Championship Central

The 2021 North Carolina high school football state championship matches are set! Check out this year's matchups, see our updated live scoreboard, and more!

Check Out The Weekly Top 15 This Season

CarolinaGridiron.com releases Top 15 Rankings every week. Be sure to check back each Thursday duing the season to see where your favorite team is ranked.

College Football in North Carolina

Carolina Gridiron is expanding coverage of all college football teams in the state of North Carolina this season. See how your favorite college team is doing on the gridiron this year.

Carolina Gridiron Media Pick'Em

This season, Carolina Gridiron is launching a new media pick ‘em contest featuring some of the state’s top sports media. Each week, we will select a slate of ten games from across the state of North Carolina with a mix of high school and college games being thrown in.

Scrimmages and Jamborees

With your help, we are able to yearly put together the most comprehensive statewide high school football jamboree/scrimmage list in North Carolina. Thank you to all who have helped put together past lists and we are looking forward to next season.

All-Gridiron Team Returns in the Fall

The All-Gridiron Team will return for the Fall 2021 season. Stay tuned for more.

Big South Releases Preseason All-Conference Teams

CHARLOTTE – Two-time defending Big South champion Monmouth University has been tabbed the favorite in the conference’s annual preseason football poll for the 2021 campaign as voted by the league’s head coaches and media panel, it was announced today.

The Hawks collected 16 of the 18 first-place votes and finished with 141 points to repeat as league champions. Monmouth, which has appeared in the FCS Playoffs three out of the last four seasons and was ranked No. 10/11 in the final polls, returns 56 letterwinners, 26 starters and 17 All-Conference players from this past spring season. MU went 3-1 in the spring campaign (3-0 in the Big South) and carries a 10-game Big South win streak into the 2021 season –- the fourth-longest in conference history.

Kennesaw State was second in the 2021 preseason balloting with 117 points and received one first-place vote. New Big South member North Carolina A&T claimed third-place in the poll with 100 points, while Charleston Southern was fourth with 85 points and received the remaining first-place nod. Campbell was predicted fifth in the preseason ranking with 82 points, while Gardner-Webb landed in the sixth position (59 points). Hampton claimed seventh-place (35 points) and Robert Morris landed in the final spot with 29 points.

Associate member North Alabama is not eligible for the preseason ranking again this year as part of its transition to Division I, as the Lions are not eligible for the Big South regular-season championship nor the FCS Playoffs during their transition period.

Monmouth redshirt-junior running back Juwon Farri (Gaithersburg, Md.) and Hawks’ redshirt-senior defensive back Anthony Budd (Riverdale, Md.) have been voted the Big South Conference’s 2021 Preseason Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively, by the league’s head football coaches and media panel.

Farri is the first running back to earn the league’s top preseason offensive honor since 2016 and seventh overall. He was the league’s Offensive Player of the Year for the 2021 Spring season, and also received All-America accolades from STATS Perform (2nd Team), AFCA (2nd Team) and Phil Steele Magazine (3rd Team). Farri, who tied for eighth in the voting for last year’s Walter Payton Award, was a three-time Big South Offensive Player of the Week honoree last spring in which he ranked first in the nation in scoring with 15.0 points scored, as well as first in the Big South with 10 touchdowns. He rushed for a league-best 520 yards on 104 carries (5.0 per carry) and averaged 130.0 yards per game, which ranked second in all of FCS. Farri gained a season-high 179 yards against Kennesaw State, rushed for 124 at Gardner-Webb, and opened the year with 119 yards vs. Charleston Southern. He tallied multiple rushing TDs in all three regular-season games, highlighted by four against GWU, and had three scoring runs of 20+ yards. The 2018 Big South Offensive Freshman of the Year, Farri has scored a rushing touchdown in his last six appearances (dating back to 2018), and has scored a TD in 10 of his 15 career games.

Farri received nine first-place votes and 37 total points in the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year voting, ahead of Campbell quarterback Hajj-Malik Williams (two first-place votes and 19 points) and Charleston Southern quarterback Jack Chambers (three first-place votes and 15 points).

Budd is the first Monmouth player to win the Big South’s preseason defensive award, and is the first defensive back to earn the conference’s top preseason honor since 2012. He has been the league’s interception leader the past two seasons (5 in 2019, 2 in 2020-21) while earning First-Team All-Conference honors both years. Budd was the Hawks’ third-leading tackler in the spring season with 26 stops (14 solo) and had three pass break-ups in addition to his two picks. He recorded two tackles-for-loss, registered a career-high 11 tackles and an interception in a win over Gardner-Webb, and helped Monmouth’s rush defense finish 13th in the nation, fifth in turnover margin and first in sacks.

