High-SchoolNorth-Carolina: Northern Guilford

Final North Carolina football rankings: Greensboro Page is No. 1

December, 5, 2011
12/05/11
1:25
PM ET
The road was anything but easy. Standing in Greensboro Page's way was two-time defending champ Butler, top-ranked Mallard Creek and a juggernaut in Garner. With each test, though, the Pirates plowed through the competition all the way to the Class 4AA title, the state's final No. 1 rankings and the No. 20 spot in the POWERADE FAB 50.

In the final, Page downed Garner, 35-21, behind dual-threat QB James Summers, who earned championship game MVP honors after throwing for two touchdowns and totaling 247 yards. Five first-half penalties did in the Trojans, who outgained the Pirates 156-83 in the first half but fell behind by 14 points and never recovered.

Coming in a close second is Scotland, which was nothing short of dominant in the 4A playoffs. Culminating with a 42-16 championship win against Porter Ridge, the Fighting Scots outscored their postseason opponents, 248-66.

Scotland did have mount a comeback after falling behind 13-0 in the first half to Porter Ridge, but behind fourth-down conversions and a pick-six, the Scots scored 42 of the game's next 45 points to secure their first title.

In other championship games: Northern Guilford beat Crest in the 3AA title game for the second straight year, Havelock dethroned three-time defending Class 3A champ West Rowan, and Tarboro won its third straight 2A title with a 39-36 win against Lincolnton behind Todd Gurley's 242 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

Here are how the final state rankings shake out:

1. Greensboro Page (15-0)
Earned top spot after downing two-time defending champ Butler, previous No. 1 Mallard Creek and finally, powerhouse Garner in the Class 4AA title game by the score of 35-21.

2. Scotland (15-0)
Capped undefeated season and dominant Class 4A playoff title run with 42-16 win against Porter Ridge.

3. Garner (15-1)
Trojans came up short in Class 4AA title game, falling 35-21 to Greensboro Page.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly North Carolina football rankings

North Carolina football championships preview

December, 2, 2011
12/02/11
1:48
PM ET
Preseason predictions, records, past history — throw them all out the window. This weekend, it will all come down to one game in deciding who's No. 1.

4AA: Greensboro Page vs. Garner (3 p.m. Saturday) All season long, both of these teams have quietly made a case for being the state's top team. In the last two rounds, Page knocked off Butler and Mallard Creek, teams that most figured had the best shot at winning the title. Meanwhile, Garner has blown up the scoreboard and blown out opponents, putting up 40-plus points in 10 of their last 11 games while letting the backfield of Juwan Moye and Demetrius Fairley run loose. Offensive firepower isn't a problem for either team, which makes defense the X-factor. Page has used late turnovers to rally in the last two weeks, while Garner stuffed a potent Jack Britt run game in the final quarter to pull out its semifinal win.
My pick: Garner 38, Greensboro Page 35

4A: Scotland vs. Porter Ridge (7 p.m. Saturday)
Jack Britt coach Richard Bailey told me about a month before the season that Scotland was going to be really good this season. I know I said throw out the predictions, but clearly the long-time coach was dead on. Scotland has used its talented QB Kwashaun Quick, wealth of rushers and impressive skill players on defense to run the table so far this year. Porter Ridge has a formidable QB in Lee McNeil and has the ability to pull out gritty wins. The Fighting Scots have had little trouble with their playoff opponents thus far, but Porter Ridge is likely to change that.
My pick: Scotland 31, Porter Ridge 27

3AA: Crest vs. Northern Guilford (7:30 p.m.Friday)
These two tangled in last year's title game with Northern Guilford prevailing 21-20 for the crown. The Nighthawks enter as the slight favorite again, riding a 13-game win streak and a formidable RB in T.J. Logan (2,264 rushing yards, 34 touchdowns). Crest star DL Jonathan Bullard and the rest of the Chargers D will need to be at their best to slow Logan. So will the Chargers offense, which has hit its stride after changing schemes midseason and found production behind Rhaheim Ledbetter, a Florida commit who has 1,027 rushing yards and 19 scores but is actually better at DB.
My pick: Crest 21, Northern Guilford 20

