(Observer Sweet 16 rankings listed with team)
Providence (3-1) at No. 6 Butler (1-1), 7 p.m.: Whose ground game will dominate: The Panthers’, led by running back Julian Boddie, or the host Bulldogs’, led by Nijere Peoples?
No. 2 Mallard Creek (3-0) at No. 8 Harding (4-0), 7 p.m.: Harding running back Quavaris Crouch had 201 rushing yards last week against S.C. power Gaffney, but Crouch and the Rams face an even tougher defense this week with the Mavericks.
Scotland County (1-1) at No. 4 West Mecklenburg (4-0), 7 p.m.: A showcase for some of the state’s most dynamic offensive players – Scotland running back Zamir White and West Meck receivers Dyami and Khafre Brown. Lots of scoring likely.
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No. 16 Weddington (3-0) at Crest (1-2), 7:30 p.m.: Weddington pits its 13-game winning streak against the Chargers, who have narrow losses to unbeaten Shelby and Kings Mountain. Both teams are almost near-certain 3AA playoff participants.
No. 9 Shelby (4-0) at Kings Mountain (3-0), 7:30 p.m.: Shelby running back Xavier Brooks has rushed for 512 yards and eight touchdowns. The Mountaineers are averaging 300 rushing yards a game. A Cleveland County showdown here.
Stuart Cramer (3-0) at No. 14 South Point (4-0), 7:30 p.m.: Stuart Cramer has become a defensive power in recent seasons but faces a tough test against the Red Raiders and running back Jake Alexander (510 rushing yards, eight touchdowns).
Buford, Ga. (2-0) at No. 1 South Pointe (3-0), 7:30 p.m.: The Wolves, led by running backs Christian Turner (a Michigan commit) and Anthony Grant (Tennessee), are the No. 2-ranked 4A team in Georgia. It could be S.C. powerhouse South Pointe’s toughest test of the regular season.