#FNFrenzy playoff football preview November 21

#FNFrenzy playoff football preview November 21


#FNFrenzy playoff football preview November 21


The #FNFrenzy rolls on as the playoffs hit the second round this week.

The #FNFrenzy rolls on as the playoffs hit the second round this week.

The NCHSAA football playoffs hit the second round this week, and the #FNFrenzy is your home for all of the high school football action! This week’s matchups include two high-profile rematches in 4AA, while the #FNFrenzy Game of the Week visits Lake Norman. Without further ado, here’s the weekly #FNFrenzy football preview.

Butler (10-2, 5-0 Away) at Mallard Creek (11-1, 6-0 Home)

In the most anticipated game of the night, Butler will visit Mallard Creek in a rematch from the second week of the season. In round one, the Bulldogs won 28-27 in a thrilling finish. Mallard Creek has used that loss as motivation this season, rattling off 10-straight victories to this point. The Mavericks have been wonderful on offense, averaging 44 points per game en route to a MeCKa Conference title. Mallard Creek began its quest for back-to-back championships with a 42-14 victory over Myers Park last week.

Butler’s rushing attack has been phenomenal in 2014, and tailback Benjamin LeMay has been a huge part of that. Butler’s offense rushed for 415 yards last week against South Meck, and LeMay led the charge with 203 yards and two touchdowns. The Bulldogs’ ability to make big plays was on display against South Meck, especially when you consider the Bulldogs were down over 11 minutes in the time of possession battle.

Butler vs. Mallard Creek part deux should provide fans with another thrilling finish as the winner will be a favorite to advance to the 4AA state championship game.

USA TODAY High School Sports Predictor: Mallard Creek 35, Butler 27

Ardrey Kell (9-3, 3-2) at Lake Norman (11-1, 7-0 Home)

The #FNFrenzy Game of the Week showcases South Meck 8 runner-up Ardrey Kell visiting North Piedmont champion Lake Norman. Both teams score in bunches, and the scoreboard operator should get plenty of work. Ardrey Kell opened the postseason with a 28-16 victory over Greensboro-Page. The Knights were well-balanced offensively, rushing for 165 yards and passing for 169. Adam Hastings’ team will have to rush the ball effectively to slow down Lake Norman’s prolific offense. Keeping Josh Ladowski on the sidelines may be Ardrey Kell’s best defense against the high-scoring Wildcats.

Lake Norman’s offense is video game-like when you look at the stats. The Wildcats have been untouchable at home this season, outscoring opponents 270-107 this season, including last week’s 35-7 victory against West Charlotte. Josh Ladowski is proving why he’s a leading candidate for the #FNFrenzy Player of the Year award, with over 3400 all-purpose yards and 60, yes 60 total touchdowns. Receiver Corey Joyner leads a talented corps of pass catchers including Baker White and Dylan Galbo. The trio have combined for over 2200 receiving yards and 27 touchdowns.

Both teams should have no issue finding the endzone in this contest, and the fans should get their money’s worth on the lake Friday night.

USA TODAY High School Sports Predictor: Lake Norman 35, Ardrey Kell 28

Hough (9-3, 4-2 Away) at Indepenence (12-0, 6-0 Home)

In another high-profile rematch, the Hough Huskies return to Independence to battle the unbeaten Patriots. If Hough is going to pull off the upset, the Huskies will have to make protecting the ball priority number one. That begins will the guy who touches the ball every play, quarterback William Coleman. Coleman has thrown 10 interceptions this year, and turned the ball over one time against Indy in the first matchup. Running back Bishop Ford has had a sensational season, rushing for over 1800 yards and 23 touchdowns for Miles Aldridge’s team. The Huskies’ receiving corps will provide some tough matchups for the proud Indy defense, led by junior wide out Corey Sutton’s 498 yards and four touchdowns. Corey Bell, Jr. and Carl Tucker will give Coleman some options against the feisty Indy defense.

What can you say about Independence that hasn’t already been said? The Patriots’ defense has now pitched seven shutouts following last week’s 35-0 victory against Olympic. The Pats are confident on defense, but quarterback Kelvin Hopkins is definitely the leader of this team. Look no further than the Butler game to find an example of Kelvin’s ability to make a play when it matters most. Trailing 28-27 with less than a minute to go, Hopkins led Independence down the field for a game-winning touchdown to clinch the Southwestern Conference championship and an undefeated season for Big I football. Joe Evans has put it on his players to perform after a lackluster 2013, and they have responded in a big way for him.

