Rewritten: "The Spot" covers playoff rematches, a record-breaking 103 goals in a season, analysis of brackets, and predictions for the championship.

Rewritten: “The Spot” covers playoff rematches, a record-breaking 103 goals in a season, analysis of brackets, and predictions for the championship.

It’s time for the N.C. High School Athletic Association boys soccer playoffs!

I thoroughly enjoy the playoffs for boys’ soccer. My only issue is that I am only able to watch two teams per round (typically) until the state championships.

In soccer, anything is possible, as the nature of the sport allows for unpredictable outcomes. However, it is typical for the championship games to feature the top two teams in the state competing against each other.

There are no coincidences at the conclusion of the journey.

Let’s analyze the area in this week’s From The Spot notebook…

Kickoff: On rematches…

For some unknown reason, the first round of the playoffs consistently features first-round conference matchups without any clear explanation.

Fortunately, it is unlikely that you will experience this situation again in the next two years as we move towards implementing seven (or eight) classifications. There are numerous reasons for this decision that cannot all be listed here.

I suggested a method to modify this for the remaining year. Any ambitious conference or county is welcome to replicate my work and suggest this rule on their own.

It is relatively simple to suggest a rule and even easier to have it approved, as long as you are skilled at navigating the process. Having attended numerous NCHSAA board meetings, I am familiar with the procedure and can offer insights for those interested. For more information, please refer to the following link.

Reworded: Touching and emotional tales

Reworded: The regular season concluded with a great achievement for Southern Durham, as they won their first ever conference championship. Additionally, Harding and Nash Central will both be making playoff appearances for the first time in several years (2007 and 2008, respectively).

Unfortunately, West Rowan fell just shy of breaking one of the state’s longest playoff dry spells. Despite having a respectable RPI, the Falcons were unable to secure entry due to being ranked lower than several conference rivals with lower RPIs.

Despite my dislike for its impact on West Rowan, the no leapfrogging policy is beneficial in general.

The Falcons have made five playoff appearances, but have not done so since 1998.

The schools with longer dry spells are only West Charlotte (1994), E.E. Smith (1996), and Westover (1996).

Second half: What did he do? And additional non-NCHSAA events.

Unfortunately, Justin Loveland of Matthews Christian may not have the opportunity to compete against the top teams in the N.C. Christian Schools Athletic Association. However, he has an impressive record of 103 goals and 23 assists in just 28 games!

Loveland guided the Colts to a perfect 28-0 record and a championship in the NCSSA 1A state tournament.

It is uncertain what a player from NCHSAA would achieve at that caliber, but scoring 103 goals in 28 games appears challenging for any individual. This is not a sport with unlimited time!

The selections I made for the N.C. Independent Athletic Association from a previous column called From The Spot were quite successful. I correctly predicted the champions for 3A and 1A, and I also mentioned that the 2A division would be highly competitive, which was proven true when Davidson Day won as an 8-seed.

The defeat of Wesleyan Christian in penalty kicks was a difficult one. I personally witnessed their performance and believe they have the capability to compete with any NCHSAA 4A team in the state.

Overtime: Handing out bracket superlatives


The most exciting initial pairing – Two matches in the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference are evenly matched: (17) Middle Creek vs. (16) Holly Springs and (18) Green Hope vs. (15) Apex Friendship. This will result in two strong contenders being eliminated after the first round.

The most likely opportunity for a surprise victory in the first round is the match between (23) Laney and (10) Overhills, or (24) South Mecklenburg and (9) Watauga. However, I believe that the real upset will be (20) R.J. Reynolds defeating (13) Cox Mill. This is because Cox Mill has only scored 33 goals this season, which could eventually work against them.

The most challenging route is undoubtedly Leesville Road, particularly when facing off against Holly Springs or Middle Creek.

I believe the simplest path is through Laney High School, who will likely have the upper hand in the first round against Overhills and in the second round against either Lumberton or Hoke County.


Top matchup in the first round – (17) Franklinton faces (16) Southern Wayne. Franklinton’s top scorer, Ryan Martinez, has been sidelined with an injury for most of the season but has returned just in time for the Red Rams.

The (28) Vance County vs. (5) Southern Durham match-up presents a great opportunity for an early upset, as the saying goes “it’s tough to defeat a strong team three times.”
The hardest road — (27) Smithfield-Selma at (6) Triton followed by (11) Jacksonville versus (22) Northside of Jacksonville makes for the best quartet on either side of the bracket.

