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Previewing this weekend's North Carolina football playoffs

Whiteville sees mirror image in East Duplin

Whiteville might be thinking it’s facing a mirror image in East Duplin when they face off in the fourth round of the 2-A state playoffs Friday night.

Both teams are coming off dramatic, come-from-behind one-point wins and play a similar style of football.

“Tight games,” said Whiteville coach J.P. Price. “That’s what you expect in the playoffs at this time.”

There’s a lot of family and friendship angles, too.

Battle Holley is the East Duplin coach. His legendary father, Jack Holley, coached with Price’s father, Joey Price. The elder Holley and elder Price both won multiple state championships at Wallace-Rose Hlll.

“My mother and Battle’s sister went to high school together in Tabor City,” Price said. “A lot of background and family ties.

Then there's the current teams.

“We’re both wing-T, no-huddle,” Price said. “They’re a physical football team. Very well-coached in the fundamentals. They fly around on defense. They’re a very, very good football team.”

Whiteville (12-1) staged a furious rally to beat Hertford County 25-24 on Grayson Creech’s 30-yard field goal as time expired. The Wolfpack trailed 24-7 with 3:35 left in the third quarter.

East Duplin (12-1) twice came back from two touchdowns down to edge Clinton 28-27. The Panthers held on when Clinton went for the win and failed to convert a two-point conversion.

Whiteville's Grayson Creech kicks an extra point against Hertford County.

Whiteville's Grayson Creech kicks an extra point against Hertford County.

There won't be a lot of throwing Friday night as the wing-T, of course emphasizes the run.

The Panthers had two running backs - Avery Gaby and Nizaya Hall - go over 100 yards against Clinton. Whiteville quarterback Luke Odham had 116 yards on 18 carries.

Whiteville hopes to have fullback/long snapper J.T. Todd back in the lineup Friday. Todd turned an ankle in the first quarter against Hertford County.

“The x-ray came back negative,” Price said. “We’re going to hold him back all week and see if we can get him to go Friday night. ... He's a very important player for us.”

Here’s a look at the rest of Friday’s fourth-round action in North Carolina.

2-A East

Wallace-Rose Hill (11-2) at Princeton (12-1)

The Bulldogs have two 1,000-yard rushers in sophomore Irving Brown and junior Corbin Kerr. Brown leads them with 27 touchdowns. ... Princeton tailback Christian Perris having a spectacular season with 3,198 yards and 47 touchdowns. The 5-foot 11, 180-pound senior carried 33 times for 495 yards and 7 TDs last week. He's not their only weapon. Brandon Turner has 1,787 yards and 22 CDs.

2-A West

Maiden (12-1) at Reidsville (12-1)

The visiting Blue Devils can throw it and run it. Quarterback Wesley Thompson has 3,597 yards and 42 TDs against 7 interceptions. His top target is North Carolina recruit Chris Culliver, who has 78 catches for 1,764 yards and 25 TDs. Tailback Ben Gibbs has 1,647 yards and 23 TDs rushing. ... Reidsville has a balanced attack with over 2,000 yards both running and receiving. Quarterback Al Lee has thrown for 1,856 yards and 26 TDs against 6 interceptions. Flip Flippen is the top receiver with 44 catches for 729 yards and 10 TDs. A freshman, Dionte Neal, has 43 receptions for 691 yards and 9 TDs. Neal is also one of the state's top defensive backs with 12 interceptions.

Monroe (12-1) at Burns (12-1)

Monroe quarterback Khamoni Robinson has thrown for 2,505 yards and 23 touchdowns with 3 interceptions. He also has seven rushing TDs. Sophomore receiver Jordan Young has 38 catches for 738 yards and 10 TDs. The top running back is junior Nate Crosby with 1,403 yards and 23 TDs. ... Burns QB Ben Mauney has 2,560 yards and 29 TDs with 3 interceptions. The top receiver is senior Ryan Thompson with 52 catches for 702 yards and 9 TDs. Jeremiah Norris has 1,157 yards and 16 TDs on the ground.

1-A East

Northampton (11-2) at Tarboro (11-1)

Northampton QB Anthony Harding is a bruiser at 6-foot-1, 250 pounds. He has 1,770 yards and 21 TDs rushing while also throwing 10 touchdown passes. ... Tarboro, the defending state champion, has a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Mason Satterfield and freshman Kamerin McDowell-Moore.

Rosewood (9-4) at North Moore (13-0)

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Rosewood has won eight in a row after a 1-4 start. Wyatt Lassiter has six interceptions. North Moore was at one time among the least successful programs in North Carolina. Not anymore. The Mustangs have two 1,000-yard rushers in Jakarey Gillis and Kolby Ritchie. They don’t throw much but 6-foot-5, 240-pound sophomore Colby Pennington has 12 catches for 253 yards and 7 TDs.

1-A West

Draughn (12-1) at Andrews (13-0)

Draughn QB E.J. Tilley has 1,965 yards and 28 TDs with 4 interceptions. Nigel Dula has run for 1,216 yards and 21 TDs. ... Andrews two-way star Isaac Weaver has 1,147 yards and 19 TDs rushing along with 10 interceptions. Austin Martin has run for 1,009 yards and 17 TDs. The Wildcats were 7-4 last season.

