CONCORD — Six Cabarrus County high school football teams will be among the contenders when the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs kick off next Friday.
Hickory Ridge (4A) and Cox Mill (3AA) received the highest seeds among local teams, with both coming in as No. 4 seeds in the West Region.
Hickory Ridge finished in sole possession of third place in the Southwestern 4A Conference behind Charlotte Myers Park and Matthews Butler. That strong finish was enough to give the Ragin’ Bulls (8-3) a first-round bye next week.
The South Piedmont 3A Conference, of which Cox Mill is a member, has strong overall representation in the postseason, placing four squads in the field.
Cox Mill and Northwest Cabarrus tied for the SPC title this season, but the Chargers took the league’s top seed because they owned the tie-breaker after their 41-34 victory over the Trojans on Friday night.
Cox Mill (7-4) be playing at home next Friday, taking on 13th-seeded Northern Guilford, which also went 7-4 and finished fourth in the Mid-State 3A/4A Conference.
Northwest Cabarrus (10-1) is the fifth seed in the 3AA West and will open at home against Waxhaw Marvin Ridge (6-5), a team it beat handily earlier this season, 39-10.
That matchup against the Mavericks, who took third place in the Southern Carolina 3A Conference, was also the game in which Northwest Cabarrus star running back Tyrese “Shady” Blake sustained a serious lower leg injury. Blake hasn’t been on the field since that Sept. 13 outing. But ironically, there’s an outside chance he could be on the field when the teams meet next week, as Northwest Cabarrus coach Brandon Gentry told the Independent Tribune that Blake has been practicing with the team the past few weeks and will meet with a doctor this week to see if he can be cleared for game action.
A.L. Brown (7-3) is the 10th-seeded squad in the 3AA West and must go on the road to take on seventh-seeded Asheville T.C. Roberson. The Rams (5-6) were the third-place team in the Western Mountain 3A Conference this season.
Meanwhile, Central Cabarrus (7-4) landed the final playoff spot in the SPC, coming in seeded 11th. The Vikings open the playoffs on the road with a trip to sixth-seeded Winston-Salem Mount Tabor. The Spartans (7-4) finished in a three-way tie for first place in the Piedmont Triad 3A, along with Greensboro Dudley and Winston-Salem Parkland.
Mount Pleasant (4-7) earned a spot into the postseason, thanks to its crucial win over West Stanly, 19-18, Friday night. The Tigers, who are seeded 10th among 2AA West squads, will make the relatively short drive to Rowan County, where they’ll face seventh-seeded Salisbury High.
Salisbury tied Ledford and Thomasville for second place in the Central Carolina 2A Conference and was 9-2 overall this season.
CABARRUS PLAYOFF TEAMS
No. 4 Hickory Ridge (8-3), bye
No. 13 Northern Guilford (7-4) at No. 4 Cox Mill (7-4)
No. 12 Marvin Ridge (6-5) at No. 5 Northwest Cabarrus (10-1)
No. 10 A.L. Brown (7-3) at No. 7 Asheville T.C. Roberson (5-6)
No. 11 Central Cabarrus (7-4) at No. 6 Winston-Salem Mount Tabor (7-4)
No. 10 Mount Pleasant (4-7) at No. 7 Salisbury (9-2)