(Observer Sweet 16 rankings listed with team)
No. 16 North Mecklenburg (7-1, 3-1 I-Meck 4A) at No. 2 Mallard Creek (8-0, 4-0), 7 p.m.: Coming off a 35-34 loss to Hough, the Vikings’ offense, led by quarterback Aaron Scott, faces the powerful Mallard Creek defense.
No. 9 Hickory Ridge (7-1, 3-1 Southwestern 4A) at No. 5 Butler (6-1, 4-0), 7 p.m.: Points could be at a premium here, with the area’s top two defenses meeting. Butler will take a giant step toward the league title with a victory.
No. 4 Charlotte Christian (6-1, 1-0 CISAA) at Charlotte Latin (5-3, 0-1), 7 p.m.: Quarterback Garrett Shrader and the Knights hope to avenge last year’s 28-27 loss to Latin for the private schools’ 3A championship.
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Weddington (6-2, 3-1 Southern Carolina 3A) at No. 10 Marvin Ridge (8-0, 4-0), 7:30 p.m.: The host Mavericks had trouble subduing Cuthbertson last week and must beat Weddington to stay on track for a Nov. 3 showdown with Charlotte Catholic.
Thomas Jefferson Academy (8-0, 4-0 Southern Piedmont 1A) at Bessemer City (8-0, 4-0), 7:30 p.m.: One of two area 1A showdowns Friday. Bill Lay has rushed for nearly 1,000 yards for Thomas Jefferson.
North Rowan (7-1, 4-0 Yadkin Valley 1A) at North Stanly (7-1, 4-0), 7 p.m.: Here’s the other 1A showdown, matching teams averaging more than 35 points a game.
Lancaster (3-5, 1-2 Region 3 4A) at York (7-1, 3-0), 7:30 p.m.: Linebacker Markees Watts and the Bruins’ tough Bruin hope to spoil York’s region title chances. QB-DB Ethan Mitchell leads York on both sides of the ball.