Thomas Jefferson remains the only unbeaten in the county, but East Rutherford also won last Friday. Both have major games on Friday.
Shelby (6-3, 3-0) at East Rutherford (7-2, 2-1)
East won this past Friday to claim the County title with a 53-13 victory over Chase. Calvin Jones found the end zone three times, twice on runs and once on an interception. Matthew Hunt played his best defensive game all season long. Now, it's on to Shelby.
The last time East beat Shelby on the football field was in the 2005 regular season.
Donye Fuller leads Shelby in rushing, but it's the passing game that is sound with Isaiah Bess with 21 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and 2200 yards.
It's simple for East, they must win the possession battle by a good bit and not make any costly mistakes.
If East can win, they finish no worse than second in conference and get at least one playoff game at home. They still may end up with one as an eight seed by finishing third, but you want the highest seed possible.
I just feel like it's time and don't see either team stopping the other much. East 40-34.
Thomas Jefferson (9-0, 5-0) at Mountain Island Charter (7-2, 4-1)
The Gryphons easily took care of Bessemer City at home in a 52-20 win
Nomi McMullens accounted for six more touchdowns and that's 42 touchdowns on the year in running, passing and interceptions for scores. The Gryphons are growing a little more each week and gaining more trust in each other. That comes from Coach Jerry Cash and his staff as well. Thursday, they have a big game at Mountain Island Charter.
MIC has Demetrius Washington to throw the ball and Elijah Burris has rushed for 29 touchdowns so far this season. Expect offensive fireworks! One thing to consider, MIC lost to Bessemer City by 10 and TJCA just beat Bessemer City by 32. While the numbers would indicate a big TJCA win, TJCA won by just 18 a year ago and MIC is more athletic than on paper. TJCA 41, MIC 33
Chase (3-6, 1-2) at South Point (7-3, 3-0)
I liked the way Kayshawn Woods ran the ball last week. He went over 100 yards rushing, but it was nowhere near enough in a 40-point loss to East. The Chase run game was actually pretty good last week, but they couldn't convert on third and fourth downs. They also gave East a short field a few times, but they were trying to keep the East offense off the field and punting has been an adventure all year for the Trojans. I get it. There were a ton of gutsy calls to go for it on fourth down, but it also helped East stretch the lead.
This week, they take on league leader South Point. The Red Raiders can run the ball well and the Trojans won't be able to stop it enough. Leshon Lipscomb played well on defense last week for Chase, but it will take a lot more than him to contain South Point. South Point 42-0.
R-S Central (1-8, 0-3) at East Gaston (0-9, 0-3)
The Hilltoppers finished one of the toughest three-game stretches a team could encounter by facing East Rutherford, Shelby and South Point in consecutive weeks. Last week, it was South Point 49-6 in Belmont. This week, they get a winless East Gaston.
It's the battle of the fullbacks in the Warriors Brodie Hilton and the Hilltoppers C.J. Hannon. Central actually played defense pretty well until after the Pisgah game. Then they really found out how much better some other teams were. The only exception may be South Caldwell. Both teams have struggled, especially on offense all year. I pick R-S Central 24-12 in this one.
And finally, it's Martinsville time. NASCAR shows up to the short track for a late afternoon Sunday race that should finish in the darkness. Last year, Chase Elliott nearly won, but was taken out by Denny Hamlin in the closing laps. Kyle Busch won with Martin Truex Jr. second. Elliott has won two in a row and I wouldn't be surprised if he found victory lane again this weekend. It should be an exciting playoff race. Clint Bowyer had them covered earlier this year at the paperclip. Give me Truex to win just because he is due.