A few observations as we come to the end of nonconference play in Cumberland County and the Patriot Athletic Conference teams begin league wars tonight.
Seventy-First got statewide recognition as the county’s best team so far when it was voted No. 10 in the first Associated Press 4-A poll this week.
The Falcons have looked good on both sides of the football and should head into their open date next week unbeaten and ready for a tough test in the Sandhills Athletic Conference.
I’m still waiting for somebody to show they are clearly leading the pack in the Patriot Athletic Conference. South View is the lone unbeaten but the Tigers don’t look too strong on defense.
The loser of this week’s Terry Sanford-Cape Fear game will be battling back much of the rest of the season. There are still some questions about both Gray’s Creek and Pine Forest, and the loser of their game Friday will also be having to scramble to stay in the playoff race.
Player wise, Donovan Brewington is performing as expected at quarterback for South View while newcomer Davidjohn Herz has quickly developed into a major pass-run threat for Terry Sanford.
Emery Simmons, the Penn State bound receiver from South View, is living up to expectations. Dorian Clark of Terry Sanford and Andre Allen of Gray’s Creek are the only running backs currently averaging 100 yards rushing per game.
Good luck to everyone starting conference play tonight, and for the rest, enjoy your last tuneup before the wins and losses really start to count.
The record: 23-9
I had a decent showing of 7-3 last week, pushing the season total to 23-9, 71.9 percent. Hopefully we can bump that number up this week.
Terry Sanford at Cape Fear - I’ve got multiple dilemmas with this one. Terry Sanford appears to have a problem playing defense. Cape Fear is the reverse, with a spotty offense.
Cape Fear woke up a little last week, but got a lot of help from its defense in scoring 33 points against New Hanover. On paper, that looked like a good win, but it’s pretty clear New Hanover isn’t the team that won a state title a year ago.
I’m tempted to go with Cape Fear at home, but I think Terry Sanford may be able to outscore the Colts so I’m leaning in that direction. Look for it to be close either way.
Terry Sanford 20, Cape Fear 18.
Douglas Byrd at South View - The road gets tougher for the Eagles as they take on their neighborhood rival, unbeaten South View.
South View 35, Douglas Byrd 12.
Overhills at E.E. Smith - I think Smith is going to be the best team Overhills has seen so far this season, but I think the Golden Bulls are suffering from an assortment of problems that will make the visiting Jaguars the favorite Friday night.
Overhills 22, E.E. Smith 12.
Gray’s Creek at Pine Forest - This is another tough one. Gray’s Creek has looked good so far this season, but so had Pine Forest until it ran into a buzz saw in Rockingham last week and lost to Richmond Senior. I feel like the Bears have a little more momentum headed into this one.
Gray’s Creek 18, Pine Forest 16. 
Jack Britt at Southern Lee - I think Britt has played a tougher schedule than Southern Lee, but the Cavaliers still get the edge in this one.
Southern Lee 19, Jack Britt 12.
Seventy-First at Southern Durham - Seventy-First hits the road to see if it can hold or better its new state ranking.
Seventy-First 21, Southern Durham 6. 
Other games: Village Christian 30, Harrells Christian 8; Trinity Christian 30, Sandhills Titans 14;  North Wake Saints 20, Fayetteville Christian 8, Westover open.

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