He collected six first-place votes and 31 points in the preseason balloting, ahead of Charleston Southern defensive lineman Shaundre Mims (five first-place votes and 22 points) and North Carolina A&T linebacker Kyin Howard (two first-place votes and 17 points).

Farri and Budd were also voted to the preseason All-Conference First-Team, which is comprised of 12 offensive and defensive positions, plus specialty positions. A preseason Honorable Mention squad features the next highest vote-getters at each position where available. Monmouth has the most preseason selections with 20, followed by Kennesaw State (5), Campbell and North Carolina A&T with four each, Charleston Southern and Gardner-Webb with three apiece, North Alabama (2) and Hampton and Robert Morris with one selection. The 2021 preseason All-Conference team appears below.


PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE FIRST-TEAM

OFFENSE 
QB - Tony Muskett, Soph., Monmouth
RB - Juwon Farri, R-Jr., Monmouth
RB - Jah-Maine Martin, R-Sr., North Carolina A&T
WR - Lonnie Moore IV, Gr., Monmouth
WR - Terrance Greene Jr., Sr., Monmouth
WR - Jadakis Bonds, Jr., Hampton
TE - Gene Scott, R-Sr., Monmouth
OL - AJ Farris, Gr., Monmouth
OL - Justin Szuba, Sr., Monmouth
OL - Jake Lassiter, Gr., Kennesaw State
OL - Mahmoud Shabana, Gr., Monmouth
OL - Manny Christian, Gr., Monmouth

DEFENSE
DL - Shaundre Mims, R-Sr., Charleston Southern
DL - Ty French, Soph., Gardner-Webb
DL - Jermaine McDaniel, R-Sr., North Carolina A&T
DL - Kahari Scarlett, Gr., Monmouth
LB - Da’Quan Grimes, Gr., Monmouth
LB - Aniello Buzzacco, Sr., Robert Morris
LB - Eddie Hahn V, Gr., Monmouth
LB - Kyin Howard, R-Jr., North Carolina A&T
DB - Anthony Budd, R-Sr., Monmouth
DB - Cody Cline, Jr., Charleston Southern
DB - Darion Slade, R-Sr., Campbell
DB - Justin Terry, R-Sr., Monmouth

SPECIAL TEAMS
PK - Nathan Robertson, Sr., Kennesaw State
P - Joe Gurley, Gr., North Alabama
LS - Kent Vines, Sr., Monmouth
KR - Isaac Foster, Sr., Kennesaw State
PR - Isaac Foster, Sr., Kennesaw State

PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE HONORABLE MENTION
QB - Hajj-Malik Williams, Jr., Campbell
RB - Isaac Foster, Sr., Kennesaw State (tie)
RB - Narii Gaither, Jr., Gardner-Webb (tie)
WR - Korey Banks, R-Sr., North Carolina A&T (tie)
WR - Dexter Boykin, R-Jr., North Alabama (tie)
TE - Julian Hill, Sr., Campbell
OL - Clayton Frady, Soph., Gardner-Webb
DL - Erik Massey, Gr., Monmouth
LB - Justice Galloway-Velazquez, R-Jr., Campbell
DB - Eddie Morales III, Sr., Monmouth
P - Ryan Kost, Sr., Monmouth
LS - Ethan Ray, Gr., Charleston Southern
KR - Lonnie Moore IV, Gr., Monmouth
PR - Eddie Morales III, Sr., Monmouth

PRESEASON OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Juwon Farri, R-Jr., RB, Monmouth (Gaithersburg, Md.)

PRESEASON DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Anthony Budd, R-Sr., DB, Monmouth (Riverdale, Md.)


2021 PRESEASON FOOTBALL POLL
 
1. Monmouth (16) 141
2. Kennesaw State (1) 117
3. North Carolina A&T 100
4. Charleston Southern (1) 85
5. Campbell 82
6. Gardner-Webb 59
7. Hampton 35
8. Robert Morris 29

UNC Picked to Win Coastal Division, NC State Picked Second in Atlantic


GREENSBORO – Clemson is an overwhelming preseason favorite to claim its seventh consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference football title, according to a preseason poll of 147 media voters. 

