Wake Forest (10-3) at Millbrook (10-3)
Wake Forest is playing its third straight road playoff game, the result of finishing fourth in the Cap Eight regular season. The Cougars are the highest ranked team in the area, according to Brian Simmons’ computer power ratings (simmonsratings.com).
Bryce Love leads the Wake Forest offense with 1,878 yards and 26 rushing touchdowns.
Millbrook sophomore quarterback Reid Herring has passed for 1,976 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Wake Forest won the regular-season game 31-25 and Simmons makes Wake Forest a two-point favorite.
Garner (10-3) at Middle Creek (11-2)
Garner won the season-opener 21-16, but the teams have changed dramatically since then.
The Mustangs’ Brant Grisel has thrown for 2,686 yards and 32 touchdowns this season as Middle Creek’s rushing corps has been slowed by injuries. Receiver Curtis Burston, who missed much of the season with injuries, has been a key addition and has 10 touchdown receptions. Jay Schuller has 976 receiving yards.
The Mustangs may need to win with their defense. Warren Messer had 15 tackles in last week’s 28-21 win over Hope Mills South View. Junior Anthony Mitchell is a key man up front and Thomas Hartshorn has made big plays regularly.
Middle Creek held Garner runner Nyheim Hines to 88 yards in the first game, but no one else has held him below 176 yards since. Hines has 50 rushing touchdowns, 60 total touchdowns, and is coming off a seven-touchdown, 454-yard effort in a 63-56 win at Fayetteville Britt.
Garner’s defense has been porous, allowing 28.2 points per game. But the Trojans average 49.6 on offense and have scored 40 or more in 11 of their last 12 games.
Simmons give Middle Creek, playing at home, a one-point advantage.
Matthews Butler (10-3) at West Forsyth (12-1)
Butler has averaged 49.8 points while winning its last four games. Louisville linebacker recruit Isaac Stewart leads the defense. West Forsyth is outstanding on defense, allowing 10.8 points per game.
Northwest Guilford (12-1) at Char. Mallard Creek (13-0)
Mallard Creek has been ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press all season and has held 10 opponents to seven points or less. Fullback Jalen Samuels is committed to N.C. State. Northwest Guilford’s only loss was 21-14 to Winston-Salem Glenn in overtime.
Knightdale (11-1) at Scotland (13-0)
Knightdale is two points from being undefeated. The Knights lost to Heritage 23-22 in early September. They knocked off Durham Hillside last week 16-15 with a last-minute touchdown. Nathaniel Harvey leads with 1,198 rushing yards.
Scotland, ranked No. 2 behind Mallard Creek, hasn’t seriously been challenged by any North Carolina teams this season. The Scots average 45.8 points and allow 17.1.
Simmons picks Scotland by 20 points.
Greenville Rose (11-2) at Wilm. Hoggard (12-1)
Rose claimed a great win last week, rallying from behind and holding off Greenville Conley for a 46-43 win. All-America defensive end Kentavius Street was a big factor. Hoggard defeated rival New Hanover 35-7. Hoggard’s only loss this season was to Wake Forest.
SE Guilford (11-2) at Charlotte Catholic (11-2)
Catholic is led by all-America runner Elijah Hood, who has 3,119 rushing yards and 45 touchdowns. He is committed to the University of North Carolina. Southeast Guilford dropped its last two regular-season games, but beat Winston-Salem Mount Tabor 56-54 and Mooresville 30-22 in the playoffs.
Rocky River (11-2) at Greensboro Dudley (12-0)
Dudley wins with defense, yielding only 6.9 points per game. Clemson linebacker recruit Chris Register and Tennessee cornerback recruit Emanuel Moseley are outstanding. Rocky River’s losses were to Charlotte Independence and Richmond County.
Wilson Hunt (10-3) at Fayetteville Byrd (11-2)
Hunt is on a seven-game win streak. Safety Dexter Wright is an N.C. State recruit. Byrd has won nine straight.
Orange (12-1) at So. Durham (11-2)
Southern Durham and Orange survived second-round challenges. Southern Durham knocked down an end zone pass on the final play of the game in a 33-28 win over Cardinal Gibbons. Orange outscored Cleveland 59-50. Southern Durham won the regular-season meeting 55-41 behind the passing of junior Kendall Hinton (3,411 passing yards). The Spartans’ 1,000-yard receiver Maurice Trowell is committed to N.C. State.
Simmons favors Orange by one.
Asheville Reynolds (9-4) at Shelby Crest (12-1)
Crest dropped its opener to Belmont South Point 35-16, but has rolled since. Reynolds has averaged 54.7 points during its six-game win streak. It beat Statesville 52-49 in overtime last week.
Monroe Weddington (11-2) at N. Guilford (11-2)
Northern Guilford forfeited a pair of games. Weddington has won nine of its last 10.
North Forsyth (8-5) at Havelock (13-0)
Havelock has allowed 21 points in its last seven games. Running back Derrell Scott is among the top uncommitted players in the state. North Forsyth has allowed 20 or more points in its last three games.
Eastern Alamance (10-3) at Eastern Wayne (10-2)
Eastern Wayne’s losses were to 4A Greenville Rose and New Bern. Eastern Alamance finished third in the Mid-State 3A Conference behind Northern Guilford and Western Alamance.
Gastonia Forestview (9-4) at Lenoir Hibriten (12-1)
Forestview lost three straight in midseason, but has scored 60 or more points in two of its last three games. Hibriten averages 42.9 points per game.
Belmont South Point (13-0) at Concord (13-0)
The two undefeated teams have been impressive. Concord’s only win by less than 10 points was last week’s 21-14 win over Monroe Piedmont. Concord’s Rocky Reid has rushed for 2,828 yards. South Point’s closest call was a 28-27 overtime win over Gastonia Huss.
Jacksonville Northside (10-3) at High Point Andrews (11-1)
Washington (10-2) at No. 2 Currituck (10-2)
Monroe Parkwood (7-6) at Gastonia Huss (6-7)
East Lincoln (9-4) at Monroe (11-2)
Ayden-Grifton (7-6) at Elizabeth City Northeastern (11-2)
Eastern Randolph (9-4) at Southwest Onslow (10-3)
Lincolnton (9-4) at Reidsville (11-2)
Shelby (9-4) at North Rowan (13-0)
Wallace-Rose Hill (11-2) at Tarboro (11-2)
Whiteville (11-2) at Warsaw Kenan (12-0)
East Surry (11-2) at West Montgomery (12-1)
Starmount (10-3) at Swain (11-2)
Pamlico (9-4) at Plymouth (12-0)
SE Halifax (9-4) at Lejeune (12-1)
South Robeson (8-5) at Albemarle (10-3)
Hayesville (6-7) at Murphy (10-3)