The Maiden Blue Devils are the last team from Catawba County still alive in the state football playoffs. This week, they have to make the long trip to Pilot Mountain to play East Surry. It's about an hour and 45 minutes drive. For those fans making the trip, dress warmly; it will be VERY cold.
It appears those who developed the brackets for the 2A playoffs were right. The final four teams from the western region were bracketed #1 through #4. Maiden is the #3 team, so they;ll have to play at #2 East Surry. The other western region semi-final has #4 Reidsville at #1 Shelby. If Maiden wins this week, next week's game will be closer to home--either at Tom Brown Stadium against Reidsville or at Shelby.
To get to the fourth round, the Cardinals beat Newton-Conover in round one, then knocked off Forbush and won last week over Monroe. In that game, they trailed 9-7 until a field goal with five minutes left gave them a one-point advantage. They had to survive a missed field goal by the Redhawks after that for the win, 10-9.
Maiden got revenge for a Spring loss to Salisbury in a 32-20 win last Friday. The final score was actually closer than the game. Maiden never trailed, building a 13-0 lead early in the second quarter and taking a 32-7 advantage until giving up two late TDs by the Hornets. The win over the defending state champs followed wins over West Lincoln in round two and Mt. Pleasant in the first round. Both Maiden and East Surry are unbeaten, the Blue Devils 13-0 and East Surry 12-0.
This week's game will be live-streamed on the NFHS Network. It's a pay to view service and if you're not already a subscriber, it will cost you $10.99. You can listen to play-by-play of the game for free on WLON Radio (1050AM, 107.5FM, Lincolnton) or online at http://www.ktcbroadcasting.com/. It will also be broadcast on WNNC Radio (1230AM, 101.3FM, Newton) or online at https://wnncradio.com/football/.
When Shelby hosts Reidsville this week, the Golden Lions will be hosting the defending state champs. Yes, Salisbury won the 2AA (two double A) championship last year; Reidsville was the 2A (two single A) champ. This year is the first in several in which the NCHSAA isn't making the single A, double A differnces a part of the playoffs). The Rams, who finished unbeaten last year, are also undefeated so far this season (12-0).
This should be a high-scoring game. The Rams have average almost 46 points per game; the Golden Lions have averaged just over 47. Shelby does have one loss--to South Carolina powerhouse South Pointe from Rock Hill 51-37. They trailed in that game 44-21 before coming back to cut the lead to a single touchdown before allowing the Stallions one more late score.
Shelby has a long record of winning state championships: they won either the 2A or 2AA title in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019. The Lions are hoping history will repeat itself.
WOHS-FM (101.5FM) will broadcast the 4th round 3A playoff game at Crest High School. The Chargers will be hosting South Point. Crest is the #4 seed in the western region; South Point was seeded #16, but they knocked off the #1 seed Pisgah in the second round, won their opening round game over Eastern Guilford, and last week downed Forestview 27-7 to set up a rematch with Crest.
During the regular season, the Chargers beat the Red Raiders 27-26 in a game that went down to the last four minutes. The Chargers, after trailing 20-7 at the half and 26-14 early in the fourth period, took the lead 27-26 with four minutes left in the game, then held on for the win. South Point tried a field goal with seconds left, but it drifted wide left.
The only blemishes on Crest's record are losses to Burns in the opening game of the season and to Shelby. While the Chargers are 10-2, the Raiders are 10-3. Their other losses were to Hickory Ridge and Kings Mountain.
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