The newly formed Carolina-8 Conference begins its first week of play Friday, with Chapel Hill going to Oxford Webb, Cedar Ridge playing at Cardinal Gibbons, and Northwood hosting Orange in a meeting of undefeated teams. Also, Southern Durham will play at Northern Vance in the first conference game ever between those two.
Orange (4-0) at Northwood (4-0)
What a way to start in a new conference. Both teams come into Friday’s game undefeated and with high expectations.
This should provide a great contrast in styles. Not surprisingly given that Northwood has adopted Bill Renner’s “five wide” air raid offense, Charger quarterback Ti Pinnix is the No. 1 passer in the Triangle, with 312 yards a game. completing 108 of 181 pass attempts, and a QB efficiency rating of 141.2 after throwing 18 touchdown passes with just five interceptions. Northwood can also run the ball. Kadarus Rone averages a nice 82 yards a game — but that’s 6.7 yards per carry, given that he’s only rushed 49 times in four games.
Orange is more balanced, with running backs Patrick Pettiford and Tay Jones carrying the ball almost exactly as many times as Garrett Cloer throws it. While Orange scores (38.8 ppg) almost as much as Northwood (39.5), the Panthers’ real strength is in a defense that has given up just 15 points total in four games — none of them by the first unit.
Game time: 7 p.m. at Charger Stadium
Chapel Hill (1-3)
at Oxford Webb (2-2)
This will be the first time in years that Webb comes into this game with a better record than Chapel Hill. The Tigers will have to handle 235-pound back Tobiah Lewis, who ran for 160 yards and two TDs in the Warriors’ 30-13 win at 2A Pasquotank. Wideout Nykwanza Henderson has good speed. But Webb has yet to beat a 3A team; its other win was 29-14 at home against 1A Granville Central. Webb’s Tony Midgette is in his first year as a head coach, while his twin brother Antonio serves as his offensive coordinator.
Game time: 7 p.m. at Warrior Field
East Chapel Hill (1-4) at Jamestown Ragsdale (1-4)
Ragsdale’s Tigers have been contenders every year in the Piedmont Triad, but have struggled with a demanding schedule. Ragsdale has relied on big plays from special teams, its defense and even some “trickeration” to hang tough against top opponents. Jerry Gaither carries the ball most of the time, while first-year quarterback Alec Cobb runs more out of the option than he passes.
Game time: 7 p.m. at Kenneth Miller Stadium
Cedar Ridge (0-4) at Cardinal Gibbons (3-1)
This is Cedar Ridge’s first game at Cardinal Gibbons and the Red Wolves’ first game on artificial turf. The Crusaders have posted consecutive 11-1, 11-2, 11-3 and 12-2 records after going 15-30 in their first four years in the NCHSAA. Crusader senior QB Shawn Stankavage is one of the best players in the Triangle. The son of Carolina’s former all-ACC QB Scott Stankavage and champion swimmer Sue Walsh, he runs and throws with equal skill.
Game time: 7 p.m. at Cardinal Gibbons Stadium