(Observer Sweet 16 rankings are noted)
No. 7 Myers Park (13-1) vs. No. 4 Vance (13-1), at Mallard Creek, 7:30 p.m. (4AA playoffs): Vance’s solid defense largely shut down Hough’s passing attack last week, but Myers Park is on a roll. Elijah Bowick has more than 400 receiving yards in the playoffs, and the Mustangs’ defense has toughened since midseason. Vance is capable of controlling the ball, and that should be a key in this game.
Indian Trail Porter Ridge (10-4) at East Forsyth (13-0), 7:30 p.m. (4A): It’s the Porter Ridge ground attack, led by quarterback Grayson McCall (156 yards last week) against East Forsyth’s passing game, anchored by QB Ty’shaun Lyles, who has thrown for nearly 2,000 yards this season. Both teams have strong defenses.
No. 9 Weddington (13-1) at Winston-Salem Mount Tabor (10-4), 7:30 p.m. (3AA): The host Spartans’ Jaquan Albright has rushed for 1,000 yards this season, and Mount Tabor thrives on opponents’ errors. That might be difficult this week, if Weddington continues its recent trend of nearly mistake-free football.
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Kings Mountain (12-2) at No. 3 Charlotte Catholic (13-1), 7:30 p.m. (3A): Catholic’s defense has stopped all 14 opponents this season (the Cougars’ loss was 6-0 to private-school champion Charlotte Christian). This week’s challenge is Mountaineers QB Kaylon Wade, who passed for 205 yards and ran for four touchdowns last week.
No. 16 Shelby (11-3) at No. 15 Lenoir Hibriten (14-0), 7:30 p.m. (2AA): Reigning state champion Hibriten has 5,000 rushing yards this season. Shelby has recovered from a slow start and won 10 straight, with Isaiah Bess throwing for 3,400 yards.
Chester (14-0) vs. Dillon (12-0) at Williams Brice Stadium, Columbia, 3 p.m. Saturday (S.C. 3A title game): Even a month-long break because of Hurricane Florence’s flooding couldn’t stop Dillon, which has won a state title five of the past six seasons. The Wildcats have allowed one rushing touchdown this season and have punted only nine times. Chester has rushed for more than 4,500 yards.