West Johnston at Harnett Central, 7
Southeast Raleigh at Clayton, 7
Welcome to the jumble that is the race for the third, fourth, fifth and sixth places in the conference. These games and Monday night’s Clayton vs. West Johnston clash, which ended after press time (visit garnercleveland.com/sports for our coverage) will determine who finishes where in the Greater Neuse River 4A Conference, who’s playing next week and who’s packing things up.
Barring an East Wake upset of Knightdale on Friday – which would give the Warriors the league’s No 2 playoff seed and drop Garner back to No. 3 (because of East Wake’s win over Garner), a tie for third place is there for the taking for Southeast or West Johnston this week.
In Clayton, Southeast will need to find its offensive touch again after struggling to score (averaging 11.67 points a game in its last three outings) to match up with the Comets’ wing-T attack. Clayton’s all about getting a lead and making it stick up. Southeast can’t let that happen Friday night.
In Angier, West Johnston goes in as a big favorite against Central, which is on a seven-game losing streak and hasn’t scored more than 20 points in a game all season.
Remember the top three finishers in each conference are guaranteed playoff spots, then it goes to the overall records of all the remaining teams so every win helps in the chase for a playoff spot.
Smithfield-Selma at South Johnston, 7:30
South Johnston may be the best two-win team in the state. The Trojans offense always seems to be much harder to tackle than you’d think and they typically find wins to score points. South’s issue has been its defense wearing out late in games, which happened against last week against Cleveland.
Smithfield-Selma would just love to get to the point where fatigue might matter. Meaning the Spartans have to find a way to stay in the game, hit a few big plays and/or create turnovers in the first half.
Rosewood at Princeton, 7:30
Last year’s thrilling loss to Rosewood could have meant the end of the line for the Bulldogs but instead it sparked them to a three-win run in the playoffs – which included a revenge win over Rosewood – and a trip to the regional championship game. Don’t think that playoff loss hasn’t been on the Eagles’ respective minds since last November.
On paper, Princeton has a second place finish wrapped up in the Carolina 1A Conference after Saturday’s big (41-13) win over Lakewood so there’s not as much at stake – other than a better playoff seeding because of a better overall record – but it’s Rosewood vs. Princeton so it always matters.
Triton at Corinth Holders, 7:30
A second-place finish is on the line down the hill at Corinth Holders. Triton currently holds the spot but the Pirates would pull even – and have the important head-to-head tiebreaker – with a victory Friday night. Two Rivers 3A Conference foes have had a tough time matching up with the Pirates’ passing attack but Triton’s defensive line is one of the best in the league. The Hawks’ varied rushing attack has made them a perennial playoff squad.
North Johnston at Washington, 7:30
North Johnston finishes out its first season in the Eastern Plains 2A Conference with a visit to meet league champion Washington. The Pam Pack is averaging just 23.6 points a game and has two four of its last five by two touchdowns or less.
South Johnston Coach
“Rivalry games are always tough and we will work hard to get ready for Smithfield-Selma on Senior Night.”