High-SchoolNorth-Carolina: Middle Creek

Final N.C. POWERADE baseball rankings

June, 6, 2012
6/06/12
1:57
PM ET
After games on Sunday, June 3

Let's be honest -- when it came to naming preseason state title contenders, Middle Creek and Weddington weren't in the discussion. But both teams are the school of North Carolina now after triumphing in the Class 4A and 3A championship series, respectively, for their first state titles.

Middle Creek got their first state crown in any sport by sweeping Hough behind the play of MVP Jimmy Boyd, who pitched a one-hitter in Game 1 and reached base four times during the two games. As a result, the Mustangs cracked the POWERADE FAB 50 this week at No. 40.

Weddington also rode the impressive play of the series MVP, Alex Bostic, who got the win on the mound in Game 1 and blasted a home run in the decisive second game.

Here are the final rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Middle Creek (Apex) 26-7 (1)
Swept Hough to win the Class 4A crown, the school's first in any sport.

2. Weddington (Matthews) 28-6 (2)
MVP Alex Bostic got the win on the mound in Game 1 and smashed a home run in Game 2 to complete sweep of CB Aycock and seal Class 3 championship.

3. Providence (Charlotte) 25-3 (6)
Sat atop the state rankings for most of the season before falling in first round of Class 4A playoffs for second time in three years.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly North Carolina baseball rankings.

N.C. Week 12 POWERADE baseball rankings

May, 31, 2012
5/31/12
12:46
PM ET
After games on Saturday, May 26

The teams that were talked about for most of the season as contenders are not the same teams that remain standing as the state championship series kick off this weekend.

None of the squads that made up the top 10 entering the playoffs (Week 9) are alive, but there's still plenty of good baseball on tap. Middle Creek held off Richmond to advance to the Class 4A state title series against Hough, while Weddington, which cracked the top 10 earlier in the year after beating then-No. 1 Providence, enters its first championship series against CB Aycock. All-State pitcher Alex Bostic leads Weddington with a 10-0 record, 125 strikeouts, 0.98 ERA and seven home runs to go with a .404 batting average.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Middle Creek (Apex) 24-7 (NR)
Mustangs, winners of 15 of their last 17 games, advanced to Class 4A state title game by beating Richmond in best-of-three series. They will face Hough for the crown.

2. Weddington (Matthews) 25-6 (4)
Reached the Class 3A championship for the first time after sweeping North Buncombe. Next up: CB Aycock for the title.

3. Hough (Cornelius) 23-10 (NR)
Swept East Forsyth to advance to this weekend's Class 4A championship against Middle Creek.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly North Carolina baseball rankings.
For the first time in three years, there will be a new Class 4AA champion.

With two-time defending champ Butler up 20 points in its third-round matchup with Greensboro Page, it appeared most local fans would get what they wanted: a rematch between Butler and Mallard Creek in the next round. But the Bulldogs' dream matchup vanished after a nightmarish second half.

Page capitalized on the Bulldogs' penalties and five turnovers to reel off 34 unanswered points and secure a 40-26 win on Friday. The Pirates, who were led by QB James Summers' 248 total yards and five touchdowns, will face Mallard Creek in this week's 4AA state semifinals.

Summers scored twice on runs to open the second half and tie the game before a one-yard TD pass to Orlando Hatfield gave the Pirates the lead for good with 4:48 to play. Meanwhile, Butler junior QB Riley Ferguson threw three picks in the final 15 minutes to thwart the Bulldogs' chances for a comeback.

Needless to say, Butler dropped out of the latest POWERADE FAB 50, while Mallard Creek moved up to No. 13 in the national rankings.

Garner will take on Jack Britt in the other 4AA semifinal after both teams rode their rushing attacks to victory. Garner was led by tailback Juwan Moye's 285 total yards and three scores in a 42-21 win against previously undefeated Leesville Road. The Pride got 402 total yards from do-everything player Braxton Berrios, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Trojans' quick start.

Meanwhile, Jack Britt ran the ball 60 times for 333 yards to push past Middle Creek, 28-14. After starting 2-2, the Buccaneers have won nine straight, including four straight shutouts prior to last week's third-round win.

A new 4A champion will be crowned as well after top-ranked Scotland knocked off defending champ Hillside. The Fighting Scots' were paced by the three-headed monster of QB Kwashaun Quick and tailbacks Tony McRae and Caison Murphy, who accounted for all seven of the the team's scores in the 35-7 win. Next up will be New Bern, which downed New Hanover, 31-20.