The Tigers, who posted a 10-2 record last season while earning a postseason playoff berth for the sixth consecutive year, were also chosen as likely Atlantic Division winners. North Carolina was picked to finish atop the Coastal Division following an eight-win 2020 season that culminated with the program’s first-ever berth in the Orange Bowl. 

Clemson was named the likely 2021 ACC champion on 125 ballots. North Carolina picked up 16 votes, followed by Miami with three and Georgia Tech, NC State, and Virginia with one each.

In the Atlantic Division preseason voting, Clemson led the way with 146 first-place votes and 1,028 total points. NC State, which was tabbed as the likely second-place finisher, picked up the remaining first-place vote while accumulating 804 points.

Boston College (638 points) was picked for a third-place Atlantic Division finish, followed by Florida State (510), Wake Forest (472), Louisville (462), and Syracuse (202).

In the Coastal Division forecast, North Carolina received 109 first-place votes and amassed 979 total points. Miami (28 first-place votes) was next with 881 points, followed by Virginia Tech (three-first place votes, 582 points) and Pitt (one first-place vote, 576 points).

Virginia (two first-place votes, 540 points), Georgia Tech (four first-place votes, 340 points), and Duke (218 points) closed out the voting.

Clemson was selected as the likely ACC champion in the media preseason poll for the fourth consecutive season and the seventh time in the last nine years. 

North Carolina was projected as the preseason Coastal Division champion for the second time and the first time since 2016. The Tar Heels’ lone Coastal Division championship came in 2015. Each of the Coastal’s seven teams won the division from 2013 through 2019. Due to the 2020 pandemic, the ACC played with a non-divisional format last season.

The Atlantic and Coastal Division winners will meet in the 2021 ACC Football Championship Game on Saturday, December 4, at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.

ACC Preseason Poll

(147 total votes - First-place votes in parenthesis)

Overall Champion

  1. Clemson - 125
  2. North Carolina - 16
  3. Miami - 3
  4. Virginia - 1
  5. Georgia Tech - 1
  6. NC State - 1

Atlantic Division

  1. Clemson – 1,028 (146)
  2. NC State - 804 (1)
  3. Boston College - 638
  4. Florida State - 510
  5. Wake Forest - 472
  6. Louisville - 462
  7. Syracuse - 202

Coastal Division

  1. North Carolina - 979 (109)
  2. Miami - 881 (28)
  3. Virginia Tech - 582 (3)
  4. Pitt - 576 (1)
  5. Virginia - 540 (2)
  6. Georgia Tech - 340 (4)
  7. Duke - 218 












Story courtesy of the ACC

App State Places Nine on Preseason All-Sun Belt Team, Predicted to Finish First in East Division

NEW ORLEANS — The Sun Belt Conference announced its 2021 Preseason All-Sun Belt Football Teams, individual awards and Preseason Poll on Tuesday.

Coastal Carolina redshirt sophomore quarterback Grayson McCall was dubbed the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while Troy junior linebacker Carlton Martial was named the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. McCall was the Sun Belt Player and Freshman of the Year in 2020, while both McCall and Martial are returning All-Sun Belt First Team honorees.

Coastal Carolina paced all conference programs with 11 Preseason All-Sun Belt selections, including a conference-best seven First Team picks. The Chanticleers were followed closely by Georgia State (10), App State (9) and Louisiana (9).

Louisiana was picked to win its fourth-straight Sun Belt West Division title in the Preseason Coaches Poll, while capturing 9-of-10 first-place votes. Coastal Carolina and App State were tied atop the Sun Belt East Division ledger, though the Chanticleers claimed an edge with 6-of-10 first-place nods.

Coastal Carolina and Louisiana were Sun Belt co-champions in 2020, while App State won four-straight titles from 2016-19.

Sun Belt Football Media Day will kick off the 2021 Sun Belt football season on Thursday, July 22. The event will be broadcast on ESPN+, with a morning session from 9 a.m. to 12 noon CT and an afternoon session from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. CT.


2021 SUN BELT CONFERENCE FOOTBALL PRESEASON AWARDS

Preseason Offensive Player of the Year

Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina (RS So., QB – Indian Trail, N.C.)


Preseason Defensive Player of the Year

Carlton Martial, Troy (Jr., LB – Mobile, Ala.)


Preseason All-Sun Belt First Team Offense

QB – Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina (RS So. – Indian Trail, N.C.)

RB – Camerun Peoples, App State (Jr. – Lineville, Ala.)

RB – Destin Coates, Georgia State (Sr. – Tallahassee, Fla.)

