Football Focus

November 21, 2013 

High School Focus

Football Games of Nov. 15

Orange 31, Rocky Mount 3

Southern Durham 40, Chapel Hill 6

Eastern Alamance 56, Northwood 21

Last Team Standing

With Chapel Hill and Northwood out, Orange is the lone survivor among local high schools in the state football playoffs.

East 3AA No. 6 seed Orange (11-1) plays at No. 3 Cleveland (8-3) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Clayton.

CIeveland is in just its third year of NCHSAA play, and the Rams have reached the second round of the playoffs in each of those years.

This year’s Cleveland team, champion of the Two Rivers Conference, is powered by an offense that averaged 35.6 points a game. Cleveland scored at least four TDs in every game this year, even its losses.

The Rams will challenge Orange’s excellent defense with one-two punch of running back Isaac Martin (117 yards rushing, 3 TDs last week) and quarterback Aaron Farmer (114 yards and 1 TD passing, 109 yards rushing).

NCHSAA Seeding

Orange’s pairing with Cleveland is a good example of the problems the NCHSAA faced when it did away with its “pod” system and instituted real post-season seeding this fall for the first time. Just three weeks ago, Orange was still undefeated and ranked No. 7 statewide in the 3A by the Associated Press. Now, here the Panthers find themselves on the road against a team with a worse overall record.

The difference between the two seeds? Cleveland won its conference with a 5-0 league record. Orange went 6-1 and finished second in the Big-8.

Many people would argue, convincingly, that Cleveland’s losses to (7-5) Clayton, (5-7) Green Hope and (8-4) Riverside far out-weigh Orange’s solo loss on the road at Southern Durham.

But, with a limited staff and a very short amount of time within to seed its playoffs, how many criteria can the NCHSAA consider? With less than 24 hours from the end of the last regular-season games to the announcement of pairings, the NCHSAA is tasked enough to consider overall records and conference finishes.

In the 128 games played last Friday, 19 teams lost to lower seeds. Four were No. 9s beating No. 8s. The biggest upset came in the 2AA West, where No. 16 Parkwood (5-6) defeated No. 1 Franklin (11-0) by a score of 35-17.

CoachSpeak

“They woke us up early. They took advantage of our mistakes, especially early. But I think we adjusted and handled adversity pretty well.”

Adrian Jones,

Southern Durham

on Chapel Hill’s 6-0 early lead

“When you get into playoff time, it’s a special feeling. Every game’s hard with the way the state has it set up with 32 teams.”

Marc Morris,

Clayton Cleveland High

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