On the other hand, West Rowan has bounced back from a slow start to make sure there won't be a new champion in the 3A ranks. The three-time defending champs have won their last six games by an average of nearly 20 points, but face quite the test in a 13-1 Burns squad that has similar success on the scoreboard of late.

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.

Second round of North Carolina football playoffs brings familiar results

November, 14, 2011
11/14/11
6:32
PM ET
A weekend filled with rematches ended up as a major case of deja vu:

*Butler beat Independence for the fifth straight time, riding Riley Ferguson's four touchdowns to a 42-20 win.

*Leesville Road continued to light up the scoreboard, beating Cap 8 rival Wake Forest-Rolesville for the second time in three weeks. Braxton Berrios proved unstoppable, scoring six times in the 49-20 win. Next up: undefeated Garner.

*Middle Creek did it again, using a late charge to push past Fuquay-Varina, 34-20. For their second third-round trip in school history, the Mustangs will face Jack Britt, which has shut out its last four opponents.

*The second time was a bit easier for Asheville, as it beat rival Erwin, 26-7, to keep its undefeated season in tact. Brandon Williams led the way with 123 rushing yards and two scores. Next up: Crest.

This past weekend's outcomes sets up a juicy slate of third-round playoff matchups. Check back here Thursday to catch a preview.

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.

Rematches abound in second round of NC football playoffs

November, 10, 2011
11/10/11
6:39
PM ET
Second chances are often hard to come by in life, but for several North Carolina football teams, they will get just that in the second round of the playoffs this weekend.

Butler vs. Independence
Never mind that Butler has won the last four meetings with rival Independence, or even that he Bulldogs downed the Patriots, 36-26, just two weeks ago. Whenever these two teams meet in the playoffs, it's big — so big, that's it's been moved to the bigger stadium at Providence as was the case when they meet in 2009.

Mind you, the last time Butler lost in the playoffs, it was to Independence, a juggernaut that once won 109 games, has seven state titles to its name and is returning to prominence after last year's losing campaign.

Also be mindful that Butler is on a mission to reach its third straight title game in hopes of avenging their earlier loss to Mallard Creek and win its third consecutive 4AA crown. Lots of storylines and lots of potential for fireworks in this contest.
My pick: Butler 35, Independence 27

Wake Forest-Rolesville at Leesville Road
Two weeks ago, Leesville Road stopped the Cougars from having at least a share of the Cap 8 title for the first time in six years. But the night wasn't full of great memories for the Pride, as quarterback Austin Berrios tore his ACL. Still, the offense didn't miss a beat last week, scoring nine times and racking up 561 rushing yards in a win against Broughton. Wake Forest-Rolesville figures to make several defensive adjustments to slow the Pride's explosive offense, but the question is will it be enough?
My pick: Leesville Road 38, Wake Forest-Rolesville 35

Fuquay-Varina at Middle Creek
You remember the first time these two met this year, as Middle Creek overcame a 13-point deficit to win an overtime thriller. Since then, Fuquay-Varina has been flawless, winning eight straight games behind a solid running attack led by Carlton Bridges (195 yards, two scores last week). The Bengals' defensive effort could prove key, though, as QB David Salmon tore through the secondary for four scores in their last meeting.
My pick: Fuquay-Varina 31, Middle Creek 21

Erwin at Asheville
The door to the 3AA championship opened a bit wider for these two teams when Weddington upset South Point in the first round last weekend. And best believe that both Erwin and Asheville will do everything in their power to avoid being the next team to go home. During Asheville's undefeated regular season, Erwin gave the Cougars their toughest test before falling 21-20. Erwin will have to prove more stout against Asheville's powerful rushing attack behind Tysean Holloway and Deveron Roberts if it wants to pull off the next big upset.
My pick: Asheville 28, Erwin 24

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.

Scotland triumphes, A.L. Brown loses in Week 4 football

September, 12, 2011
9/12/11
12:25
PM ET
Blame it on the third quarter.

Up until then, No. 7 Jack Britt was sitting on a 9-7 lead and appeared to have the tools necessary to knock off the state's fifth-ranked team. But just as Buccaneers coach Richard Bailey warned against in our Thursday conversation/Friday preview, Scotland's skill players eventually went to work.

Quarterback Kwashaun Quick led the charge, posting 159 of his 284 total yards during the 12-minute period to produce 17 unanswered points and a 27-15 win. Following a lost fumble by the Buccaneers, Quick threw a 28-yard touchdown and ran for a 58-yard score in a 45-second span to push Scotland ahead.

Bailey's hope of mixing it up against the Fighting Scots with a strong rushing attack didn't come to fruition. Jack Britt mustered just 85 yards on 28 carries as a team, sending the Buccaneers to their second loss on the year.