OL – Baer Hunter, App State (Super Sr. – Clemmons, N.C.)

OL – Shamarious Gilmore, Georgia State (RS Sr. – Riverdale, Ga.)

OL – Cooper Hodges, App State (Jr. – Glen St. Mary, Fla.)

OL – Austin Stidham, Troy (Jr. – Russellville, Ala.)

OL – O’Cyrus Torrence, Louisiana (So. – Greensburg, La.)

TE – Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina (Sr. – Cambridge, Mass.)

WR – Jalen Tolbert, South Alabama (Jr. – Mobile, Ala.)

WR – Jaivon Heiligh, Coastal Carolina (Sr. – Venice, Fla.)

WR – Sam Pinckney, Georgia State (RS Jr. – Greenwood, S.C.)


Preseason All-Sun Belt First Team Defense

DL – Jeffery Gunter, Coastal Carolina (RS Sr. – Durham, N.C.)

DL – CJ Brewer, Coastal Carolina (Super Sr. – Bowdon, Ga.)

DL – Demetrius Taylor, App State (Super Sr. – Miami, Fla.)

DL – Will Choloh, Troy (Jr. – Lawrenceville, Ga.)

LB – Carlton Martial, Troy (Jr. – Mobile, Ala.)

LB – D’Marco Jackson, App State (Sr. – Spartanburg, S.C.)

LB – Silas Kelly, Coastal Carolina (Super Sr. – Mount Airy, Md.)

DB – Derrick Canteen, Georgia Southern (RS So. – Evans, Ga.)

DB – Shaun Jolly, App State (Sr. – Stone Mountain, Ga.)

DB – D’Jordan Strong, Coastal Carolina (Sr. – Batesville, Miss.)

DB – Bralen Trahan, Louisiana (RS Jr. – Lafayette, La.)


Preseason All-Sun Belt First Team Special Teams

K – Noel Ruiz, Georgia State (Sr. – Wilson, N.C.)

P – Rhys Byrns, Louisiana (Jr. – Melbourne, Australia)

RS – Chris Smith, Louisiana (RS So. – Louisville, Miss.)


Preseason All-Sun Belt Second Team Offense

QB – Levi Lewis, Louisiana (Sr. – Baton Rouge, La.)

RB – JD King, Georgia Southern (Fifth-Year Sr. – Fitzgerald, Ga.)

RB – Daetrich Harrington, App State (Sr. – Douglasville, Ga.)

OL – Trey Carter, Coastal Carolina (Super Sr. – Monroeville, Ala.)

OL – Max Mitchell, Louisiana (Jr. – Monroe, La.)

OL – Dylan Bradshaw, Troy (Sr. – Enterprise, Ala.)

OL – Willie Lampkin, Coastal Carolina (So. – Lakeland, Fla.)

OL – Aaron Dowdell, Georgia Southern (Sixth-Year Sr. – Fairburn, Ga.)

TE – Roger Carter, Georgia State (Sr. – Columbia, S.C.)

WR – Thomas Hennigan, App State (Super Sr. – Greensboro, N.C.)

WR – Marcell Barbee, Texas State (Jr. – Pueblo, Colo.)

WR – Cornelius McCoy, Georgia State (Sr. – Deerfield Beach, Fla.)


Preseason All-Sun Belt Second Team Defense

DL – Zi’Yon Hill, Louisiana (RS Jr. – New Iberia, La.)

DL – Hardrick Willis, Georgia State (RS Sr. – Jonesboro, Ga.)

DL – Dontae Wilson, Georgia State (Sr. – Jefferson, Ga.)

DL – Nico Ezidore, Texas State (Jr. – Garland, Texas)

LB – Lorenzo McCaskill, Louisiana (RS Jr. – Detroit, Mich.)

LB – Teddy Gallagher, Coastal Carolina (Super Sr. – Los Angeles, Calif.)

LB – Brendan Harrington, App State (Jr. - Pittsboro, N.C.)

DB – Antavious Lane, Georgia State (RS So. – West Palm Beach, Fla.) 

DB – Quavian White, Georgia State (Sr. – Greer, S.C.)

DB – Keith Gallmon, South Alabama (Jr. – Mobile, Ala.)

DB – Eric Garror, Louisiana (Jr. – Mobile, Ala.)


Preseason All-Sun Belt Second Team Special Teams

K – Massimo Biscardi, Coastal Carolina (Sr. – Downingtown, Pa.)

P – Anthony Beck II, Georgia Southern (RS Jr. – Guyton, Ga.)

