Championship Central

Look back at how the 2017 state championships unfolded for all eight North Carolina classifications.

Looking Back at the 2017 All-Gridiron Team

Look back at the 2017 Carolina Gridiron All-Gridiron team. The 2018 All-Gridiron Team will be named soon. Be sure to check back with us for exciting updates.

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 Division I, II and III college football teams in the state of North Carolina every season. See how your favorite college team is doing on the gridiron this season.

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. We are beginning the 2018 list now. Be sure to check back for more scrimmages and jamborees.

Carolina Gridiron FAIR Rankings

Check out the Carolina Gridiron FAIR Rankings archives to see where your team has stacked up during past seasons. The 2018 rankings will be released once all teams have played at least one game against an NCHSAA opponent.

App State Picked to Win Sun Belt East Division

NEW ORLEANS - The Appalachian State Mountaineers and Arkansas State Red Wolves are the favorites to win the 2018 Sun Belt Conference Football East and West Divisions, respectively, as voted on by the league’s 10 head coaches. The Sun Belt released the preseason poll Thursday in advance of the Sun Belt’s annual media day that begins Sunday, July 22.


For the first time in the league's 18-year history, the Sun Belt will move to a Divisional format to determine a champion. December 1, 2018, will be the first Championship Game in league history and will be played at the site of the divisional team with the best overall conference winning percentage.

The head football coaches chose Appalachian State (East) and Arkansas State (West) as the favorites to represent the league in its inaugural Championship. Additionally, Arkansas State was picked as the overall favorite to win the Championship title in a vote that included selected members of the media, along with the 10 football head coaches.

Arkansas State heads into the 2018 season looking to return to form and claim the West Division and Overall Champion titles. A-State brings back 12 starters (seven offense; five defense), including 2017 Offensive Player of the Year, Justice Hansen, who accounted for 44 touchdowns of A-State's 59.

The Red Wolves went 6-2 in Sun Belt play a season ago, leading the league in scoring (37.8 ppg) and total offense (495.3 ypg). Blake Anderson is in his fifth year as the Red Wolves head coach, has compiled a 31-25 record, and has led the team to four consecutive bowl games.

Appalachian State was picked to win the East Division, and did so by the slimmest of margins. The Mountaineers edged out Troy by two points in the voting. App State and Troy shared the Sun Belt regular season title last year. The Mountaineers posted a 7-1 record in league play and a 9-4 overall record. The Mountaineers won the 2017 Dollar General Bowl, blowing out Mid-American Conference Champion Toledo, 34-0, for its third consecutive bowl win.

Head Coach Scott Satterfield enters his sixth year at the helm of the Mountaineers and is 41-22 in Boone. The Mountaineers return 11 starters in 2018 (six offense; five defense).

Key returnees for the Mountaineers are senior running back, Jalin Moore, and junior defensive back, Clifton Duck. Moore was part of a rushing attack that led the Sun Belt (223.6) and was second in touchdowns on the ground (27). Duck helped lead the Mountaineers pass defense to 18 interceptions while allowing a league-low 205.1 yards through the air. The App State defense was also second in scoring, giving up only 20.2 points per game in 2017.

The Red Wolves earned nine first-place votes in the West Division, earning 49 points. ULM was picked to finished second in the West with 37 points, while South Alabama was picked to finish third with 26 points, earning the final first-place vote.

App State garnered six first-place votes in the East Division, finishing with 46 points. Troy was tabbed second with 44 points and four first-place votes while Georgia State was picked to finish third with 26 points.

2018 Sun Belt Football Coaches Predicted Order of Finish (first place votes)

East Division
1. Appalachian St. (6) – 46 pts
2. Troy (4) – 44 pts
3. Georgia State – 26 pts
4. Georgia Southern – 22 pts
5. Coastal Carolina – 12 pts

West Division
1. Arkansas State (9) – 49 pts
2. ULM – 37 pts
3. South Alabama (1) – 26 pts
4. Louisiana – 25 pts
5. Texas State – 13 pts

Wingate's Adam Riley Nominated for AFCA Good Works Team

Northbrook, Ill. – Wingate University redshirt senior wide receiver Adam Riley (Lawrenceville, Ga.) is a nominee for the 2018 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, the Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) announce today. This year, there are 169 nominees for the 2018 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

Riley and the Bulldogs won the 2017 South Atlantic Conference championship and advanced to the NCAA Division II playoffs. In the community, Riley has served three years as a Union County Young Life leader at Porter Ridge High School. He has participated in Wingate's Special Olympics Field Day each August. Riley has visited the Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte each fall as well.

