The Latest: Notable Victories in Week 10, Rookie Coaches’ Success, Predictions for Playoffs

Welcome back to our discussion forum, The Huddle!

Unfortunately, the 2023 regular season is coming to an end with just one week remaining. While it’s a bit disheartening, I’m excited for the playoffs. Aside from a few outliers, there have been several conferences lacking in equal competition, resulting in a higher number of one-sided games.

The previous week witnessed notable displays of skill. We will discuss them in the first segment. In the second segment, I wanted to revisit the progress of the first-year head coaches who are doing well. In the third segment, I have compiled some ideas about the revised playoff predictions.

First Down: Top 10 Impressive Victories from Week 10

I was most impressed by these 10 performances from last week.

A.C. Reynolds 28, T.C. Roberson 7

  • The recent victory for A.C. Reynolds was a great morale boost. I predicted T.C. Roberson would excel in the Mountain Athletic division this season. The Rams performed admirably leading up to this game. They only lost to undefeated Watauga by a single point. However, Reynolds’ strong defense hindered the Rams throughout the game and their offense did what was necessary to secure the win, effectively claiming the conference championship title.

Chambers 30, West Charlotte 14

  • I chose Chambers before the match, but I never expected to witness the Cougars dominating the West Charlotte team 30-0 in the final quarter, but that’s exactly what happened. The Cougars made a strong statement, proving that they are still a force to be reckoned with.

Cleveland 48, Garner 7

  • This result against Garner bodes very well for Cleveland, who has a big conference championship game against rival Clayton next week. A couple of weeks ago, Clayton beat the Trojans 29-2. Cleveland scored three more touchdowns on Garner than their Johnston County foe did.

The final score was Farmville Central 47 and Greene Central 8.

  • Ron Cook has done such a great job turning around the Farmville Central program, which is now 7-2 in 2023 after a huge win over a talented Greene Central team. The Jaguars averaged 13.6 yards/passing attempt and 8.7 yards/rushing attempt. And they reportedly stopped Greene Central in the backfield upwards of 20 times.

The final score of the game was Jay M. Robinson 21, Northwest Cabarrus 13.

  • The final score doesn’t blow anyone away, but Robinson played like the more dominant team in the battle of unbeatens. Robinson’s 21 points are the most scored on Northwest all season. The Trojans shut out five of their first eight opponents. Robinson senior quarterback Issac Lee did a great job attacking that defense with his arm. Lee threw for 245 yards and two touchdowns on 18 attempts.

Leesville Road 64, Athens Drive 0

  • The Pride aimed to make a statement against the Jaguars and it’s clear they succeeded. Athens Drive has had a strong season compared to its past performance. The Jaguars came into the game with an average of 25+ points. Just a few weeks ago, they scored two touchdowns against Cardinal Gibbons. However, Leesville miraculously achieved a shutout on a dry Thursday evening.

Mount Tabor 41, Reagan 14

  • I am empty-handed. This Central Piedmont Conference is restricted. Where has this iteration of Mount Tabor been for the entire season? This victory against a highly skilled Reagan team was undoubtedly the Spartans’ most impressive performance this year. They are now resembling the team I predicted would dominate the conference. This is a positive indication for coach Tiesuan Brown that the team is beginning to gel, but a negative sign for whichever 4A West team will have to host them in the first round.

Rabun Gap defeated Providence Day 42 to 27.

  • Rabun Gap achieved an impressive feat by defeating the Providence Day group in a dominant manner. The Georgia-based NCISAA school was able to overpower Providence Day’s defense with a strong ground game. Previously ranked as the top team in North Carolina by HighSchoolOT, Providence Day was unable to match Rabun Gap’s performance.

Rolesville 75, Wake Forest 27

  • Not sure when the last time was that Wake Forest allowed this many points, but it was certainly before Earl Smith’s arrival in the 2000s. Rolesville plays with a serious chip on its shoulder and did what it set out to do: embarrass the Cougars. The Rams crushed the Wake Forest defense both through the air and on the ground.

Shelby 49, East Gaston 13

  • Shelby’s upcoming conference championship game against Burns in the last week of the season is showing promising signs. The Golden Lions limited East Gaston to only 13 points after Burns had defeated them with a score of 42 points the previous week. Despite giving away possession three times, Shelby still managed to win with this final score.