USA TODAY High School Sports Predictor: Independence 24, Hough 21

Class 4AA Predictions

East Forsyth 42, Providence 30

Class 4A Predictions

Vance 42, Ragsdale 24

Rocky River 35, Mount Tabor 31

Charlotte Catholic 49, High Point Central 35

Hickory Ridge (10-2, 3-2 Away) at Statesville (8-4, 4-2)

In another meeting of high-scoring teams, Hickory Ridge will visit Statesville in the second round. Marty Paxton’s Bulls average a tick under 37 points per game, and are led by receiver Nate Mullen. Mullen does a little bit of everything for the Bulls, rushing for 776 yards and 14 touchdowns while adding another 640 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Running back Jaylen Rudisell has rushed for 1367 yards and 20 touchdowns for Hickory Ridge. Despite being the No. 6 seed in the 3AA playoffs, Hickory Ridge is proving to be a bonafide state championship contender.

After winning a 21-20 game against Albert Funderburke-led Sun Valley, Statesville is preparing to host a second playoff game. The Greyhounds have won four in a row, averaging a stout 39 points per game during that span. Quarterback Travis Ramseur is the bell cow for Statesville, and as he goes, so does the rest of the team. Ramseur has over 2700 total yards and 24 total touchdowns in 2014. Ramseur has a myriad of weapons at his disposal, led by Jeff Turner and Thomas Brown. The dynamic duo have combined for over 800 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns for Statesville. Statesville will be comfortable against Hickory Ridge’s passing attack, and the pass rush is a big reason for that. Nine defenders have combined for 19 sacks this season.

USA TODAY High School Sports Predictor: Hickory Ridge 48, Statesville 27

Class 3AA Predicitons

Asheville 56, Cox Mill 42

Weddington 42, A.C. Reynolds 38

Cuthbertson 49, Asheboro 31

South Point (8-4, 5-0 Away) at Concord (12-0, 7-0 Home)

If you like old-school, put-a-hand-in-the-ground-and-go football, this is the game for you. South Point and Concord both love to run the ball first and foremost, and each team averages over 290 yards per game on the ground. South Point executes the triple option to perfection, and Ryland Etherton is a huge part of that. The junior tailback has rushed for over 1300 yards and six touchdowns for the Red Raiders. Quarterback Jaquan Brooks is smart with the ball, and has rushed for over 700 yards and four scores this season. Defensively, South Point is led by the linebacker tandem of Yale Loucks and Tyler Hall. Loucks (154) and Hall (124) have been tackling machines this season. Hall also leads the team with 18 tackles for loss.

Concord’s Rocky Reid will put those South Point tacklers to the test in this game. Concord’s senior running back rushed for an incredible 2583 yards and 36 touchdowns this season. Glen Padgett’s team isn’t devoid of weapons, however. The Spiders’ quarterback Keenan Allen has thrown for 1348 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. Carter Mozingo is near the top of the charts in every category for Concord, hauling in 30 receptions for 468 yards this season. Tight end Drew Yoos is also a playmaker for the South Piedmont champions. A fundamentally sound effort will be required from the Concord defense, and leading tackler Cam Blackwelder will head the Spiders’ effort. Blackwelder was first on the team with 72 total tackles this season. Tyler Thomas was right behind his teammate, tallying 71 stops on the season.

With both teams rushing the ball effectively, both teams will have to make the most of what could be limited possessions in this one. South Point is no slouch, but slowing down Rocky Reid has proven to be all but impossible in 2014.

USA TODAY High School Sports Predictor: Concord 28, South Point 20

Class 3A Predictions

Crest 44, West Rowan 17

Forestview 35, Pisgah 14

West Henderson 42, East Rowan 41

Parkwood (7-5, 4-3 Away) at Lincolnton (10-2, 6-0 Home)

Lincoln County is home to two playoff teams, the first of which is Lincolnton High School. The Wolves have been strong this season, finishing the season on a five-game winning streak before last week’s 48-14 playoff win against Newton-Conover. The Wolves are led on both sides of the ball by NC State commit Darian Roseboro. Darian does it all for Lincolnton, rushing the ball for the Wolves, and anchoring a feisty pass rush that earned him high praise nationwide from college scouts.

Parkwood pulled off an upset last week, going to Huss and defeating the Huskies 37-7. The Rebels finished fourth in a stout Rocky River Conference, and three of those teams are still alive in the second round. Parkwood’s rushing attack is led by junior Tre Butler’s 1055 yards and 11 touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Max Robinson has hauled in 40 passes for 847 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014. Linebacker Treven Parker is getting it done defensively, racking up 91 tackles, including 9.0 TFL this year. The Parkwood pass rush has been a strength as well, piling up 24 sacks of opposing quarterbacks.

USA TODAY High School Sports Predictor: Lincolnton 38, Parkwood 20

Class 2AA Predictions

East Lincoln 45, Rutherfordton-Spindale Central 24

Ashe County 49, Monroe 33

Class 2A Predictions

Owen 49, Salisbury 21

Mount Pleasant 21, North Rowan 14

Shelby 28, Carver 24

Class 1AA Predictions

Starmount 48, Bessemer City 21

Class 1A Predictions

Murphy 41, Union Academy 24

Thomas Jefferson Academy 26, Pine Lake Prep 21


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