I was going to spend most of this part of the column talking about the various scenarios for who will qualify for the playoffs from the Sandhills and Patriot Athletic Conferences.But all of that should sort itself out on the field with no need for any complicated tiebreaks, so I’m going to let the scores take care of answering those questions.There’s a more important topic to discuss as the result of some ugly incidents that took place at football games elsewhere in the state in recent weeks.I’m not going into detail but let’s just say it involved fights and in a couple of cases serious penalties handed down by the N.C. High School Athletic Association that ended the season for the schools involved.As we approach this final weekend of the high school regular season, I send a warning to those schools that are still in the running for the postseason.One moment of anger and frustration on your part can light the fuse to an explosion that will end your football season now.The NCHSAA has stiff and severe penalties for being involved in a fight on the field of play, penalties that will land you on the bench and your team out of the playoffs.Just remember this. If a fight breaks out, walk away. Do not engage. Cover yourself if need be but don’t swing back.And if you are on the sideline, never, ever come out on the field when a fight starts. The NCHSAA considers coming on to the field during a fight a violation just as bad as if you were out there throwing punches.Some of you are just inches away from competing for a state title. Don’t blow your shot with a fit of temper.The record: 73-20Talk about a dose of reality. I had a miserable 3-3 week to drop the record to 73-20. Bye bye 80 percent right as I dipped to 78.5 percent.Let’s try to regroup and get back to 80 percent going into the postseason.Cape Fear at Douglas Byrd - This isn’t automatic for Cape Fear, which needs a win to have a shot at a piece of second place in the Patriot Athletic Conference. Byrd exploded against Westover last week and Cape Fear needs to take the Eagles seriously.Cape Fear 20, Douglas Byrd 14.E.E. Smith at Westover - This is Smith’s last chance to avoid a winless season. I don’t think it’s going to happen.Westover 28, E.E. Smith 14.Terry Sanford at Gray’s Creek - This is a tough one to pick. There are reports of possible key injuries for Terry Sanford. Under normal circumstances, both teams have plenty of offense. But I think Gray’s Creek has a slight edge on defense. I’m going to give the Bears the advantage playing at home.Gray’s Creek 24, Terry Sanford 23.Jack Britt at Scotland - Britt could be looking at an emotional letdown after the big win against Seventy-First. Scotland needs a win to avoid a sub-.500 finish.Scotland 28, Jack Britt 20.
Pinecrest at Seventy-First - Seventy-First has definitely been off its game in the closing weeks of the season. I’m not sure if the Falcons can regroup in time to get past Pinecrest this week.
Pinecrest 28, Seventy-First 27.
Pine Forest at South View - It all comes down to this for the Patriot Athletic Conference championship. Pine Forest has far exceeded my expectations for the year and definitely deserves to be in this position. South View was most people’s pick to be here this week, and I see no reason to change my thinking as one of those who thought the Tigers would be playing for the title.South View 29, Pine Forest 22.Harrells Christian at Village Christian - These teams already met at Harrells on Sept. 7 with Village winning 43-6. I don’t expect this week’s game to be much different, as Village advances to the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 11-man Division III championship game against either SouthLake Christian or Asheville School. Village would be the host team against either in the finals as it is the No. 1 seed in its bracket.Village Christian 34, Harrells Christian 12.