Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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A PREVIEW OF PLAYOFF GAMES: Six of seven county football teams make playoffs; four to start on home turf Fri. night

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By Bob Sutton

Special to The Alamance News

Four Alamance County football teams are among the top 17 seeds in the Class 3-A East Region.

Plus, two Class 2-A teams from the county could meet in the second round.

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Four of the six county teams that made the playoffs will begin with home games Friday night.
Southern Alamance (9-1), fresh off an undefeated run through the Central 3-A Conference, holds the best seed among county teams at No. 3 in Class 3-A.

Eastern Alamance (8-2, No. 12), Williams (8-2, No. 15) and Western Alamance (6-4, No. 17) are also in the Class 3-A bracket.

In Class 2-A, Cummings (8-2, No. 8) and Southeast Alamance (6-4, No. 24) could meet in a rematch from this past Friday night’s game (won by Cummings) in the second round.

Graham (1-9) didn’t qualify in Class 2-A, but several teams enter the postseason with high expectations.

Seeds and pairings came out Saturday. First-round games are Friday night.
Here’s a closer look at what’s in store for county teams:

Orange at Southern Alamance
Southern Alamance will meet fellow Central 3-A Conference member Orange in the first round. The Patriots ripped Orange 49-0 in the third-to-last week of the regular season, though Orange (3-7, No. 30) has played only once since then.

If the favored seeds advance, Southern Alamance would be home for three games.

Jacksonville (8-1, No. 14) or Pikeville Aycock (8-2, No. 19) would be the second-round foe.

“We’re proud to get playoff games at home,” Southern senior defensive back Myles Darroch said.

Southern is starting the states against a conference foe for the second year in a row. Last season competing in Class 4-A and a member of the DAC-VII Conference, the Patriots topped Durham Riverside for the second time in the season to advance.


Late-breaking development: Southern football coach on leave, will miss tonight’s playoff game; see separate story here: https://alamancenews.com/breaking-news-southern-football-coach-fritz-hessenthaler-on-leave-will-miss-playoff-game-tonight/


 

Southern Durham at Eastern Alamance
Southern Durham (6-4, No. 21), which lost 17-8 at Williams on September 1, returns to Alamance County. The winner in Mebane will take on either Scotland County (8-2, No. 5) or Rocky Mount (3-6, No. 28).

Eastern coach John Kirby

The Eagles have won at least one state-playoff game in 15 consecutive seasons.

Southern Durham has a five-game winning streak, with each victory against foes that concluded the regular season with .500 or lower records.

 

Wilson Hunt at Williams
Wilson Hunt (8-2, No. 18) visited Burlington Memorial Stadium in the first round in 1999, losing to the Bulldogs. Williams went on to win the state championship. Current Williams coach Patrick Stokes was a senior on that team.

Williams head football coach Patrick Stokes

The winner has a meeting with Fayetteville Seventy-First (10-0, No. 2) or Erwin Triton (6-4, No. 31).

“Our goal is to go all the way,” Williams receiver Will Cooper said. “We’re in a perfect spot to get back there.”

Will Cooper

Wilson Hunt had an eight-game winning streak in between an opening defeat to visiting Northern Nash and last week’s 27-10 setback at Wilson Fike.

Williams’ first playoff victory under Stokes came against a school in Wilson. That was a 48-24 road decision in 2021 at Wilson Fike.

Last year, Williams played two Central 3-A Conference rivals in the postseason, defeating visiting Western Alamance and losing at Eastern Alamance. This year’s bracket spot provides a wider view for the Bulldogs.

“It feels pretty good to learn new opponents,” Williams offensive lineman Jaylon Serrano said.

 

Western Alamance at Cape Fear
Western Alamance just missed landing a home game, instead going to Cape Fear (8-2, No. 16). The winner will be tasked with a matchup with Havelock (10-0, No. 1) or Dixon (4-6, No. 32).

Western Alamance faced the toughest schedule in all of Class 3-A in the state based on the winning percentage of its opponents.

Cape Fear owns a four-game winning streak.

[See separate story this edition on the May brothers of Western Alamance: https://alamancenews.com/at-western-football-games-fans-arent-seeing-double-there-really-are-lookalike-players-the-may-twins/]

 

Heide Trask at Cummings
Cummings, the Mid-Carolina Conference co-champion, will begin states with a home game for the third year in a row. Heide Trask (6-4, No. 25) is the foe.

Heide Trask’s four losses came in consecutive games before a current three-game winning streak.

 

Southeast Alamance at Martin County
Southeast Alamance, in the school’s first year, has a trip to Martin County (5-5, No. 9) after falling 47-14 to visiting Cummings on Friday night.

Southeast will be making the longest trek in program history. Going to Williamston, it will be about a 300-mile roundtrip.

 

Also of note …
In Class 1-A, Mid-Carolina Conference co-champion North Moore (8-2) is seeded No. 6 in the East. The Mustangs are coached by Andrew Carrouth, a Southern Alamance alum and former head coach of the Patriots.

North Moore coach Andrew Carrouth during the 2022 season.

North Moore has a rematch from Friday night with winless Chatham Central (0-10, No. 27). The top five teams in the bracket received byes.

In Class 1-A West Region, Eastern Randolph (9-1), coached by Graham resident Burton Cates, is seeded No. 3. The Wildcats completed the regular season as Piedmont Athletic Conference champions, defeating previously undefeated Randleman 22-21 on Friday night.

Graham resident and Eastern Randolph head coach Burton Cates.

Eastern Randolph hasn’t lost since a season-opening setback to visiting Eastern Alamance. Eastern Randolph’s postseason opener is against Cherryville (2-8, No. 30).

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