Let the chaos begin.
When the smoke cleared from last Friday night’s football games, there were four teams tied at the top of the Patriot Athletic Conference with 4-1 league records. They are South View, Pine Forest, Gray’s Creek and Terry Sanford.
Because the Patriot is a spit 4-A/3-A conference, there’s a championship within the championship. Pine Forest and South View lead the 4-A race with Overhills three games back at 2-4.
Gray’s Creek and Terry Sanford top the 3-A teams, with Cape Fear one game behind them in the loss column at 4-2.
Let’s look ahead for a bit and see how this could wind up.
It’s a good news/bad news situation for Cape Fear. They’ve already played all the heavy hitters and end up with E.E. Smith, an open date and Douglas Byrd.
Cape Fear needs help to pull 3-A rival Gray’s Creek back to the pack to improve its chances of getting in the picture for a No. 1 playoff seed.
South View hosts Overhills for homecoming this week, but has a tough finish with Gray’s Creek in the Battle for the Bridge and a huge 4-A showdown the final week with Pine Forest.
Pine Forest has tough duels with the Tigers and Terry Sanford sandwiched around a game with Overhills, also a difficult finish.
Over in the 3-A ranks, Terry Sanford’s finale with Gray’s Creek looms huge both in deciding the overall title and the 3-A No. 1.
Gray’s Creek probably has the toughest finish of everyone, playing Westover, South View and Terry Sanford in order.
Let’s just hope we don’t have anymore weather foulups over the next three weeks to further complicate what should be a thrilling finish.
The record: 63-16
I missed a close call on the South View at Terry Sanford game for my only goof of the week. The record was 7-1 which puts the total for the year at 63-16, 79.7 percent, inching closer to that magic 80 percent figure.
Cape Fear at E.E. Smith - Cape Fear has finished with all the teams at the top of the Patriot Athletic Conference and can only tread water waiting to see how the dogfight leaves them standing at season’s end. The Colts should not have a lot of trouble winning this one.
Cape Fear 33, E.E. Smith 8.
Gray’s Creek at Westover - The Bears have to be careful tonight. This Westover team is no pushover and has been giving opponents fits all season. The Bears are in the thick of the race for the Patriot Athletic Conference title and can’t afford a slip.
Gray’s Creek 24, Westover 20.
Pinecrest at Jack Britt - The Buccaneers have won four of their last five and are at .500 for the first time this season, but I think the streak of good fortune ends tonight against a good Pinecrest team.
Pinecrest 21, Jack Britt 14.
Terry Sanford at Pine Forest - I’ve had an awful time getting both these two right this year. A coin flip would be as good a choice as anything. I’m leaning toward Terry Sanford, because they proved last week against South View they can score against anybody, and that is going to be essential against a team like Pine Forest.
Terry Sanford 31, Pine Forest 29.
Richmond Senior at Seventy-First - This is Seventy-First’s chance to step onto the big stage statewide, stand up and be counted. I’d love to see the Falcons do it, but it’s going to be a tall order. If you haven’t heard the legend, there’s a mystique about Richmond Senior and years that end in eight. They’ve got a string of state football titles tied to that number, and this team is looking like it has the same potential.
Richmond Senior 21, Seventy-First 14.
Overhills at South View - South View will be anxious to bounce back quickly from its first loss of the season at Terry Sanford last week and stay in the fight with the rest of the pack tied at the top of the Patriot Athletic Conference standings.
South View 28, Overhills 14.
Westover at Douglas Byrd - This one could go either way but I think Westover is playing a little better at this point.
Westover 22, Douglas Byrd 20.
Trinity Christian at Village Christian - The big shootout between the local private school powers is here. I give the edge to Trinity.
Trinity Christian 28, Village Christian 21.