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Football playoff pairings: 15 Cleveland, Gaston and Lincoln counties teams in NCHSAA field

By Richard Walker

Fifteen teams from Cleveland, Gaston and Lincoln counties are in the N.C. High School Athletic Association football playoff pairings that were announced on Saturday.

They include top-seeded Class 2A West team Shelby.

Cleveland County has all four of its schools – Burns, Crest, Kings Mountain and Shelby – in the playoffs for the 12th time all-time and fourth straight season. And the pairings released on Saturday gives all four of those schools first-round home games for only the second time in history – and first time since 2010.

In Gaston County, which was shut out of the state playoffs last spring for the first time since 1990, seven teams – Bessemer City, Cherryville, Cramer, East Gaston, Forestview, Highland Tech and South Point – are the playoff field though only South Point will host an opening round game.

But arguably the team with the county’s best chance at a deep run was eliminated by a NCHSAA rule; Mountain Island Charter finished 9-1 overall and 5-1 in the Catawba Shores 1A/2A Conference for the best 1A record. But the ejection of three Raptors players in their Oct. 22 win over Winston-Salem Carver disqualified them from the playoffs.

All four Lincoln County teams – East Lincoln, Lincolnton, North Lincoln and West Lincoln – made the postseason for the third time in history – and first since 2006.

By conference, five of the eight Big South 3A teams qualified as did four of the eight Western Foothills 3A teams, five of the eight Catawba Valley 2A teams and all seven of the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A teams.

Crest and Shelby extended their streak of consecutive playoff appearances to 29 years. They are tied for third all-time in state history (with Thomasville) and trail only all-time leader Garner (35 straight from 1985 to 2019) and Midway (31 straight from 1986 to 2016).

Other current streak of consecutive playoff berths are owned by Kings Mountain (eight straight years), Burns (four) and West Lincoln (three)

Here is the full pairings list with higher seeded teams hosted the Nov. 5 opening-round playoff games:

1A

(East)
#1 Tarboro (9-1), BYE
#16 Southeast Halifax (4-6) vs. #17 Weldon (3-4)
#8 Perquimans (6-2) vs. #25 Northwest Halifax (2-6)
#9 Riverside-Martin (5-3) vs. #24 Chatham Central (1-7)
#5 Rosewood (5-2), BYE
#12 North Edgecombe (5-5) vs. #21 East Columbus (3-5)
#13 Pamlico County (3-6) vs. #20 Warren County (3-6)
#4 Northampton County (8-2), BYE
#3 North Moore (9-1), BYE
#14 Gates County (3-4) vs. #19 North Duplin (3-6)
#6 Pender (6-3) vs. #27 Lejeune (0-10)
#11 West Columbus (4-5) vs. #22 Bertie (1-6)
#7 Southside (9-1) vs. #26 South Creek (0-10)
#10 KIPP Pride (5-3) vs. #23 Jones Senior (2-7)
#15 Hobbton (4-6) vs. #18 Lakewood (4-6)
#2 Northside-Pinetown (9-1), BYE

(West)
#1 Eastern Randolph (9-0), BYE
#16 Draughn (5-5) vs. #17 Elkin (3-6)
#8 Mountain Heritage (7-2) vs. #25 Albemarle (2-7)
#9 Murphy (6-4) vs. #24 Alleghany (2-7)
#5 Thomas Jefferson (6-3) vs. #28 Avery County (1-9)
#12 North Rowan (6-3) vs. #21 Bessemer City (2-8)
#13 Cherokee (5-4) vs. #20 Cherryville (3-7)
#4 Robbinsville (6-3) vs. #29 Winston-Salem Prep (1-8)
#3 Mitchell (8-2) vs. #30 South Davidson (1-8)
#14 Swain County (4-5) vs. #19 Hayesville (3-7)
#6 Thomasville (7-2) vs. #27 Highland Tech (0-9)
#11 South Stokes (5-4) vs. #22 Christ the King (3-7)
#7 Starmount (6-4) vs. #26 South Stanly (2-7)
#10 Andrews (6-3) vs. #23 Bishop McGuinness (2-7)
#15 East Wilkes (4-6) vs. #18 North Stokes (4-6)
#2 Mount Airy (10-0) vs. #31 Union Academy (0-10)