It’s difficult to envision a simpler path for A.C. Reynolds to reach the third round.


The first-round matchup between (22) Seaforth and (11) Midway appears to be a closely contested match.

The top opportunity for a surprise victory in the first round of the playoffs is the matchup between (24) Northwood and (9) Granville Central. It may not technically be considered an upset, but I will refer to it as such for the purpose of this discussion.

The most challenging match – Owen and Brevard had a tie with no goals a couple of weeks ago (we witnessed it!) and now they may face each other in the second round!
​​​​​​​The easiest road — No offense to anyone, but I don’t see how Clinton doesn’t walk to the East regional final. Its best competition, aside from maybe Manteo, is on the other side of the bracket.


The first-round matchup between (18) Bradford Prep and (15) Mountain Island Charter is one of the most exciting in the 1A division.

The most favorable opportunity for an unexpected victory in the first round – My prediction is that two teams from the same conference will have the best chance: (21) North Duplin defeating (12) Jones and (24) Lakewood prevailing over (9) Cape Hattears.
The hardest road — (4) Carver might get a conferenc opponent in round two with revenge on its mind.

The most straightforward path – Gray Stone Day has a well-planned setup that allows them to reach the elite eight before facing their first major obstacle.

Cannot reword


Top pick – Hoggard. Are the conditions right for the Vikings to achieve ultimate success this season? They have been close for quite some time.

Second favorite – Green Level. A perfect combination of sturdy defense and a strong finishing touch. Also, the team that wins the SWAC championship is consistently favored.
Favorite #3 — Ardrey Kell. The Knights have been on fire in the second half of the season.

Top pick #4: Leesville Road. Their defense is impenetrable when they’re in the zone.

T.C. Roberson, a 1-seed from the mountains, can be considered a dark horse. However, all the teams from the mountains have proven their capabilities.


Top pick – Hickory. The previous year’s second place team is ramping up their performance as the season comes to a close.

My second favorite is A.C. Reynolds. They have faced tough opponents and have proven their resilience.

Favorite number three is First Flight. They have outplayed almost all of their opponents.
My top pick is #4 – Western Alamance. While they’re ranked as a 10-seed, I believe the RPI is underestimating this conference.

The underdog – Croatan. It appears to be an unusual year where we are not discussing enough teams from the coast unexpectedly excelling and making a push.


Top pick – Clinton. A unique and well-rounded team. They have the potential to redeem themselves after coming in second place last year.

My second favorite team is the Franklin Academy Patriots. They had a strong team from the start and most of their defeats were against larger schools.
Favorite #3 — Owen. Last year’s defending champs have somehow only suffered one loss despite devastating injuries and a lack of depth.

My top pick is CSD. If you are victorious at Catawba Shores, you earn a special place in my heart.

Wallace-Rose Hill is a dark horse, despite their smaller size. However, once they have you on the defensive, it can be a challenging position to be in.


Top pick number one is Hobbton. Could this be the year they dominate? Their recent performance has been exceptional.

Top pick #2 – Thomas Jefferson. Dominant and not due to a weak competition.

My third favorite is Mount Airy. The team is determined to redeem themselves after last year’s disappointing finish.
Favorite #4 — Rosewood. It’s a coin flip between them and Hobbton as to who wins the East.

Gray Stone Day was the dark horse of the competition, managing to tie with 4A Hickory Ridge in the last weeks of the season.

PKs: Championship predictions

“Leesville Road defeats Hoggard in the 4A East region.”

In the 4A West division, Ardrey Kell defeated West Forsyth.

The winner of the 4A championship was Leesville Road, defeating Ardrey Kell.

Eastern division 3A: First victory for Flight against Western Alamance.

Asheboro was defeated by A.C. Reynolds in the 3A West region.

The 3A championship was won by First Flight over A.C. Reynolds.

Clinton High School beat Franklin Academy in the 2A East division.

The CSD team triumphed over Forbush at 2A West.

In the 2A championship game, Clinton defeated CSD.

Hobbton wins over Rosewood in 1A East.

1A West: Gray Stone Day defeated Thomas Jefferson

Gray Stone Day defeated Hobbton in the 1A championship.