Mecklenburg County teams
Greensboro Page (13-2) vs. Mallard Creek (13-2), N.C. State, 12:05 p.m.
Page knocked favored Mallard Creek out of the playoffs in 2011 with a stunning 41-27 upset. Page, which went on to win the state title, is back in the championship round for the first time since. The Pirates are in the finals for the seventh time. Quarterback Will Jones (2,700 yards passing) and 2,000-yard rusher Javon Leake lead an offense that averages nearly 40 points in the postseason. Page lost 31-30 to East Forsyth (which Mallard Creek beat last week on the road) and 35-7 to Greensboro Dudley (which Charlotte Catholic beat last week on the road).
Mallard Creek is the second team in Mecklenburg County history to reach three straight Class 4A finals (after Independence, which made eight straight from 2000-07). Mallard Creek has won seven straight games since losing 31-28 to Hough. Four of those games were decided by 19 points. Mavericks quarterback James Smith (3,174 yards passing, 32 touchdowns; 1,123 yards rushing, 17 TDs) and running back Chauncery Bowman (1,638 yards, 14 TDs) lead a strong offense. Florida State recruit Josh Brown has 20 tackles for a loss on defense.
Greenville Rose (12-2) vs. Charlotte Catholic (14-0), BB&T Stadium, Winston-Salem, 8:05 p.m.
Rose is 5-1 all-time in the championship round and last won in 2006, when it beat coach Pete Gilchrist’s West Charlotte team, the last of four straight state championships. Rose receiver Cornell Powell, a Clemson recruit, averages nearly 24 yards per catch, and Rose is one of the state’s most potent offenses. The Rampants average more than 53 points per game. Running back Dontavies Harris has nearly 2,000 yards rushing, and quarterback Ryan Goodwin has nearly 3,000 yards passing. Goodwin has 43 touchdowns passing and six interceptions.
Catholic, 3-4 in the finals all-time, lost 23-15 to New Bern in last year’s N.C. 4A final. Jaret Anderson is approaching 2,000 yards rushing, and quarterback John Walton has thrown for 14 touchdowns and more than 1,200 yards. To win Saturday, though, Catholic’s defense must slow down Rose. Catholic allows eight points per game and 55 yards rushing. Xander Gagnon (123 tackles), Greyson Krone (108) and Matt White (94) are among the Cougars’ defensive leaders. Catholic has 29 quarterback sacks and 40 tackles for a loss.
Bunn (13-2) vs. Monroe (15-0) at N.C. State, 8:05 p.m.
Bunn is in the finals for the first time and is led by the state’s offensive player of the year Tevin Perry, who has more than 2,000 yards rushing and averages 10.5 yards per carry. Bunn has won 12 straight after a 1-2 start. Monroe reaches the NCHSAA championship round for the third time, still hunting its first title. Monroe, which has set a school record for wins, averages 45 points and allows 10. Only one of Monroe’s past seven opponents scored more than eight points.
Midland Valley vs. Rock Hill South Pointe at South Carolina, 3 p.m.
South Pointe will try to become the seventh S.C. 3A school to win back-to-back state championships at Williams-Brice Stadium. South Pointe beat Hartsville 21-7 last season. Midland Valley is in the finals for the first time, although the school’s boys’ basketball team won the state title last March. Eight of those players are on the football team this year.
Lexington (13-1) vs. Rock Hill Northwestern (13-1) at South Carolina, 6 p.m.
Northwestern, which tries for its fifth state title, has won 13 straight games. The Trojans last won the state title in 2013, when it beat Stratford 62-35. The Trojans are led by running Jerry Howard (1,422 yards, 17 TDs) and quarterback Gage Moloney (3,694 yards, 42 TDs). Lexington, which also has won 13 straight, is led by running back Slade Carroll (2,006 yards, 23 TDs) and quarterback Brandon Blake (2,214 yards, 18 TDs).
Langston Wertz Jr.