Get a preview for all four of this weekend’s NCHSAA high school football state title games

Who will be the N.C. high school football player of the year?

On the final Talking Preps episode of the 2023 football season, the winner of the state’s player of the year, the N.C. Mr. Football award, will be announced. Mr. Football is sponsored by Deer Park Water, and the winner receives a trophy and a banner for his school to hang in its gym.

We will also preview all four of this week’s N.C. High School Athletic Association state finals and reveal a “way-too-early” look at the 2024 Mr. Football nominees.

On tap:

NC football expert Chris Hughes has previews for all the state championship games: Hickory vs. Seventy-First (3A), Reidsville vs. Clinton (2A), Mount Airy vs. Tarboro (1A) and Weddington vs. Hoggard (4A). Jonathan Grice has a one-on-one interview with Weddington coach Andy Capone.

Capone also sits in as a special guest for “Grice’s Gems,” where Grice reveals his picks for the N.C. high school players of the week from the regional round.

All three Mr. Football finalists join the show to talk about their seasons, and we’ll take a look at next year’s crop before revealing this year’s winner.

Finally, on “Coach vs. Coach,” Grice and West Charlotte’s Sam Greiner debate whether Florida State should’ve gotten into the College Football Playoff; is western NC high school football still better than in the east; and will the NCHSAA moving to eight classifications be good for the sport or not?

Mr. Football finalists

Providence Day’s Jadyn Davis, Crest High School’s Ny’Tavious Huskey and Scotland County running back Zay Jones are the three finalists for the N.C. Mr. Football award.

The winner will be named during the Dec. 5 Talking Preps episode and that player will receive a trophy and a banner courtesy of Mr. Football sponsor Deer Park, the water company.

Davis, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound senior quarterback, won the Mr. Football award last season. Last week, he led the Chargers to a third straight state championship. Providence Day rallied from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to beat nationally ranked Rabun Gap, 34-27.

For the season, Davis didn’t play in the fourth quarter in five of 13 games. He completed 204 of 288 passes for 3,370 yards and 43 touchdowns. He had nine interceptions. Davis is a top-10 recruit nationally at his position and has committed to Michigan. He will play in the All-American Bowl on Jan. 6 (NBC).

Huskey, a 5-10, 180-pound senior quarterback, led the Chargers to a 13-1 record. The Chargers reached the N.C. 3A state quarterfinal round.

For the season, he has completed 216 of 331 passes for 3,663 yards. He had 45 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. Huskey rushed 107 times for 623 yards and seven scores.

Jones, a 5-8, 175-pound senior running back, led his team to a 10-3 record this season. Scotland finished third in the Sandhills 3A/4A conference and lost to Northern Nash in the third round of the NCHSAA 3A playoffs.

For the season, Jones ran 331 times for 2,680 yards and 42 touchdowns.

How to watch

The show will air on The Charlotte Observer’s YouTube page at 8 p.m. Tuesday.