Four Charlotte-area high school football teams try to punch ticket to state finals Friday

·3 min read

Prep football preview, schedule

Mecklenburg County

Chambers (13-1) at Hough (14-0), 4A semifinals, 7 p.m. – So we all know the history here, right? Both teams are top 50 in the nation. Hough has won its last three regular-season meetings with Chambers, including a 16-10 decision on Sept. 24 at Memorial Stadium. Yet it’s Chambers that is in a regional final for the sixth straight season and aiming for its fourth consecutive state championship game appearance. Hough hasn’t reached the regional finals since 2017. Last season, Hough beat Chambers in the regular season but lost to the Cougars in the playoffs.

Chambers has improved consistently during the season. The Cougars have played especially well in the second half of their recent games and are likely to put a lot of pressure on Hough QB Tad Hudson. The Huskies’ ground game has been spotty this season and will be important in this game. PK Nolan Houser had three field goals in the first meeting with Chambers, and his leg is a big weapon for Hough.

RB Daylan Smothers leads the Chambers attack, but QB Anshon Camp has a strong arm and had several big plays in last week’s 45-14 victory at Weddington. In the Sept. 24 game, Hough had four sacks and can be expected to put plenty of heat on Camp again in this game.

Outside Mecklenburg

South Point (12-3) at Dudley (13-1), 3A semifinals, 7:30 p.m. – RB Tyson Riley leads the attack for a South Point team that runs the ball on about 95 percent of its offensive plays. But QB Elijah Phifer completed some big passes in last week’s 34-27 overtime victory over Crest. South Point is making its deepest playoff run since winning the 3A state championship in 2016.

Dudley looks every bit the part of a state championship team. The Panthers are coming off a 20-6 victory over Statesville, shutting down a Greyhound offense and its two 1,000-yard running backs. Dudley has a pair of strong RB’s in Mehki Wall and Michael Shaw, but QB Jahmier Slade threw a pair of touchdown passes last week, so the Panthers have a diversified attack.

East Surry (13-0) at Shelby (13-1), 2A semifinals, 7:30 p.m. – Having knocked off Monroe and Maiden in back-to-back weeks, East Surry faces Shelby, a program that has produced regional finalists in eight of the last nine seasons and won 11 state championships. Then again, East Surry is in the regional finals for the fourth straight season and won each time (in the 1AA division).

The visiting Cardinals are led by QB Folger Boaz, who completed 17-of-24 passes for 210 yards last week against Maiden and has thrown for more than 3,200 yards this season. But Shelby QB Daylin Lee threw for 260 yards and a pair of touchdowns last week as the Golden Lions knocked off defending 2A state champion Reidsville.

-- Steve Lyttle

This week’s schedule

(all kickoffs at 7:30 p.m., unless otherwise noted)

Friday’s semifinals

Class 4A

West

Chambers (13-1) at Hough (14-0), 7

East

Rolesville (9-5) at Cardinal Gibbons (12-2)

Class 3A

West

South Point (11-3) at Dudley (13-1)

East

Jacksonville (11-2) at J.H. Rose (10-4)

Class 2A

West

East Surry (13-0) at Shelby (13-1)

East

Wallace-Rose Hill (12-2) at Princeton (13-0)

Class 1A

West

Robbinsville (10-3) at Mitchell County (12-2)

East

Pender County (10-3) at Tarboro (12-1)

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