High School Sports

A preview of Saturday’s state championship football games

Rock Hill South Pointe football coach Strait Herron hopes to lead the Stallions to their third consecutive state championship on Saturday against Hartsville.
Rock Hill South Pointe football coach Strait Herron hopes to lead the Stallions to their third consecutive state championship on Saturday against Hartsville.

Weddington (12-3) vs. Eastern Guilford (15-0), 3:05 p.m., 3AA, BB&T Field, Winston-Salem: The Warriors have a balanced offense, with quarterback David Bayha passing for 2,135 yards and 21 touchdowns (11 interceptions) and running backs Denzel Patton (805 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns) and Wil Brunson (579 yards, six touchdowns) in support. Outside linebacker Joey Hobbs has a team-high 163 tackles, including 14 solo tackles in a big playoff victory over Asheville Reynolds. Weddington lost its only other title-game appearance, 14-7 in 2014 to Northern Guilford.

Eastern Guilford is led by its defense, and the standouts are 6-foot-6, 260-pound defensive end Spencer Clapp, who committed to Appalachian State, and linebacker James Artis (60 tackles). Junior quarterback Dominique Graves has passed for 1,620 yards and 16 touchdowns (four interceptions). Graves also has rushed for 500 yards and nine touchdowns. This is Eastern Guilford’s first title-game appearance.

South Point (11-4) vs. Rocky Mount (13-2), 11:05 a.m., 3A, BB&T Field, Winston-Salem: Welcome to a rematch of the 2015 3A title game, which Rocky Mount won 24-21 in overtime. ...South Point has recovered from a 2-4 start and outscored foes 437-27 since then. Leading that rugged defense are linebackers Nick Muse (153 tackles, seven interceptions) and Nathan Hamilton (152 tackles, three interceptions, three caused fumbles) and defensive end Matthew Robinson (127 tackles, five sacks, one fumble recovery). South Point is 3-1 in title games. ... Rocky Mount is a ground-oriented team, with B.J. Sanders and Deangelo Collins each over 1,000 rushing yards on the season. The Gryphons’ only loss was to 4AA playoff semifinalist Apex Middle Creek. Rocky Mount is 1-1 in title games.

Shelby (15-0) vs. Jacksonville Northside (12-3), 11:05 a.m. Saturday, 2AA, Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh: Shelby has dominated nearly every opponent this season and is limiting foes to an average of 9.5 points a game. Quarterback Malik Sarratt has put up video game-like numbers, passing for 3,471 yards with 42 touchdowns (six interceptions). ... Shelby has won eight of its 12 title-game appearances, including the past two years. ...Northside, playing in its first championship game, has held 11 opponents to one touchdown or less. Senior quarterback Jonte McMullen has passed for 1,610 yards and run for 1,126. He is the Monarchs’ primary offensive threat.

South Pointe (13-1) vs. Hartsville (13-1), noon, S.C. 4A, Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia: South Pointe beat Hartsville 21-7 in the 2014 3A title game and is going for its third straight state crown (the past two were in 3A). The Stallions are hoping for a faster start Saturday, as they trailed in their past two playoff games. ...Hartsville coach Jeff Calabrese said his team has added more of a passing attack since its 2014 loss to South Pointe, but the Red Foxes still move mostly on the ground. Tiyan Evans has 1,983 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns, and James Clay has 1,307 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Steve Lyttle

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