs and get ready and try to win it all,” Cummings receiver Khavarie Hightower said prior to the regular-season finale vs. Graham. “It can’t be our last home game. I won’t let it be.”
Cummings has shut out its last two opponents, part of widespread improvement.
“Just locking in and cut out distractions,” running back Marioné Enoch said. “It’s all about a bigger goal of what we’re trying to achieve … to make it to the state championship.”
Bartlett Yancey is one of two teams in the playoffs that Cummings defeated this year. The other is Williams, which fell to the Cavaliers in the season opener.
Other notes of interest
Graham (4-6) didn’t make the postseason in Class 2-A.
Meanwhile, Eastern Randolph is the No. 1 seed in Class 1-A West Region. The Wildcats (9-1), who are Piedmont Athletic Conference champions and coached by Graham resident Burton Cates, receive a first-round bye.
In Class 1-A East Region, North Moore (10-0), which is coached by Southern Alamance alum and former coach Andrew Carrouth, is the No. 2 seed with a home date with No. 31 seed Lejeune (0-10).
In Class 3-A West Region, Eastern Guilford (6-4), which is coached by former Eastern Alamance assistant coach Tony Aguilar, is the No. 23 seed and heads to No. 10 seed Parkwood (5-5) in Monroe.
Playoff schedule – Round 1
Western Alamance at Williams, 7:00
Franklinton at Eastern Alamance, 7:00
Durham Riverside at Southern Alamance, 7:00
Bartlett Yancey at Cummings, 7:00