Second down: Checking up on the New Coaches in their First Year.

Several first-year head coaches have experienced great success this season. Below is a list of the new coaches who have achieved either a .500 record or secured a spot in the playoffs.

  • Tony Aguilar, Southeast Alamance
  • Tim Bagamary, Eastern Guilford
  • DeShawn Baker, Hough
  • Chuck Cannon, Wilkes Central
  • Rob Creason, Oak Grove
  • Jonathan Crompton, Tuscola
  • Dustin Fry, Polk County
  • David Hayes, Providence Grove
  • Strait Herron, Kings Mountain
  • Mark Holcomb, Bishop McGuinness
  • The individuals mentioned are Chris James and Charlotte Christian.

  • Mitch Johnson, Northwood
  • Antonio King, Jordan
  • Chad Little, North Stanly
  • Greg Lloyd, Starmount
  • Laymarr Marshall, Millbrook
  • Matt Montroy, Lake Norman Charter
  • Ranier Rackley, Rolesville
  • Chris Rusiewicz, Northwest Guilford
  • Philip Russ, East Rutherford
  • Terrance Saxby, New Bern
  • Jason Seidel, Jay M. Robinson
  • Josh Sophia, North Rowan
  • Erik Teague, Reidsville
  • Jimmy Upchurch, West Stokes
  • Kevin Wallace, West Forsyth

I would like to mention that both Strait Herron and Jason Seidel have achieved 9-0 records with their respective teams. Can you inform me when was the last occurrence of a first-year coach sweeping the regular season? I am unsure of how to search for this information.

Third Down: Reflections on Predictions

With only one week remaining and several teams securing top seeds, our HSOT Playoff Projections are probably resembling the official brackets that will be announced on Saturday.

Some thoughts:

  • What is the magnitude of the gap between the 8th and 9th ranked teams in the 4A West division? The 8th seed will face Alexander Central while the 9th seed will face Charlotte Catholic.

  • The 4A West division consists of several highly-ranked teams that I would not want to face in the initial round: 20-Mallard Creek, 21-Cuthbertson, 19-Mount Tabor, 22-Independence, 18-Marvin Ridge. This is a challenging lineup.

  • The current 4A East projection includes several Wake County matchups across conferences: Athens-Rolesville, Heritage-Leesville, Garner-Wake Forest, South Garner-Apex Friendship. This setup seems to be perfect for football fans in Wake County for the first round.

  • The current placement of Dudley at the 8th seed in the 3A West is unexpected. This could lead to a potential matchup between Crest/Kings Mountain and Dudley in the third round, which could essentially be considered a regional final.

  • I have no intention of disrespecting Randleman in the 2A West, but I would prefer to be the 31st seed and face them, rather than being the 29th or 30th seed and having to play against Monroe or Salisbury.

  • At present, there is a possibility of a rematch between Community School of Davidson and Forest Hills in the second round, as their first game in September was determined by a single score.

  • The defeat of East Duplin by Wallace-Rose Hill resulted in Clinton becoming the top seed in the 2A East, bringing joy to Dark Horses supporters.

  • In the Western 1A division, it appears highly probable that the top seed will be determined in the Swain County-Robbinsville game this week. This may not be ideal for defending state champion Mount Airy, as they would have to travel a considerable distance for a potential regional final.

  • In the 1A East division, if you are currently ranked at 23, 24, or 25, you may be wishing to drop down to 26 this week in order to face Bear Grass Charter instead of Wilson Prep, Bertie, or Perquimans.

Fourth Down: Achievements and Consistent Performances

Wallace-Rose Hill put an end to East Duplin’s 22-game winning streak, which was tied for the longest in the state. Mount Airy currently holds the title with its 23-game winning streak.

Regarding Mount Airy, here is an absurd statistic that I am unsure if I have ever come across before:

Tyler Mason, a future running back for Virginia Tech, has made nine attempts and achieved nine touchdowns during the month of October. Surprisingly, Mount Airy had a break this month, yet Mason’s impressive record of nine carries for 317 yards and nine touchdowns in just two games is truly remarkable.