Porter Ridge 41, No. 6 A.L. Brown 13
Skill players also proved to be a problem for Porter Ridge, but an entirely different reason. Six starters sat out Friday's contest, further pushing the advantage to A.L. Brown — or so it seemed.

Pirates quarterback Lee McNeil picked up the slack, passing for 212 yards and one touchdown and rushing for 145 yards and two scores during the big win. McNeil's favorite target on the night proved to be the team's kicker, Stephen Muscarello, who caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown.

Any questions surrounding the mettle of the 4A Pirates, who have played 2A and 3A schools up to this point, were answered Friday. After Wonders standout Damien Washington (215 rushing yards and two scores) cut the deficit to 14-13, Porter Ridge reeled off 27 straight points to make for the final margin.

No. 2 Butler 45, Vance 28
For the first half, Butler looked like its old, dominant self, building a 31-0 lead and outgaining the Cougars 188-8 in total yardage. But a Vance pick-6 before halftime and big return after the break cut the deficit to 31-14. Ultimately, though the Bulldogs' firepower was too much, from Uriah LeMay (118 receiving yards, three total touchdowns) and Josh Glisson (216 rushing yards, two scores) to the Ferguson brothers (Zach: two interceptions; Riley: 267 passing yards, three TDs). Speaking of LeMay, check back later this week for a story on the star junior wideout.

South Point 45, Burns 42 (OT)
A matchup of two top 3A teams lived up to the hype, as South Point won a thriller in overtime. Fullback Troy Leeper paced the Red Raiders with 245 yards and five touchdowns, but kicker Dayton Rogers made the difference, kicking the decisive 27-yard field goal in overtime.

No. 9 Wake Forest-Rolesville 30, Southeast Raleigh 27
Southeast Raleigh QB David Washington put on a first-quarter clinic, racking up 100 passing yards and two touchdowns. But interceptions by Tevin Barnes (a pick-6) and Nighee Walker fueled the Cougars in their comeback victory.

Garner 35, Middle Creek 21
For three quarters, it was smooth sailing for Garner as it piled up 28 points to Middle Creek's zero. But after turning two consecutive stops into touchdowns, it appeared the Mustangs would put together a comeback victory for the second straight week. Garner held on though, blocking a punt to set up an easy score and its fourth win in as many games.

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.

Jack Britt vs. Scotland highlights Week 4 football

September, 9, 2011
9/09/11
1:36
PM ET
For the first few weeks, I've used this space to preview the big football games during the upcoming weekend, which I hope you enjoy. But I think it's time to spice things up. So now, along with the usual preview, I'm going to offer my bold prediction for each game's outcome, giving you a chance to either congratulate my prophetic ability or (more likely) bash my attempt to channel Swami-like powers.

No. 7 Jack Britt (2-1) at No. 5 Scotland (3-0)
Before the season, Jack Britt coach Richard Bailey raved to me about Scotland's athletic ability, saying they will definitely be a team to watch this year. When I talked to Bailey on Thursday, his tune hadn't changed too much, except this week he was looking through a bit more critical of an eye, as the Buccaneers travel to face the Fighting Scots.

"[Scotland] has some of the best skill people I've seen in a long time. It's like preparing for Butler a couple years ago in the state title game," Bailey said. "Their offensive line and defensive line aren't as dominant, but their skill guys are incredible.

"You might be able to beat them up front, but nobody will outskill them."

Read More »

Middle Creek wins a thriller, Charlotte games on hold

September, 6, 2011
9/06/11
2:07
PM ET
Mother Nature has shown its ugly side in the past two weeks. First, it was a rare earthquake followed by Hurricane Irene. And last weekend, torrential thunderstorms pounded down on the Charlotte area, postponing all of the football games until Tuesday.

As a result, our statewide rankings will come out Wednesday this week. But that doesn't mean good football wasn't play in other parts of North Carolina, starting with a thriller between Middle Creek and Fuquay-Varina.

By the look of things, Middle Creek wasn't supposed to win Friday's matchup against Fuquay-Varina. The Mustangs had often finished second to their Tri-Nine Conference rivals on several occasions, and in the fourth quarter of their Friday matchup, Fuquay-Varina held what seemed to be a commanding 34-21 advantage.

But Middle Creek showed why it could a formidable force this season, using a flurry of offense and a goal-line stand to pull out a 48-47 double-overtime win.

