(Observer Sweet 16 rankings are noted)
North Mecklenburg (5-2, 1-2 I-Meck 4A) at No. 2 Hough (7-0, 3-0), 7 p.m.: North Meck quarterback Aaron Scott has thrown for more than 1,500 yards, but Colby Smith (team-leading 46 tackles, six for loss) and the Huskies’ defense has held all but one opponent to a single touchdown or less this season.
Boiling Springs Crest (6-1, 3-0 Big South 3A) at Gastonia Huss (7-0, 3-0), 7:30 p.m.: Huss allowed a season-high 21 points last week, but that was to powerful Kings Mountain. For the season, the Huskies are allowing nine points a contest. But if you take away the 31 points Crest allowed Weddington, the Chargers also are giving up only nine a game.
No. 10 Central Cabarrus (7-0, 1-0 South Piedmont 3A) at No. 16 Northwest Cabarrus (7-0, 1-0), 7:30 p.m.: Northwest Cabarrus QB Nick Wilds-Lawing has thrown for 17 touchdowns with only one interception. But the Vikings’ defense is holding foes to an average of eight points per game.
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East Lincoln (4-3, 2-1 South Fork 2A) at Catawba Bandys (6-1, 3-0), 7:30 p.m.: The visiting Mustangs have improved in recent weeks, and QB Chase Jones has thrown for more than 1,000 yards. Bandys has been a surprise, behind a strong ground game led by RB Ethan Howard (1,038 yards).
Belmont South Point (5-2, 1-0 Southwestern 2A) at East Rutherford (7-0, 1-0), 7:30 p.m.: Two strong ground games collide. South Point RB Naseem Jones has 1,007 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns, and Cavaliers RB Demetrius Mauney has gained more than 900 yards, and his team averages 300-plus rushing yards a game.
Rock Hill (4-2, 1-0 Region 4 5A) at Clover (4-4, 0-2), 7:30 p.m.: Clover has lost three straight by eight points or less after a big start. Rock Hill averages 35 points a game, but the Bearcats are 0-2 away from home this season.