Monday, December 22, 2014

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CarolinaPreps Week 2 preview: Rivalries dominate NC High School Football slate

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As if the slate of games in the opening week wasn’t big enough, the second week of the high school football season will be even bigger.

Last Friday, we were treated to a Queen City battle in Memorial Stadium that saw Butler take firm possession of the top spot in the 4A ranks. This week, we’ll see a rumble in Craven County that should equal that same hype and passion.

Last year, New Bern looked like they would cruise to victory when they led Havelock 20-0 early in the game, but a string of turnovers and big plays saw the Rams explode for 50 points and win in dominating fashion.

Havelock cruised to the 3A championship and is still the top ranked 3A team in the state. New Bern, however, is fresh off of their own dominating win against Hillside in their season opener and would like nothing more than to travel to their arch-rivals stadiums and leave with the victory. To do that, though, they’ll have to stop University of South Carolina-bound athlete Pharoh Cooper, who can single-handedly take over a game and hurt the feelings of the opposition.

Sticking with the rivalry theme, West Rowan’s trip to Davie County will be a good ol’ fashion slugfest as it always is, but the intensity between these arch-rivals was raised to maximum levels as both teams are coming off of huge victories. Davie shocked the 4A and the entire state when it defeated the defending 4AA state champion Page Pirates on the road last week. The 31-14 victory elevated the War Eagles into the Top-25 rankings.

West Rowan defeated Mooresville, who snapped their national best winning streak of 46 games last August. The Falcons are loaded on the defensive side of the football and subject opponents to 48 minutes of smashmouth physical football.

As it always is with this rivalry, seating will be at a premium at Davie High so arriving early will be a must.

Speaking of the Page Pirates, they will attempt to rebound from last week’s loss against the defending 3AA champion Northern Guilford Nighthawks. This will be the season opener for Northern, who will host this game.

The key to the game for the Pirates will be stopping the dazzling running back T.J. Logan for Northern. Logan is proclaimed by many recruiting services in the nation as the top running back in North Carolina and among the best in the country. He has already committed to play for the University of North Carolina next fall.

Red Springs will host South Columbus in arguably the top game of the 1A-2A ranks. Both programs are Top 5 teams in their respective classifications and both are serious championship contenders. This could be a fun night for offensive football fans and Red Springs has proven that they can light up a scoreboard and score at will.

The Stallions' Pharoah McKever is one of the top athletes in the state and will be leading the charge for South.

Speaking of the South, if you’re a fan of high school football and you can’t get enough of the game, make the short trip to Myrtle Beach High School on Saturday night for a taste of South Carolina football as some Palmetto powers collide. You may ask why I’m bringing up South Carolina high school football -- because this year’s Derrick Law Firm Kickoff Classic is the opening act to what will be a North Carolina vs. South Carolina border war for years to come.

Next season, Richmond County, Wilmington Hoggard, New Hanover and Southeast Raleigh will face Myrtle Beach, Irmo, Rock Hill Northwestern and Conway in this first-of-its-kind battle.

So if you’re a fan of any of those teams and you want to get a preview of what you’ll see next year, or just a high school football fan, the kickoff is at 5 p.m. at Myrtle Beach High School with Conway facing the top-ranked Northwestern Trojans, and at 8 p.m. Myrtle Beach hosting Irmo.

You can follow Chris Hughes and on Twitter @CarolinaPreps1. ClientIP: UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP