(Observer Sweet 16 rankings listed with team)
No. 15 Hough (7-2, 5-0 I-Meck 4A) at No. 2 Mallard Creek (9-0, 5-0), 7 p.m.: The unbeaten Mavericks’ powerful defense must control Hough’s offensive weapons - quarterback Kennique Bonner-Steward (1,479 yards passing) and running back Jarrett Nagy (1,087 rushing yards).
Porter Ridge (6-3, 4-1 Southwestern 4A) at No. 6 Myers Park (8-1, 4-1), 7 p.m.: The attention has been on Hickory Ridge, Butler and Myers Park, but Porter Ridge is part of a four-way tie for first. The Pirates are the league’s highest-scoring team (33 points a game).
No. 4 Charlotte Christian (7-1, 2-0 CISAA) at No. 16 Providence Day (8-1, 2-0), 7 p.m.: The league title is at stake in what might be a preview of the Division 3 private schools’ state championship game. The Knights are averaging 47 points a game; Providence Day is averaging 39.
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No. 11 A.L. Brown (8-1, 3-0 South Piedmont 3A) at Jay M. Robinson (7-2, 3-0), 7:30 p.m.: Wonders sophomore linebacker Kedrick Bingley-Jones has 18 tackles for losses this season. Senior RB Dawson Williams (11 rushing touchdowns) leads Robinson.
Newton-Conover (8-1, 5-0 South Fork 2A) at Maiden (9-0, 5-0), 7:30 p.m.: The winner takes a giant step toward the league title. Newton-Conover is averaging 47 points a game. Maiden QB Keygan Mayfield has passed for 900-plus yards and rushed for 600.
East Montgomery (8-1, 2-1 Rocky River 2A) at Mount Pleasant (7-2, 3-0), 7:30 p.m.: The host Tigers are allowing an average of 10 points a game. The winner has the inside track for the league title.
York (8-1, 4-0 Region 3 4A) at No. 1 South Pointe (9-0, 4-0), 7:30 p.m.: This title showdown will eclipse Rock Hill-Northwestern as York County’s big game of the night. York takes an eight-game winning streak against the three-time defending state champs.