With the NCHSAA football playoffs kicking off Friday, the Charlotte area loads up the 3AA & 3A playoff brackets. In Class 3AA, Cuthbertson is the No. 2 seed, Statesville is third, and Weddington is the fifth seed in the West. Cox Mill High School will make history Friday, when they host North Forsyth in the school’s first ever home playoff game. In Class 3A, Crest High School and Concord lead the way with undefeated records. Freedom is the No. 2 seed, also without a loss on the season.
With every team facing a go-or-go-home situation, the pressure has never been higher for everyone involved. Here’s a look at some of the 3AA/3A playoff matchups and complete playoff predictions.
Sun Valley (6-5) at Statesville (7-4)
In what might be the highest scoring game of the first round, Albert Funderburke leads Sun Valley against Travis Ramseur’s Statesville Greyhounds. Sun Valley comes into this game with a 6-5 record, but the Spartans are an impressive 5-1 on the road this season. Sun Valley’s only road defeat was a 42-41 loss at Cuthbertson on November 3. When Sun Valley has the ball, the Albert Funderburke show is must-see football. The senior taiilback rushed for 2235 yards and 25 touchdowns this season, averaging 203 yards per game. If Statesville can slow down Sun Valley’s all-world tailback, Sun Valley’s offense may struggle.
Statesville has a high powered offense of their own, led by quarterback Travis Ramseur. The Greyhounds average 33 points per game, and Ramseur’s dual-threat capabilities are the catalyst. Ramseur threw for over 1800 yards this season while rushing for 704 yards and scoring 22 total touchdowns. Statesville’s offense has a plethora of good receivers, with three receivers scoring at least five touchdowns this season. Junior Jalen Hill leads the way with 539 yards and six touchdowns.
USA TODAY High School Sports Predictor: Statesville 37, Sun Valley 30
South Iredell (6-5) at Weddington (10-1)
South Iredell enters the playoffs on the heels of two lopsided defeats at the hands of Mooresville and Statesville. The Vikings’ inability to establish consistency plagued their season, but the former state champions know what it takes the reach the top. Chris Holmes’ 1531 yards on the ground and 16 touchdowns lead South Iredell in both categories. Junior linebacker Jared Bradley leads the team with 55 total tackles in 2014. If South Iredell is going to pull the upset, the Vikings’ offensive line must open holes for Holmes to run to keep Weddington’s offense on the sideline.
Tim Carson’s Weddington club put together a fantastic regular season, rolling to a 10-1 season. The Warriors’ only loss of the year was a 42-38 heartbreaker at Cuthbertson. Weddington’s running back-by-committee approach has been successful, with five rushers finding the endzone, led by Mitchel Carson’s 649 yards and six touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Zach Goins heads up a strong receiving corps with 672 yards and 10 touchdowns in the regular season. Weddington’s defense has flourished this season, with Lance Moore leading the way with 17 sacks.
USA TODAY High School Sports Predictor: Weddington 35, South Iredell 7
Class 3AA Predictions
Asheville 32, Central Cabarrus 7
Cox Mill 35, North Forsyth 28
Reynolds 48, Erwin 42
Hickory Ridge 28, Ledford 14
Asheboro 30, Marvin Ridge 21
Cuthbertson 35, Ashbrook 21
Class 3A Predictions
Crest 41, Southwestern Randolph 0
West Rowan 42, North Buncombe 7
Pisgah 34, Hibriten 27
Forestview 42, East Gaston 16
Concord 42, Tuscola 6
South Point 41, Fred T. Foard 18
Kings Mountain 32, West Henderson 14
Freedom 42, East Rowan 17