3A: Havelock vs. West Rowan (11 a.m. Saturday)
West Rowan is going for its fourth straight title, but unlike in years past, Havelock enters as the juggernaut. Havelock is averaging 51.5 points per game and has put up at least 62 in three of its four playoff wins. Quarterback Garrett Rowe has played a big part, throwing for 3,208 yards and 36 touchdowns. But for as serious as those stats are, West Rowan's experience and talent on both sides of the ball grants its the tools to slow down the Rams.
My pick: Havelock 42, West Rowan 35

2AA: Kinston vs. West Stokes (3 p.m. Saturday)
The road to this point hasn't been easy for either team. Kinston has needed several cardiac comebacks to down Bunn and Reidsville by a combined five points while West Stokes used a furious fourth-quarter comeback to erase a 12-point lead and beat Shelby in the semis. West Stokes has a fiesty defense led by sack machine Tyler Bullard. but Kinston counters with several playmakers in QB C.J. Bradshaw and running back Shaheed Swinson.
My pick: West Stokes 24, Kinston 17

2A: Tarboro vs. Lincolnton (11 a.m. Saturday)
Tarboro is back in the title game for the fourth straight year in hopes of winning its third straight crown. All of you are familiar with standout tailback Todd Gurley from his ESPNHS diary and it's safe to say Lincolnton's plan will be to stop the senior. Gurley has fought through injury to top the 2,00-yard mark and power the Vikings to wins, including a late score in last week's semifinal round against South Columbus. The run game will be a concern for the Tarboro D, too, which has to find a way to thwart Lincolnton's tricky triple-option offense.
My pick: Tarboro 21, Lincolnton 18

1AA: Ayden-Grifton vs. Swain County (11 a.m. Saturday)
Ayden-Grifton pulled off the major upset last week, downing two-time defending state champ Wallace-Rose Hill, led by QB Brandon Larry (242 total yards, two score). Will this be enough to knock off a surging Swain County squad?
My pick: Ayden-Grifton 24, Swain County 21

1A: Jones County vs. Murphy (7:30 p.m. Friday)
Murphy began the year 0-3, but with a dual-threat QB that can pile up the stats in Seth Curtis (more than 3,200 total yards), the Bulldogs are back in the title game for the second straight year. Jones County, which is making its first championship-game appearance, will be looking for the upset.
My pick: Murphy 34, Jones County 25

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

Page knocks off No. 1 Mallard Creek

November, 28, 2011
11/28/11
1:37
PM ET
Greensboro Page appears to have a serious case of deja vu — and that hasn't been a bad thing.

A week after dethroning two-time defending Class 4AA champ Butler, the underdog Pirates once again capitalized on late penalties and turnovers to erase a double-digit deficit and down the state's top-ranked team in Mallard Creek, 41-27.

Mallard Creek built a 12-point lead in the first quarter, but after Page rallied back, Blake Hickman returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown to put the Pirates up 33-27 in the third. A James Summer touchdown pass and an interception in the end zone helped the Pirates hold the lead for good and advance to the Class 4AA title game against Garner.

*Garner held off Jack Britt, 34-27, behind a gritty defensive effort. With the score knotted at 27 with 10 minutes to play, Garner stuffed the Buccaneers on their last three possessions. Meanwhile, the Trojans pulled ahead for good on a Vincent Jeffries' touchdown pass to Tim Thorb with 1:27 left on the clock. Jeffries finished the night with 268 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

*In the 4A semifinals, Porter Ridge advanced to its first state championship by narrowly beating Mooresville, 34-28. Mooresville nearly pulled off a late comeback after scoring with 1:34 left and recovering the ensuing onside kick. But Chris Duffy came up with a big interception with 48 seconds to clinch the victory. The Indians will face 14-0 Scotland, which had no trouble beating New Bern by a count of 61-28. The Fighting Scots broke out early behind three turnovers and a 26-point first quarter, earning them the chance to vie for their first state title.

*In the 3AA semis, the team that started off far from perfect (Crest at 1-2) upset the team that entered the game perfect (Charlotte Catholic at 13-0). Behind RB/DB Rhaheim Ledbetter's 268 rushing yards, two scores and interception, the Chargers beat Charlotte Catholic, 35-28. The Cougars hurt their own cause with five turnovers and three penalties that negated touchdowns. Crest, which reached the final last year, moves on to face Northern Guilford, which beat Hunt, 35-6.

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

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