Mount Airy (12-1) at Eastern Randolph (11-1)

Tyler Mason has 1,531 yards and 34 touchdowns rushing for Mount Airy. ... Eastern Randolph has won 11 in a row after opening the season with a loss. Ervodd Cassady ran 20 times for 141 yards and 3 touchdowns, including the game-winner, as the Wildcats held off Robbinsville 29-26.

3-A East

Triton (8-5) at Northern Nash (13-0)

Triton is the surprise of the playoffs after being 4-5 heading into the final week of the regular season. The Hawks have six running backs with over 600 yards. Javon Cowan has 798 yards and 17 TDs. Quarterback Jalen Evans has thrown 10 TD passes and has 10 TDs rushing. ...

Northern Nash QB Keno Jones has thrown for 1,922 yards and 29 touchdowns against 4 interceptions. Randall King is a big-play receiver with 28 catches for 799 yards and 13 TDs.

Terry Sanford (11-2) at Seventy-First (13-0)

This for the Fayetteville city championship. The teams are in different conferences and did not play in the regular season. Terry Sanford QB Dante Garcia has thrown for 2,890 yards and 29 TDs with 4 interceptions. Patrick Shook has 52 catches for 926 yards and 10 TDs. Johnathan Higgins-Simmons has 804 yards and 10 TDs rushing along with 4 TD catches. ... Seventy-Firtst tailback Anthony Quinn, Jr. has 2,072 yards and 26 TDs rushing. ... Jayden Shotwell has 1,218 yards and 13 TDs.

3-A West

East Lincoln (13-0) at Kings Mountain (13-0)

A battle between two heavyweights, though Kings Mountain was nearly upset by six-win West Charlotte last week. ... East Lincoln QB Tyler Mizzell has had a huge season, throwing for 2,184 yards and 33 TDs with 4 interceptions. He has also run for 577 yards and 14 TDs.

Markell Clark has 53 catches for 689 yards and 15 TDs. Christopher Daley II has 1,375 yards and 16 TDs rushing. ... Kings Mountain QB Lamont Littlejohn has 2,107 yards and 18 TDs with 8 interceptions. He has thrown TD passes to eight receivers. Teddy Jeffries has 1,042 yards and 19 TDs rushing. Curtis Simpson has 22 sacks and Bryson Brown has 6 interceptions.

Eastern Guilford (9-4) at South Point (12-1)

Eastern Guilford is here after surprising No. 2 seed West Henderson 35-17. A pair of fumble returns for TDs broke it open. Quarterback Tyreik Boyd has thrown for 1,798 yards and 24 TDs with 3 interceptions. Jaiden Evans has 1,510 yards and 24 TDs rushing. Sophomore receiver Steven Murray has 35 catches for 668 yards and 11 TDs. ... South Point freshman quarterback Patrick Blue has run for 1,392 yards and 18 TDs. He also has 10 TD passes. Cam Medlock has 1,703 yards and 31 TDs rushing.

4-A East

Millbrook (12-1) at Hillside (12-1)

Millbrook quarterback Mason Fortune has led a tremendous air assault with 3,659 yards and 37 touchdowns. .. The top receiver is Nathan Leacock with 73 catches for 1,066 yards ands 23 TDs. Xavier Pugh has run for 913 yards and 19 TDs. ... Hillside quarterback Wilson Kargbo has 2,219 yards and 33 TDs through the air. Two receivers - Tahir Henry and Khalik Johnson - have double-digit TD receptions. ... Jimmyll Williams has 2,258 yards and 23 TDs rushing.

Rolesville (10-3) at New Bern (13-0)

Rolesville sophomore QB Braeden Atkinson has 1,576 yards and 19 TDs through the air. The Rams have two 1,000-yard runners - Isiah Jones and Devon Thomas. ... New Bern tailback Arone Herring has 1,464 yards and 19 TDs, including a 99-yarder. Jayden Wallace has 1,183 yards and 15 TDs. Quarterback Damaree Tucker has run for 909 yards and 11 TDs to go along with 6 TD passes. Florida State commit K.J. Sampson has 18 sacks and 35 hurries. Chamir Wright has 7 of the team’s 23 interceptions.

4-A West

Hough (11-2) at Grimsley (13-0)

Hough quarterback Tad Hudson has 2,364 yards and 21 TDs. Markell Quick has 51 catches for 785 yards and 10 TDs. JT Smith has 939 yards and 14 TDs on the ground. Senior kicker Nolan Hauser is 17-for-20 on field goals with a long of 49 yards. He has 67 touchbacks on 85 kickoffs. ... Grimsley quarterback Ryan Stephens has 1,861 yards and 18 TDs with only 2 interceptions. He also has 988 yards and 22 TDs rushing. Sophomore tailback Mitchell Summers has 1,770 yards and 19 TDs rushing. Bryce Davis has 11 sacks.

A.C. Reynolds (12-1) at Weddington (12-1)

ACR quarterback Hayden Craig has thrown for 1,677 yards and 19 TDs. ... Sophomore tailnback Max Guest has 1,705 yards and 25 TDs. Cairo Skanes has five interceptions. ... Weddington has won 11 in a row since falling 52-32 to NCISAA state champion Providence Day.