High-SchoolNorth-Carolina: Hoggard

First round of North Carolina football playoffs get underway

November, 3, 2011
11/03/11
4:26
PM ET
Throw all of the regular-season records out because we're starting all over again. The North Carolina football postseason is here and this is when it all counts.

You know all the usual suspects/contenders, like Mallard Creek, Butler, Greensboro Page and Garner, but for the always tricky first round, here are five games to watch out for this weekend:

Berry Academy at Marvin Ridge
This season has taken a slightly different turn than some may have anticipated for these teams. 2011 was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Marvin Ridge, but the Mavericks looked plenty strong, going 9-1 with its lone loss coming to No. 7 Porter Ridge. Berry Academy, on the other hand, was far from a disappointment, but with All-State players Germone Hopper and Nick Dawson starring on offense, defense and special teams, the Cardinals probably hoped for better than a 7-3 campaign. But that's what makes this one intriguing. The Mavericks D will have to stop Hopper from making big plays at WR and on special teams, while the Cardinals need to strike early and often.
My pick: Berry Academy 24, Marvin Ridge 21

Hoggard at New Hanover
One week has passed since these two squads last faced each other. New Hanover got the best of Hoggard for the first time since 1995, winning an intense 13-7 battle. New Hanover was led by a stingy defense and two touchdowns by Trevon Brown. Based on its history, Hoggard knows how to topple New Hanover, so it's safe to say neither team is taking the other lightly.
My pick: Hoggard 14, New Hanover 10

Laney at Wakefield
These two teams faced off in the first round last year, with Wakefield coming away with a 31-14 win on the road. This season, Wakefield is the home team and again the favorite behind a high-powered offense that put up at least 42 points in every game but one this season. Laney's defense will be focused on Wakefield QB Connor Mitch, who threw for 46 TDs and just six interceptions this year. But the Buccaneers can also light up the scoreboard (seven games of at least 40 points), meaning this one could be a shootout.
My pick: Wakefield 42, Laney 31

Lumberton at Cary
Only time will tell if Cary caught Lumberton at the right time or the worst time. After starting 7-0, including a big win against Jack Britt, Lumberton enters the playoffs on a three-game losing streak. Led by its defense, Cary won its last four games to finish 8-2. Will Lumberton be motivated enough to end its skid, or will Cary capitalize on the weaknesses exposed in the last three weeks?
My pick: Cary 17, Lumberton 14

Northwest Guilford at Richmond
Last year, these two met in the playoffs and Richmond used a big fourth-quarter to pull away for a 45-21 win. Things probably won't be so easy this time around for the Raiders, though. After a dominating 5-0, the Raiders sputtered at the end, losing twice and barely escaping defeat in two others. The production of Northwest Guilford tailback Reid Baxter (961 yards, 15 TDs) will be vital in attacking a Richmond defense that's been known to bend against capable rushers. RB/DB Steve Houston will be the key on both ends for the Raiders.
My pick: Richmond 27, Northwest Guilford 21

Brandon Parker covers North Carolina for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Undefeated squads collide in Week 6 NC football

September, 30, 2011
9/30/11
12:15
PM ET
Several teams will walk away from the sixth week of North Carolina football with their first loss, making for some intriguing matchups.

The first such game went down Thursday, as Leesville Road (6-0) outlasted Wakefield (6-1) in a 67-58 shootout. Wolverines quarterback Connor Mitch threw for seven touchdowns and nearly 600 yards, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Pride's sibling tandem Austin and Braxton Berrios.

Here are a few other gridiron bouts to watch for this weekend:

Marvin Ridge (5-0) at No. 9 Porter Ridge (5-0)
This Union County matchup could be a shootout, as both teams can pile up points in a hurry. Before its week, Porter Ridge scored a season-low 10 points in a tight win against Providence, but with Lee McNeil at quarterback and a week's rest, the Pirates are poised to return to their high-scoring ways. Marvin Ridge, whose signature win came earlier in the season against a solid Ardrey Kell squad, has topped 30 points in each of its last three games.
My Pick: Porter Ridge 38, Marvin Ridge 31

Burns (5-1) at Chase (6-0)
Just a week after taking down previously undefeated Freedom, 27-26, Burns will look to hand another team its first loss in Chase. Bulldogs running back Darius Ramsey will be the focus for a Chase defense that's surrendered an average of 14.7 points per game this season.
My Pick: Burns 24, Chase 21

Laney (5-0) at Hoggard (5-0)
This crosstown rivalry has a little more spice this season with both Laney and Hoggard entering the contest without a loss. Hoggard has won nine of their last 10 meetings, but Laney has been lighting up the scoreboard this year, averaging more than 47 points per contest. Much of that production has come from Buccaneers quarterback Mike Sheehan, who has thrown for 963 yards, 13 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Hoggard DB Tevin Jackson (two interceptions) will have his eye on Sheehan and his favorite target, Tevin Clay (442 receiving yards and eight TDs).
My pick: Laney 42, Hoggard 28

Brandon Parker covers North Carolina for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

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