RS – Khaleb Hood, Georgia Southern (Jr. – McDonough, Ga.)


2021 SUN BELT CONFERENCE FOOTBALL PRESEASON COACHES POLL

East Division

T1. Coastal Carolina (6) – 44

T1. App State (4) – 44

3. Georgia State – 24

4. Georgia Southern – 20

5. Troy – 18


West Division

1. Louisiana (9) – 49

2. Arkansas State (1) – 38

3. South Alabama – 27

4. Texas State – 25

5. ULM – 11


Five Charlotte Players Named to CUSA Preseason Watch List

DALLAS – Conference USA released its 2021 preseason watch list, as selected by the league’s 14 head coaches on Monday. Five student-athletes from each of the conference’s 14 member institutions are recognized as key players to watch ahead of the 2021 season.

The Conference USA slate opens on Saturday, Aug. 28, and the league’s 17th Conference USA Football Championship Game is scheduled for the first week in December.


OFFENSE
QBGrant WellsRS Fr.Marshall
QBBailey ZappeGSWKU
RBFrank Gore, Jr.Fr.Southern Miss
RBSincere McCormickJr.UTSA
RBDeWayne McBrideSo.UAB
RBD'Vonte PriceSr.FIU
RBMarcus Williams, Jr.GSLouisiana Tech
WRJason BrownleeJr.Southern Miss
WRJacob CowingSo.UTEP
WRJarrin PierceRS Sr.Middle Tennessee
WRBrandon RobinsonRS Sr.Florida Atlantic
WRBradley RoznerRS Jr.Rice
WRJyaire ShorterRS So.North Texas
WRVictor TuckerRS Sr.Charlotte
OLShea BakerRS Jr.Rice
OLJacob BrammerRS Jr.North Texas
OLSpencer BurfordSr.UTSA
OLBobby DeHaroRS Jr.UTEP
OLD'Mitri EmmanuelRS Sr.Charlotte
OLArvin FletcherRS Sr.Southern Miss
OLLyndell Hudson, Jr.RS So.FIU
OLAlex MolletteRS Sr.Marshall
OLJoshua MoteJr.Louisiana Tech
OLJordan PalmerJr.Middle Tennessee
OLNick SaldiveriRS So.Old Dominion
OLCole SpencerRS Jr.WKU
OLKadeem TelfortRS Jr.UAB
OLKhalique WashingtonSr.Southern Miss
OLIsaac WeaverSr.Old Dominion
OLNick WeberRS Jr.Florida Atlantic

DEFENSE
DLPraise AmaewhuleRS So.UTEP
DLEvan AndersonFr.Florida Atlantic
DLJamare EdwardsRS Jr.Marshall
DLJordan FergusonRS Jr.Middle Tennessee
DLElijah GarciaRS Sr.Rice
DLJaylon HaynesSr.UTSA
DLDeAngelo MaloneSr.WKU
DLAntonio MoultrieRS Jr.UAB
DLDion NovilSr.North Texas
DLDavon StricklandRS So.FIU
DLMarkees WattsSr.Charlotte
LBTrey BaldwinSr.Louisiana Tech
LBKD DavisJr.North Texas
LBTyler MurrayRS Sr.Charlotte
LBJordan YoungSr.Old Dominion
DBReed BlankenshipSr.Middle Tennessee
DBRichard DamesSr.FIU
DBZyon GilbertSr.Florida Atlantic
DBSteven GilmoreJr.Marshall
DBJoe Joe HeadenSr.Old Dominion
DBDy'Vonne InyangSr.UTEP
DBAntwon KincadeSr.WKU
DBKristopher MollSr.UAB
DBNaeem SmithSr.Rice
DBBeeJay WilliamsonSo.Louisiana Tech
DBRashad WisdomJr.UTSA

SPECIAL TEAMS
KBriggs BourgeoisRS Jr.Southern Miss
KJonathan CruzSr.Charlotte
KBrayden NarvesonRS So.WKU
KNick RiceSr.Old Dominion
PLucas DeanJr.UTSA
PKyle GreenwellJr.UAB
PMatt HayballRS Jr.Florida Atlantic
PTommy HeatherlySr.FIU
PKyle UlbrichRS Jr.Middle Tennessee
PRJustin GarrettRS Sr.UTEP
PRSmoke HarrisSo.Louisiana Tech
PRTalik KeatonRS So.Marshall
LSNate DurhamRS Jr.North Texas
LSCampbell RiddleJr.Rice