Football in Union County suffered through a 30-year drought between state championships after Forest Hills High won the 2A title in 1984.

When Monroe ended the drought with a 2AA state title in 2015, it began a golden era of success, with Weddington adding three more state championships over a four-year stretch from 2016-19.

When five Union County teams were elevated from 3A to 4A before the 2021 season, forming a six-team 4A league made up of strictly county teams, it stood to reason that a period of adjustment would be in order.

But the Southern Carolina Conference is already proving to be one of the deepest 4A conferences in the state.

Heading into the third round of the 4A state football tournament, three Union County teams — Weddington, Cuthbertson and Porter Ridge — are still alive. The Warriors, Cavaliers and Pirates are three of the eight teams remaining in the 4A west, alongside other state powers such as Hough and Chambers.

Four of the six Southern Carolina Conference teams made the 4A tournament in the league’s first season in the new classification. Marvin Ridge knocked off defending 3A state champion Charlotte Catholic in the first round before falling to Weddington, 41-31, in the second round last Friday.

Cuthbertson has won back-to-back games on the road against higher-seeded opponents. The Cavaliers upset Watauga, 42-31, in the first round before defeating Lake Norman in the second.

Now Cuthbertson has to play Weddington, which entered the tournament as the top-seeded team from Union County. The Warriors defeated North Mecklenburg and Marvin Ridge over the first two rounds of the tournament.

Weddington has been one of the most dominant teams in North Carolina over the past several seasons.

Since head coach Andy Capone took over in 2018, the Warriors have an overall record of 49-3 and have won two state championships (2018 and 2019).

Porter Ridge, like Cuthbertson, has also won two games on the road this postseason. The Pirates edged out Reagan, 27-21, in the first round before traveling to Greensboro this past Friday and upsetting defending 4A state champion Grimsley.

If Porter Ridge defeats Chambers — formerly known as Vance — in the third round Friday, one of the west regional semifinals will be an all-Union County affair.

Union County has become a hotbed for football talent over the past decade, but mostly at the 3A and 2A level.

This year, several county teams are showing the top programs in Union County can compete against the best the state has to offer.