High School Sports

Friday’s high school football playoff previews

Charlotte Catholic running back Jack Brigham (center) leads the Cougars with 1,464 rushing yards. Friday, Catholic will play host to Greensboro Dudley in the N.C. 4A football semifinals.
Charlotte Catholic running back Jack Brigham (center) leads the Cougars with 1,464 rushing yards. Friday, Catholic will play host to Greensboro Dudley in the N.C. 4A football semifinals. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Vance (13-1) at Greensboro Page (13-1), 7:30 p.m. (4AA): Vance quarterback Kingsley Ifedi was virtually unstoppable in last Friday’s 50-49 overtime win against Butler. His nemesis this week could be Page linebacker Tyler DeBerry, who blocked three kicks and wreaked havoc against West Mecklenburg earlier in the playoffs. ... Page played in the East last year and reached the 4AA title game, losing 49-6 to Mallard Creek. The Pirates are the only non-Mecklenburg team in the past seven seasons to win the 4AA title, capturing the crown in 2012.

Greensboro Dudley (13-1) at Charlotte Catholic (13-1), 7:30 p.m. (4A): Dudley’s only loss was 23-22 to Greensboro Page on Oct. 28. Dudley has a big-play offense, led by quarterback Henson Hooker, who committed to Virginia Tech. The Panthers have had their troubles against ball-control teams. They struggled two weeks ago against ground-oriented Watauga before winning 55-20. ... Catholic is certainly a ground-oriented team, led by Jack Brigham’s 1,464 rushing yards. But quarterback Brady Berger has passed for 23 touchdowns with only two interceptions. ... Dudley won the 2013 4A state title, but last season the Panthers lost 17-8 to Catholic in the 4A semifinals.

Hickory Ridge (12-2) at Weddington (11-3), 7:30 p.m. (3AA): Erase last week’s 55-49 four-overtime win against Marvin Ridge and Hickory Ridge has allowed but 9 points a contest in its past eight games. Weddington has allowed only 9.2 points on average in its past 10 contests. Weddington quarterback David Bayha has completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,942 yards and has rushed for 331 yards.

South Point (10-4) at Lenoir Hibriten (14-0), 7:30 p.m. (3A): South Point, which lost in the state title game last season, has won nine of its past 10 games. The Red Raiders’ defense has been superb, allowing an average of 2.1 points in its past seven games. The offensive leader is running back Jake Alexander (1,530 rushing yards, eight 100-yard-plus games). ... Hibriten, the state’s top-ranked 3A team, had trouble with Watauga’s ball-control offense Oct. 14 before winning 28-27. Otherwise, the Panthers’ closest game has been 28 points. They average six passes a game but have two 1,000-yard rushers.

Monroe (12-2) at Shelby (14-0), 7:30 p.m. (2AA): It’s not often reigning state champions meet in the playoffs, but Monroe won last season in 2AA and Shelby in 2A. Shelby, which has won three straight 2A championships, moved up in class. Malik Sarratt has thrown for 3,414 yards and 41 touchdowns, with only six interceptions. ... When Monroe standout senior quarterback Zeph Wall suffered a season-ending injury early in the season, sophomore Trey Shepherd came in and passed for 1,246 yards. Monroe kicker Brayan Diaz-Reyes has launched 60 of his 81 kickoffs into the end zone and has connected on 15 field goals this season. ... Trivia fact: Shelby’s first state title game was in 1922, when it lost 14-13 to Monroe. The game was tied after regulation and completed the next day.

Lincolnton (13-1) at Reidsville (14-0), 7:30 p.m. (2A): This one should be high scoring. Lincolnton has scored more than 60 points in a game five times, Reidsville four times. Lincolnton quarterback Cordell Littlejohn has passed for 3,576 yards and 49 touchdowns, and Tanner Wilson has 2,278 passing yards and 35 touchdowns for Reidsville.

South Aiken (12-1) at South Pointe (12-1), 7:30 p.m. (S.C. 4A): South Pointe won the past two S.C. 3A titles and is chasing the 4A crown this year. Quarterback Derion Kendrick has passed for more than 2,000 yards, and kicker B.T. Potter has made 10 of 12 field-goal attempts. ...South Aiken is in the state semifinals for the first time in 26 years. The Thoroughbreds are strong defensively and forced Ridge View into seven turnovers last week in winning 50-17.

Steve Lyttle