2A

(East)
#1 Princeton (9-0) vs. #32 Bunn (3-7)
#16 Eastern Wayne (8-2) vs. #17 Kinston (7-3)
#8 Nash Central (5-5) vs. #25 Southwest Onslow (2-7)
#9 South Granville (4-6) vs. #24 Midway (6-4)
#5 St. Pauls (8-0) vs. #28 Goldsboro (4-6)
#12 Roanoke Rapids (6-4) vs. #21 Bartlett Yancey (6-3)
#13 James Kenan (5-3) vs. #20 East Bladen (4-6)
#4 Whiteville (9-0) vs. #29 Camden County (4-6)
#3 Northeastern (9-0) vs. #30 East Carteret (4-5)
#14 John A. Holmes (7-2) vs. #19 North Pitt (7-3)
#6 Cummings (8-1-1) vs. #27 Greene Central (4-6)
#11 Washington (9-0) vs. #22 South Columbus (3-4)
#7 West Craven (5-3) vs. #26 North Lenoir (4-5)
#10 Wallace-Rose Hill (8-2) vs. #23 SouthWest Edgecombe (3-6)
#15 Clinton (7-2) vs. #18 Hertford County (7-3)
#2 East Duplin (9-1) vs. #31 West Bladen (3-5)

(West)
#1 Shelby (9-1) vs. #32 Owen (4-6)
#16 Southwestern Randolph (8-2) vs. #17 Polk County (6-3)
#8 Providence Grove (8-2) vs. #25 Forest Hills (6-4)
#9 Community School of Davidson (8-2) vs. #24 East Gaston (6-4)
#5 Hendersonville (8-1) vs. #28 West Stanly (3-5)
#12 Burns (7-3) vs. #21 McMichael (7-3)
#13 Chase (9-1) vs. #20 Pine Lake Prep (6-3)
#4 Reidsville (9-0) vs. #29 Randleman (4-6)
#3 Maiden (10-0) vs. #30 Mount Pleasant (6-4)
#14 West Lincoln (8-2) vs. #19 Surry Central (6-4)
#6 Salisbury (9-0) vs. #27 North Forsyth (5-5)
#11 Bunker Hill (9-1) vs. #22 East Davidson (6-4)
#7 Monroe (6-1) vs. #26 Lincolnton (4-6)
#10 J.M. Robinson (9-1) vs. #23 West Stokes (5-4)
#15 Forbush (7-3) vs. #18 North Surry (5-4)
#2 East Surry (9-0) vs. #31 Newton-Conover (3-6)

3A

(East)
#1 Eastern Alamance (7-1) vs. #32 East Wake (3-7)
#16 Havelock (6-3) vs. #17 Rocky Mount (5-5)
#8 Westover (8-1) vs. #25 Vance County (7-2)
#9 North Brunswick (6-4) vs. #24 South Brunswick (6-4)
#5 Lee County (7-3) vs. #28 West Johnston (5-5)
#12 Southern Nash (8-1) vs. #21 White Oak (8-2)
#13 Jacksonville (7-2) vs. #20 Western Alamance (4-5-1)
#4 Hunt (8-2) vs. #29 Franklinton (4-6)
#3 Seventy-First (10-0) vs. #30 West Brunswick (3-6)
#14 Fike (7-2) vs. #19 Williams (6-4)
#6 J.H. Rose (6-4) vs. #27 Croatan (4-6)
#11 Currituck County (5-5) vs. #22 Terry Sanford (6-3)
#7 West Carteret (7-2) vs. #26 Cape Fear (6-3)
#10 Southern Durham (6-4) vs. #23 Scotland County (5-4)
#15 Smithfield-Selma (7-3) vs. #18 South Johnston (8-2)
#2 Northern Nash (9-1) vs. #31 Northwood (4-5)