Quarterback David Salmon (four touchdowns) oozed with poise in the Mustangs' comeback, leading his team on two scoring drives in the final four minutes -- the last of which ended with a touchdown pass to Curtis Burston that tied the score at 34.

In overtime, fate appeared on the Bengals' side, as the road team used a hook-and-lateral play to convert a fourth down into a touchdown on the opening overtime possession. The teams then traded scores until the second overtime, when Bengals fullback Carlton Bridges was stuffed on a two-point conversion try, giving the Mustangs a huge win in their conference opener.

AROUND THE STATE
*Jack Britt bounced back from a Week 2 loss in a major way, beating Southern Durham, 42-28. The Buccaneers were led by QB Mark McRae (three total touchdowns) and Lindon Watkins (222 rushing yards and one score). Southern Durham put up a fight behind Akeem Judd's 203 rushing yards and three scores, but it wasn't enough to overcome a quick start by the Buccaneers, who jumped out to a 28-7 lead in the first half.

*Millbrook continued its recent success, riding its defense to a 26-9 win against East Wake team that upset Wake Forest-Rolesville in week two. Keith Marshall had 157 yards and a touchdown for the Wildcats before sitting out for most of the second half.

*Damien Washington continued his tear, scoring twice on a touchdown pass and catch in A.L. Brown's 35-14 win against Rocky River. That's eight touchdowns through three games for the senior tailback, who gives the Wonders an ability to score in a hurry.

*West Rowan saw another win streak end after their Friday contest against Salisbury. But this time, it wasn't the Falcons who were on the short end. Behind Dinkin Miller's 132 rushing yards and touchdown, the Falcons beat the defending 2AA champs, 37-28, snapping the Hornets' 12-game win streak.

*Wallace Rose-Hill saw its 30-game string of wins snapped Friday in a 48-7 loss to New Hanover. The defeat is nothing for the defending 1A champs to hang their head over, though. New Hanover, which was led by 336 passing yards from QB Bates Taylor, is a 4A school.

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.

The place to be: Week 3 North Carolina football

September, 2, 2011
9/02/11
1:01
PM ET
Believe it or not, the third week of prep football has already rolled around for North Carolina, and if the first two weeks are any indication, this should be a good one. Here's where you need to be this weekend:

No. 1 Mallard Creek (2-0) at No. 10 Berry Academy (2-0)
OK, I'll admit it; I've written about Mallard Creek a lot in this space. Don't blame me, though; blame coach Mike Palmieri, who set up a tough yet intriguing early schedule for his Mavericks. After passing tests against Butler and Sun Valley, the state's top-ranked squad will travel to Berry Academy, where the dynamic duo of wideout Germone Hopper (280 all-purpose yards and two scores in Week 1) and linebacker Nick Dawson (also scored twice in Week 1).
The Mavericks offense has proven masterful, led by the four-headed monster of QB Andrew Goodman, RB Jela Duncan, WR Jamel Harbison and OL D.J. Humphries, putting the pressure on the Cardinals' defense to take control.

No. 6 Southern Durham (2-0) at No. 7 Jack Britt (1-1)
The Fayetteville region will gets its first big matchup when two of our top 10 teams face off. The game is a must-win for Jack Britt, which is looking to bounce back after a close loss to Lumberton and with another big contest against No. 5 Scotland next week. Southern Durham has looked good in its first two games, as dual-threat quarterback Dorian Belcher has shown off his array of skills.

Fuquay-Varina (2-0) at Middle Creek (1-1)
Fuquay Varina stands a chance to enter the conversation of top teams in the state, should it continue its hot start. Ricky Ferguson has been dominant, averaging nearly 105 rushing yards per contest for the Bengals, who slipped past Middle Creek in last year's matchup. The Mustangs are no slouches, either, with their only loss coming to No. 6 Southern Durham last week.

East Wake (2-0) at Millbrook (1-1)
This contest is filled with future implications. For East Wake, the goal is to prove last week's 20-17 overtime win against then-No. 6 Wake Forest-Rolesville was no fluke. For Millbrook, the hope is to build on last week's victory as well as see how it can keep building around the nation's top tailback Keith Marshall, who has rushed for 244 yards and a touchdown this year.

Mooresville (2-0) at Burns (2-0)
One team will taste its first defeat by night's end, but neither will go down easy. Mooresville has impressed with wins against South Meck and previously ranked West Rowan, while Darius Ramsey has run wild for Burns to create its own fast start.

Shelby (0-2) at Crest (1-1)
It's rivalry week for these two schools, which are separated by just four miles. The pressure is on Shelby in this contest, as the Golden Lions look to avoid an 0-3 start in a tough road environment at Crest.

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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