Congratulations to two coaches, Beau Williams from Jacksonville High and Duran McLaurin from Seventy-First High, for achieving their 100th career wins in week 10. They are now part of the 100-win club for head coaches.

Tanner Ballou, senior quarterback at Northwest Guilford High School, has broken the school record for most passing yards and touchdown passes. He now holds the title for all-time leading passer with 6,429 passing yards and 76 touchdowns.

The South Rowan team emerged victorious over their rival, East Rowan, with a score of 32-12. This marks their first win against another team from Rowan County since they beat Carson in 2016.

First Flight High broke their 18-game losing streak by defeating Pasquotank County with a score of 15-7.

The 13-game winning streak of Providence Day was broken by their loss to Rabun Gap.

I am keeping track of the following streaks:

  • The losing streak at Cedar Ridge has reached 18 consecutive games.

  • Chatham Central’s streak of consecutive losses (15 games)

  • The streak of losses for East Henderson has reached 15 games.

  • Foard’s continuous string of losses (33 games)

  • The Garinger team has not won a game in 26 consecutive matches.

  • The Highland Tech team has a streak of 33 consecutive losses.

  • Jones has a losing streak of 13 games.

  • The Morehead team is currently on a losing streak of 12 games.

  • The winning streak of Mount Airy, lasting 23 games.

  • Patton’s current losing streak consists of 13 consecutive losses.

  • Rocky Mount Prep has a streak of losing 15 consecutive games.

  • Spring Creek has a losing streak of 14 consecutive games.

  • The West Brunswick team has lost 14 consecutive games.

  • The West Caldwell team has a streak of 30 consecutive losses.

  • The losing streak for West Davidson has reached 15 games.

Quick Hits

  • , Western Harnett

    Some teams in the Donut Squad were able to shut out their opponent in week 10, including Asheville School, Atkins, Bishop McGuinness, Brevard, Charlotte Catholic, Charlotte Christian, CHASE, Community School of Davidson, Eastern Guilford, Eastern Randolph, Eastern Wayne, Forest Hills, Havelock, Hertford County, Hoggard, Hunt, Laney, Leesville Road, Louisburg, Monroe, Mount Airy, North Forsyth, North Mecklenburg, Northampton County, Northside-Pinetown, Panther Creek, Riverside, Seventy-First, Tarboro, Weldon, West Henderson, West Lincoln, Westover, and Western Harnett.

  • There were a total of 50 burgers awarded to schools in Providence (77), Rolesville (75), East Surry (72), Trinity Christian (72), Starmount (70), Dudley (64), Erwin (64), Leesville Road (64), Asheville School (63), Cardinal Gibbons (63), East Rutherford (63), Hough (63), Mount Airy (63), Seventy-First (63), Weddington (62), Hickory (61), Thomasville (60), Asheville (59), CHASE (59), Monroe (59), Myers Park (59), Burns (58), Randleman (58), C.B. Aycock (56), Heritage (56), Hoggard (56), Independence (56), Scotland (56), Northside-Pinetown (55), Northwood (55), Reidsville (55), Southeast Alamance (55), Whiteville (55), Bandys (54), Cox Mill (54), Havelock (54), Hobbton (54), Grimsley (54), Watauga (54), West Forsyth (54), Millbrook (52), New Bern (52), Community School of Davidson (50), Northwest Guilford (50), and West Craven (50).

  • Congratulations to Garrett Williams, an alum of Hickory Ridge, for making his first interception in his NFL debut for the Cardinals. Unfortunately, the Cardinals lost to Seattle this weekend.

Victory Formation

This is the crucial moment. The 11th week will showcase many intense games. We can expect to see true conference championship matches such as Swain County vs. Robbinsville, Crest vs. Kings Mountain, Burns vs. Shelby, Hickory vs. Statesville, Mooresville vs. Lake Norman, East Forsyth vs. West Forsyth, Independence vs. Butler, Dudley vs. Eastern Guilford, Cleveland vs. Clayton, Eastern Randolph vs. Randleman, Leesville Road vs. Cardinal Gibbons, Jordan vs. Hilliside, West Craven vs. SouthWest Edgecombe, East Surry vs. North Surry, North Rowan vs. Salisbury, Draughn vs. Mountain Heritage, and Southeast Halifax vs. Wilson Prep.