The state high school playoffs swing into the second round Friday night, and two county rivals are on a collision course in the 2A bracket.
Lincolnton plays at Thomasville, and East Lincoln hosts Starmount. If both teams win, they hook up in the quarterfinals next week at David C. Clark Stadium. It would be a 13-0 East Lincoln team against a resurgent Lincolnton team that has climbed out of the abyss of a 1-4 start.
But for that dream matchup to take place, the Mustangs and Wolves have to get past tough opponents.
Let’s gaze into the crystal ball:
Starmount at East Lincoln: East Lincoln QB Garrett Young shattered the county career passing mark last week. Now he takes aim at the county single season record. It should fall too … East Lincoln 35-14.
Lincolnton at Thomasville: Lincolnton had the winning formula last year against Thomasville’s tailback-dominated offense, winning 26-0 in the state semis. Granted, this team is not on a par with the 2011 state 2A runner-up, but defensive coordinator Ledford Gibson will devise a good game plan … Lincolnton 21-14.
Bandys at Newton-Conover: The CVAC is guaranteed a spot in the 2A quarterfinals. Too bad these conference foes have to meet this early … Newton-Conover 27-21.
Crest at South Point: The Red Raiders won at Crest in the regular season, and they will be even more formidable at home … South Point 34-21.
Hickory versus Burns at Kings Mountain: Bulldogs stuffed an explosive Forestview offense last week, so look for more of the same. Plus, the fact that the game is at a neutral site will have no bearing … Burns 21-7.
Polk County at Shelby: It looks more and more like Shelby will make another deep run in class 2A … Shelby 30-13.
Lake Norman Charter at Hendersonville: The Knights have a prolific offense, but their lack of playoff experience could hurt them on the road against a seasoned team like Hendersonville … Hendersonville 42-27.
South Iredell at Canton Pisgah: Vikings have the talent to overcome Pisgah’s home field advantage … South Iredell 31-21.
Texas A & M at Alabama: The nation’s No. 1 team needed a rally in the final minute to win at LSU. But this SEC game is at home, and the Crimson Tide has been busy in the film room this week … ‘Bama 35-12.
Kansas State at TCU: The question is whether Heisman Trophy frontrunner Colin Cline will play for K-State. If not, the Wildcats’ national title hopes could be in jeopardy … K-State 41-27.
Notre Dame at Boston College: The luck of the Irish almost ran out against Pitt. However, BC does not appear to be a threat unless Notre Dame turns the ball over several times … Notre Dame 24-7.
` Georgia at Auburn: Bulldogs win this one on the Plains of Auburn and they make the short trip to Atlanta for the SEC title game … Georgia 31-17.
Louisiana Lafayette at Florida: What are the Gators doing playing a Sun Belt Conference team in November? … Florida 49-14.
Mississippi State at LSU: Both teams are 7-2 and coming off back-to-back losses … LSU 27-17.
Maryland at Clemson: Tigers are clearly the second-best team in the ACC … Clemson 42-20.
Baylor at Oklahoma: Robert Griffin III led the Bears to the win in last year’s meeting in Waco, but he is now in the NFL … Oklahoma 48-28.
Arizona State at Southern Cal: Trojans do not have much to play for after dropping to 6-3 with the loss to Oregon … Arizona State 35-28.
Georgia Tech at North Carolina: Tar Heels are having a solid season but are on probation. Time for basketball … North Carolina 27-14.
Wake Forest at N.C. State: Both teams are struggling to gain bowl eligibility. Wolfpack seems to be trending downward … Wake Forest 21-17.
Last week: 14-6. The season: 151-43.