(West)
#1 Pisgah (9-1) vs. #32 Southern Guilford (4-6)
#16 South Point (7-3) vs. #17 Eastern Guilford (7-2)
#8 Erwin (6-4) vs. #25 Forestview (5-5)
#9 Parkwood (5-2) vs. #24 Rockingham County (5-4)
#5 North Davidson (6-3) vs. #28 West Henderson (3-7)
#12 Smoky Mountain (7-2) vs. #21 Hickory (6-4)
#13 North Lincoln (8-2) vs. #20 West Rowan (6-3)
#4 Crest (7-2) vs. #29 Jesse Carson (4-5)
#3 Dudley (9-1) vs. #30 North Henderson (4-6)
#14 Ledford (7-3) vs. #19 Central Davidson (7-2)
#6 West Charlotte (6-3) vs. #27 Stuart Cramer (5-5)
#11 Kings Mountain (8-2) vs. #22 Franklin (6-4)
#7 Hibriten (6-3) vs. #26 Freedom (5-4)
#10 Concord (6-3) vs. #23 Tuscola (6-4)
#15 Oak Grove (7-2) vs. #18 East Lincoln (7-3)
#2 Statesville (9-0) vs. #31 Enka (4-6)

4A

(East)
#1 Richmond County (9-1) vs. #32 Jack Britt (4-5)
#16 Leesville Road (7-2) vs. #17 Holly Springs (7-3)
#8 Middle Creek (8-2) vs. #25 Knightdale (4-5)
#9 Pine Forest (9-1) vs. #24 Jordan (4-4)
#5 Hillside (7-2) vs. #28 D.H. Conley (4-6)
#12 Millbrook (9-1) vs. #21 Garner (4-4)
#13 Pinecrest (8-2) vs. #20 Rolesville (5-5)
#4 New Bern (9-1) vs. #29 Wakefield (4-6)
#3 Cleveland (9-0) vs. #30 Chapel Hill (7-3)
#14 Fuquay-Varina (7-3) vs. #19 Laney (8-2)
#6 Cardinal Gibbons (8-2) vs. #27 New Hanover (5-5)
#11 Heritage (9-1) vs. #22 Clayton (5-5)
#7 Hoggard (9-1) vs. #26 Corinth Holders (4-5)
#10 South View (8-2) vs. #23 Sanderson (5-3)
#15 Southern Alamance (8-2) vs. #18 Panther Creek (7-3)
#2 Wake Forest (7-3) vs. #31 Hoke County (4-6)

(West)
#1 Hough (10-0) vs. #32 Page (4-6)
#16 South Mecklenburg (8-2) vs. #17 West Forsyth (5-4)
#8 Butler (7-2) vs. #25 Mallard Creek (4-4)
#9 Asheville (8-2) vs. #24 Davie (6-4)
#5 Glenn (7-2) vs. #28 Providence (6-4)
#12 Myers Park (7-3) vs. #21 Mooresville (6-4)
#13 East Forsyth (8-1) vs. #21 Southeast Guilford (7-3)
#4 Ardrey Kell (7-2) vs. #29 Northwest Guilford (5-5)
#3 Weddington (9-1) vs. #30 North Mecklenburg (5-4)
#14 Marvin Ridge (7-2) vs. #19 Charlotte Catholic (7-2)
#6 Watauga (8-2) vs. #27 Cuthbertson (4-6)
#11 Northern Guilford (9-1) vs. #22 Lake Norman (7-3)
#7 Hickory Ridge (8-2) vs. #26 A.C. Reynolds (7-3)
#10 Julius Chambers (9-1) vs. #23 South Caldwell (7-2)
#15 Reagan (7-3) vs. #18 Porter Ridge (6-2)
#2 Grimsley (10-0) vs. #31 Cox Mill (5-5)