Published: Nov 21, 2012 12:00 AM
Modified: Nov 21, 2012 01:11 PM
NCHSAA 2AA East Region (No. 2) Carrboro (14-0) at(No. 1) Northside (14-0)
Jacksonville Northside has just about done it all and seen it all in high school football except one thing. The Monarchs have never made it to the state finals, notes Jacksonville Daily News Sports Editor Rick Scoppe.
They think this might be the year to correct that.
Jacksonville (14-0) has made the NCHSAA playoffs every year except in its inaugural season in 2001. The Monarchs have reached the third round six times in the schools 12-year, but this is their first return to the East Regional championship game since 2008.
Last year, they were 12-0 before being ousted by eventual state champion Tarboro in a 21-19 squeaker.
Northside Head Coach Bob Eason, whos guided Northside to a 119-41 record since that opening season, told Scoppe hes dreamed about getting this far. So has his team.
The Monarchs rely heavily on their defense, which has pitched five shutouts and allowed opponents 8.7 points a game this year. Northside has yielded more than 14 points only twice in a 34-21 non-conference win against Wilson Fike and two weeks ago, in a 41-28 win against North Pitt.
Irritated by giving up their season high in opponent points in the second round of the playoffs, the Monarchs shut down Bunns offense in last weeks 28-10 win. Bunns only points came on a 92-yard kickoff return and field goal set up by a high punt snap recovered at Northsides 5-yard line.
Defensive linemen Dawnoven Smith, Markel Jones and Zachary Sinclair are strong up front. They helped hold Bunn to just 67 yards of total offense.
Given good position most of the night, Dewayne Johnson rushed for 109 yards rushing and three touchdowns against Bunn.
Josh Cabrera is Northsides leader in the secondary, picking off two passes last week, and Northsides backs supply plenty of support against the run. Last week, Bunn drove in the fourth quarter for a first-and-goal at the Northside 10, and it was middle linebacker DeJarvis Eaddy and defensive back Isaiah Wells who stopped the Wildcat runner on a fourth-and-goal at the 4-yardline.
Northside may have one hole in its lineup: starting senior linebacker Matt Lafferty was ejected last week after a personal foul and NCHSAA rules require he sit out one game. Eason is appealing the ejection.NCHSAA 3A East Region (No. 2) Orange (11-2) at(No. 1) Havelock (13-1)
Havelock head coach Jim Bob Bryant already feels like a winner. Following last Fridays 57-7 blowout of Washington, Bryant had his players hoist one-word signs on the field that read Will
Me? and got engaged to Colleen Ogles.
Bryant says he and Orange coach Pat Moser know each other from previous coaching posts. He was at Williamston and Moser was at Graham when the two teams met in the 1999 1A championship game in Chapel Hill.
Both coaches have their current teams up to speed.
Havelock averages 47.9 points a game and has held opponents to an average of 10.4. The Rams have a 12-game win streak. Their only loss this year was 34-33 to undefeated 4A rival New Bern -- which is 13-0 heading into the 4A East Final on Friday.
Havelocks defense forms around seven players who have started for three years, led by linebacker Andrew Ramirez and his team-high 77 tackles so far.
Orange, with a fleet of versatile backs, is running just about as hot as Havelock. The Panthers routinely top 250 yards a game rushing.
Notably, Oranges only losses came against two teams (Carrboro, Cardinal Gibbons) that finished the regular season undefeated and ranked in the states top 10 by the Associated Press.
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