Here are this week’s top high school football games, from NCHSAA, NCISAA and SCHSL teams, in the Observer’s regional coverage area:
No. 3 Charlotte Catholic (10-0, 6-0 Southern Carolina) at No. 10 Marvin Ridge (10-0, 6-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m.: This is the conference championship game and Charlotte Catholic is trying to snatch the title in its first year in the league. Marvin Ridge is enjoying the best regular season in school history and looks for what would likely be the biggest win in school history at home. Expect a big crowd for this one.
No. 7 Vance (8-2, 5-1 IMECK) at Hough (7-3, 5-1), Friday, 7 p.m.: This game is for the No. 2 seed in the conference, which will bring an automatic playoff berth and a better playoff draw when pairings are released Saturday. There’s also a secondary storyline. Hough fired coach Miles Aldridge after the team finished 7-5 last season. Aldridge is now defensive coordinator at Vance. Aldridge, however, still teaches at physical education at Hough.
No. 8 Hickory Ridge (9-1, 5-1 Southwestern 4A) at Porter Ridge (6-4, 4-2), Friday, 7:30 p.m.: Hickory Ridge is tied with Butler (7-2, 5-1) and Myers Park (9-1, 5-1) for first place in a wild conference race as the teams play their final games. If all three first-place teams win, there would be a hat draw for seeding after Friday’s games. Butler would pull first, Hickory Ridge second and then Myers Park. The top two seeds get guaranteed playoff berths. The third would have to get in as a wild-card, with likely a tougher playoff road.
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No. 11 Shelby (9-1, 4-0 Southwestern 2A) at No. 12 Belmont South Point (10-0, 4-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m.: Most statewide polls have these two ranked in the top three in the 2A class, and Friday’s winner gets the league championship. Shelby, which has won four straight state championships, has won four straight games since losing 25-0 at nationally ranked 4A power Rock Hill South Pointe in September.
Concord (5-5, 2-2 South Piedmont 3A) at No. 16 A.L. Brown (8-2, 3-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m.: The Carolinas’ oldest high school football rivalry renews, and with Brown rejoining its conference, the rivalry moves back to the end of the season. It’s the final Bell Game for Concord coach Glen Padgett, who is retiring after the season. The winner gets the No. 2 seed from the conference and guaranteed playoff spot.
Morganton Patton (8-2, 5-0 Northwestern Foothills 2A) at No. 13 Lenoir Hibriten (10-0, 5-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m.: Patton tries to win a seventh straight game and a win a league title. To do so, it’ll have to pierce a Hibriten defense that has allowed 47 points all season.