The state football playoffs start Friday night, and there are eight Union County teams in action in the first round.
Here’s a look at each of their matchups.
North Mecklenburg at Weddington
The top-seeded team in the county is Weddington, which is the No. 3 in the west region of the 4A tournament. The Warriors, who won three state titles as a 3A school from 2016-19, will take on North Mecklenburg (5-4) at home Friday in the first round.
North Meck enters the playoffs averaging 17.7 points per game, while Weddington is averaging 28.9 points per game.
Weddington leans on the senior trio of quarterback Grady Brosterhous (1,781 passing yards, 341 rushing yards, 21 total touchdowns), running back Kyle Parsons (1,114 rushing yards, 13 total touchdowns) and receiver Landyn Backey (61 catches, 781 receiving yards, 10 total touchdowns).
Charlotte Catholic at Marvin Ridge
Marvin Ridge is the only other county school to get a home game in the 4A tournament. Unfortunately for the Mavericks, they have to play Charlotte Catholic, which has defeated Marvin Ridge four times over the past five seasons.
The Mavericks and Cougars met last season, with Catholic earning a 21-17 victory at home. In that game, quarterback Evan Medders completed 18-of-26 passes for 263 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions as a freshman.
This year, Marvin Ridge is one of the most balanced teams in the county. The Mavericks have been particularly impressive on defense, where they’ve given up an average of 13.3 points per game. Seniors Brady Villa and Devin Reed have combined for 29 tackles for loss so far this season.
Cuthbertson at Watauga
After closing the regular season with a lopsided win over Piedmont, the Cuthbertson football team travels to No. 6 Watauga.
The Pioneers are a run-first team that feature five players with at least 250 rushing yards this season. As a team, Watauga is averaging 287.7 rushing yards and nearly four rushing touchdowns per game this season.
Porter Ridge at Reagan
Porter Ridge, which finished third in the SCC behind Weddington and Marvin Ridge, hits the road to take on Reagan.
The Pirates (6-2, 3-2 SCC) enter the playoffs on a three-game winning streak. Porter Ridge is averaging just over 350 yards of offense per game, including 234 on the ground.
The upperclassmen trio of junior Stephan Zayachkowsky and seniors O’Marion Taylor and Calen Jordan have combined for 1,256 yards and 10 touchdowns on 158 carries (7.9 yards per attempt).
Reagan enters the 4A tournament on a five-game winning streak. The Raiders feature a balanced offensive attack led by senior quarterback Kam Hill (1,748 yards, 18 touchdowns, six interceptions) and running back Jon Gullette (1,385 yards, 14 touchdowns).
Rockingham County at Parkwood
The lone 3A football team in the county, Parkwood, made the state playoffs and hosts Rockingham County on Friday in the first round.
The Wolf Pack (5-2, 3-1 RRC) average over 350 yards a game offensively. Junior quarterback Cam Enos has completed 61.3% of his passes for 999 yards, 11 touchdowns and three interceptions, and junior receiver Isaiah Mobley has 31 catches for 532 yards and three scores.
Rockingham County enters Friday’s game averaging around 250 yards of offense per game this fall. The Cougars’ top offensive player has been senior running back Josh Campbell, who has 713 yards and 12 touchdowns on 140 carries.
Lincolnton at Monroe
Monroe hosts Lincolnton in the first round of the 2A state playoffs.
The Redhawks have won six straight games since falling to Marvin Ridge to open the season.
Sophomores Nate Crosby and Zach Melton have combined for 113 carries, 909 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns in a seven-game regular season that was hindered by COVID cancelations. Another youthful bright spot for the Redhawks is freshman Jordan Young, who has caught 10 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns.
Lincolnton (4-6) likes to run the ball and feature three players with at least 400 rushing yards this season.
Forest Hills at Providence Grove
After losing its regular season finale to Monroe last week, Forest Hills travels to Providence Grove in the first round of the 2A state tournament.
Yellow Jackets junior Gabe Crowder has thrown for 702 yards and seven touchdowns while also carrying the ball 57 times for 486 yards and two more scores.
Providence Grove is led by senior quarterback Luke Thomas, who has completed 63.8% of his passes for 1,726 yards, 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions. On the ground, junior Zane Cheek has carried the ball 99 times for 930 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Union Academy at Mount Airy
Despite going 0-10 during the regular season, Union Academy will have to play again Friday night in the first round of the 1A tournament against No. 2 seed Mount Airy.
Mount Airy has defeated its 10 opponents by an average of 48.1 points per game.
Eight different Cardinals have thrown passes this season, and they’ve combined to throw for 1,082 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Asheville School at Metrolina
Metrolina Christian kicks off the NCISAA 11-man football playoffs Friday at home against Asheville School. The Warriors are the second-ranked team in the Division II bracket.
Metrolina is 9-1 and has won seven straight games. Junior Reid Eighmy has completed 64.8% of his passes for 1,491 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2021.
Asheville School is 6-3 and is led by senior quarterback Rayden Aphayvong, who has thrown for 2,050 yards and 21 touchdowns against one interception.