By Earl Vaughan Jr.
Five Cumberland County football teams survived last Friday’s opening round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association state football playoffs.
Here’s a quick look at the matchups for the second round this week.
North Brunswick (7-4) at Westover (9-1)
Quarterback R.J. Green provides the bulk of the Scorpion offense. He’s completed 124 of 219 passes for 1,961 yards and 23 touchdowns. His top receiver is Seth D’louhy with 31 receptions for 511 yards.
Westover also relies on the pass, with Joshua Jones completing 127 of 203 passes for 1,820 yards and 18 touchdowns.
The Wolverines enter the game on an offensive roll. They’ve scored 144 points in their last three games.
Burlington Williams (7-4) at Seventy-First (11-0)
Williams used to be a perennial state power with multiple NCHSAA championships to its credit. These days the team is led by quarterback Jaelan Brown and running back Alijah Richmond.
Brown has completed 105 of 185 passes for 1,347 yards and 13 touchdowns. Richmond has 1,220 yards on the ground and 19 scores.
Anthony Quinn Jr., the top rusher in Cumberland County this year, leads the Falcons with 1,315 yards and 25 touchdowns. Quarterback Deandre Nance has thrown for 806 yards and nine touchdowns.
Terry Sanford (7-3) at Greenville Rose (7-4)
The Bulldogs have a shorter road trip this week but a tougher opponent. Rose is a playoff regular, and this year’s team is led by quarterback Will Taylor. Taylor has completed 137 of 234 passes for 2,079 yards and 24 touchdowns.
The Bulldogs feature a balanced offense. Quarterback Dante Garcia has completed 112 of 163 passes for 1,820 yards and 18 touchdowns. Johnathan Higgins-Simmons leads the ground attack with 1,181 yards and eight touchdowns.
Knightdale (5-5) at Pine Forest (10-1)
Quarterback Johnathan Montague has thrown for 1,980 yards and 26 touchdown passes to lead the Knightdale offense. Knightdale enters the game with two wins in a row after losing its previous four.
Pine Forest hasn’t lost since August, winning nine in a row. Keyshun Taylor is a dual threat for the Trojans. He’s passed for 1,244 yards and 10 scores while rushing for another 786 yards and 14 touchdowns.
South View (9-2) at Wilmington Hoggard (10-1)
Hoggard counts on the passing of Sam Jones, who has completed 165 of 231 passes for 1,738 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Vikings enter the game with eight wins in a row.
An ailing ankle has limited the play of South View star Cedavion Wimbley, who has passed for 948 yards this season. He was spelled at quarterback last week by Jabori Lee, who has 272 yards passing and three touchdowns this season.
South View will likely need a stronger performance from its defense this week after allowing 24 points to Raleigh Sanderson in last week’s opening round.
• Every year as basketball season arrives, the debate resumes as to whether the N.C. High School Athletic Association should add a shot clock.
A vote is underway to see how the schools feel, but my ballot remains a firm no.
I look at the shot clock like I did the Johnny Seven One Man Army Gun I wanted for Christmas back in the 1960s.
It was all I dreamed of for months, then when I finally got it, I lost some of the parts, the gun eventually broke, and by next Christmas it was forgotten in the corner of a closet.
Unfortunately, the shot clock won’t fit in a closet when people realize it’s not needed. First of all, there’s a pretty high cost for getting one installed.
Schools will have to likely pay for an additional person to sit at the scorer’s table and keep the clock at games. Whoever does it will have to focus on play and know when to reset the clock each time.
Finally, some people seem to think it’s going to speed up play. That’s not necessarily a good thing. There are a handful of schools that have players who are skilled enough to perform at the next level. Average players are going to be forced to find shots and when they don’t you’ll get last-second heaves that produce nothing but a turnover.
Plus, I can count on one hand during my entire basketball covering career that I saw teams slow play down to the point of boredom. It’s just something that doesn’t happen that often.
So please, save your money and spend it on something useful.
• The National Federation of State High School Associations recently released good news on a study of concussion rates.
Nine different sports were surveyed in the study, and for the sixth year in a row, the number of concussions has dropped.
In 2015-16, 367,306 concussions were reported in either practice or games in these sports: football, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls basketball, volleyball, wrestling, softball and baseball.
Last year, the total dropped to 160,587.