The Starting 22: Best players from round 4 of the high school football playoffs

Every week, HighSchoolOT will publish the Starting 22, which highlights the top performances from each position in North Carolina.

It is recommended that coaches submit performance nominations to [email protected] for review on a weekly basis.


High School

Hudson Wilharm, a senior at Hoggard High School, is QB.

  • Wilharm, who stands at 6 feet 5 inches, skillfully tore apart the tough Cleveland defense by completing 27 passes for 385 yards and scoring six touchdowns.

High School

Nick Diamond, a junior at Weddington High School, is also known as RB.

  • The 5’9″ junior player had a productive game with 129 yards gained on 14 carries and three touchdowns during Weddington’s 44-27 victory against Grimsley. Grimsley’s defense had been strong against the run throughout the season.

High School

Senior Cuttler Adams attends Robbinsville High School.

  • Adams’ successful career continued as he recorded 282 yards and four touchdowns in the Black Knights’ 44-14 victory against North Rowan.

WR — Aniziyon “Nas” Session, junior, Hoggard

  • Session is an up-and-coming player in Division I. During Hoggard’s 51-35 victory over Cleveland, Session had an impressive performance with 167 yards and four touchdowns on only seven catches.

High School

Chet Yardley is a senior at Cardinal Gibbons High School.

  • In the Crusaders’ unexpected 28-21 victory against first-seeded Rolesville, Yardley made 10 receptions for a total of 200 yards and scored a touchdown.

County High School

Senior Izay Bridges from Shelby County High School is a member of FLEX.

  • In Shelby’s 37-20 victory against Forest Hills, the committed player from NC Central made a significant impact by contributing in multiple aspects. Brides received six passes for 141 yards and scored a touchdown, while also rushing for 85 yards and two touchdowns on five carries.

OL — Jack Sheehan, junior, Cardinal Gibbons

  • The junior, who stands at 6 feet 6 inches and weighs 300 pounds, played a crucial role in the Crusaders’ victory over top-seeded Rolesville by contributing to a total of 412 yards of offense. The final score was 28-21 in favor of the Crusaders.

OL — Spencer Baldwin, senior, Mount Airy

  • Spencer Baldwin, the 6-foot-6 guard for Mount Airy, was a standout player in their 42-21 victory against Eastern Randolph. Despite facing some challenging odd fronts, the Granite Bears managed to rush for 377 yards and score five touchdowns.

High School

Braxton Smith, a senior at Dudley High School, is a member of the OL team.

  • Smith, who stands at 6 feet and weighs 295 pounds, has proven to be a valuable asset for the Panthers. In the Panthers’ recent 46-34 victory against previously undefeated Crest, he was given one of Dudley’s highest grades.

OL — Jason Smith, senior, Hoggard

  • Hoggard’s 6-foot-3, 280-pound player on the inside line showed continued success with a strong performance in the Vikings’ 51-35 victory against Cleveland, a team known for their multiple shutouts this season.


Jaden Buie, a senior at Dudley High School.

  • Jaden Buie, standing at an impressive height of 6-foot-2 and weighing 318 pounds, proved to be a force to be reckoned with on the field as he dominated Crest’s defensive line in the Panthers’ victorious 46-34 game. Dudley’s offense was on fire, racking up a total of 433 yards against the Chargers.

Access previous versions of the Starting 22 by going back in time

Read past editions of the Starting 22 by revisiting previous releases.


DL — Malakahi West, senior, Hoggard

  • The Vikings’ 51-35 victory against an elite Cleveland offense saw the defending HSOT All-State player record six tackles and three sacks.

DL — Camden Martin, junior, Independence

  • Martin made two crucial plays on fourth down that helped secure Independence’s 10-7 victory in a thrilling defensive matchup against Butler.

High School

Jordyn Ratliff, a junior at Dudley High School, is a part of the DL program.

  • Dudley’s 6-foot-1, 340-pound defensive tackle was responsible for seven total tackles, including three tackles for a loss and two sacks, in Dudley’s road win over top-seeded Crest.

LB — Dallas Brannon, sophomore, Independence

  • The second-year middle linebacker was the top performer for the Patriots, recording 15 tackles in their impressive defensive showing against the favored Butler Bulldogs on the away field.

LB — Reagan Printy, senior, Hoggard

  • Printy led the team with 13 total tackles in Hoggard’s victory against Cleveland. This total includes four tackles that resulted in a loss for the opposing team and three successful sacks.

Senior Keegan Queeglay from Independence is represented by LB.

  • Keegan Queeglay, a senior linebacker for Independence, made 13 tackles, two of which were for a loss, in the Patriots’ 10-7 victory against the 6th seed Butler.

High School

DB stands for Defensive Back. Chip Coleman is a senior student at Cardinal Gibbons High School.

  • Coleman performed exceptionally well in defending against a top-notch passing offense from Rolesville. He successfully disrupted several passes, executed strong tackles, and crucially forced a fumble just before Rolesville’s touchdown.

DB — Bryce Lofton, junior, Independence

  • Lofton was responsible for the game-deciding interception against Butler’s quarterback, Zach Lawrence, leading the Patriots to a 10-7 victory. He also achieved two additional pass breakups and six tackles.

Nolan Wirick, a senior student at Cardinal Gibbons, is registered in DB.

  • In the 28-21 victory for the Crusaders against Rolesville, spirited player Nolan Wirick made numerous aggressive tackles and performed effectively in defending against their strong passing game.

High School

Prince Will is a senior at Hickory High School.

  • Prince recorded two interceptions and three tackles in Hickory’s 28-16 victory against West Henderson. West Henderson’s score of 16 points was 12 points lower than their previous season-low.

High School

Donovan Carpenter, a senior student at Robbinsville High School, specializes in SAF (Student Athlete Fundamentals).

  • Robbinsville’s QB tallied 74 passing yards and one touchdown, as well as 51 rushing yards on the offensive end. He also made two crucial interceptions and a tackle while playing defense.