In the classroom, Riley is a communication studies major with an emphasis in sports broadcasting as well as a double minor in psychology and sports management. Riley currently holds a 3.109 GPA. He has received recognition as a Dean's list student at Wingate.

"Adam Riley is just simply a special human being," Wingate head football coach Joe Reich says. "He has fantastic character and never seems to have an 'off' day. He always brings enthusiasm and energy to all he does. There is nobody who works harder. Adam is a great ambassador for our University and our program."

The Allstate AFCA Good Works Team has been one of the most esteemed honors in college football for more than 25 years. The student-athletes who are nominated for this award not only demonstrate a unique dedication to community service and desire to make a positive impact on the lives around them, but they also show tremendous perseverance as well as the ability to overcome personal struggles and come out victorious against all odds.

"Each nominee has an inspiring story to tell - often times about how they have prevailed over hardships and adversity only to turn around and pour their hearts into helping others," David Prendergast says. Prendergast is president of the Eastern Territory at Allstate Insurance Company and a member of the 2018 voting panel. "It is our privilege at Allstate to come together with the AFCA for the 11th consecutive year to shine a light on these exceptional nominees who set the highest standards of community service and serve as role models for generations to come."

The college football players who have been nominated make it a priority to find time in their busy schedules to volunteer in meaningful ways. Of the nominees, many players dedicate time to reading, mentoring and playing sports with disadvantaged children when they are not in the classroom or on the field. Other players make frequent visits to hospitals to spend one-on-one time with ill patients. One student-athlete even went as far as donating bone marrow in order to save the life of a child in need.

A special voting panel consisting of previous Allstate AFCA Good Works Team members and prominent college football media members will review submissions from sports information directors across the nation to select the 2018 Good Works Team. Two-time national champion, Heisman Trophy winner and 2009 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team member Tim Tebow will once again headline the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team voting panel.

"I've seen the value of this team firsthand since I was selected as a member of the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team my senior year," Tebow says. "I love seeing the influx of players year after year who truly embody everything for which this program stands. "These kids have so much character, strength and honor. To excel on the field, in the classroom and be a leader in community service - that is the ultimate accomplishment."

The Allstate AFCA Good Works Team is comprised of 11 players from the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and 11 players from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, Divisions II, III and the NAIA and one honorary head coach. To be in consideration by Allstate and the AFCA for a nomination, each player must be actively involved with a charitable organization or service group while maintaining a strong academic standing.

The final roster of 22 award recipients and honorary head coach will be unveiled in September.

"There are always a lot of great stories that come out every year during the college football season, but none of them compare to the inspiring stories that each of these Allstate AFCA Good Works Team nominees live out on a daily basis," AFCA Executive Director Todd Berry says. "How these student-athletes spend their time helping others should be a motivation to everyone who reads about them to give back. It's an honor to partner with Allstate to publicize the great works these student-athletes achieve each year."

In addition to Tebow and Prendergast, the 2018 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team selection panel members includes: former Good Works Team members Zaid Abdul-Aleem (Duke, 1994 team), Matt Stinchcomb (Georgia, 1997, 1998 teams), Brian Brenberg (St. Thomas, 2001 team), Mike Proman (Amherst, 2002 team) and Wes Counts (Middle Tennessee State, 1999 team); media members Kirk Herbstreit (ESPN), Blair Kerkhoff (Kansas City Star) and Paul Myerberg (USA TODAY); Georgetown College head coach Bill Cronin; 2001 AFCA President and current athletic director at Virginia Union University Joe Taylor.

After the final team members are announced in September, college football fans can visit the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team official page on ESPN.com to view profiles and images of the players and honorary head coach, and vote for the 2018 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team Captain. Fans are also encouraged to follow along and join in on the conversation by searching and using #GoodWorksTeam on their social media channels throughout the season.

Conference USA Releases Preseason Media Poll

Florida Atlantic and North Texas each made their first Conference USA Championship Game appearance last season and the league’s media are forecasting a rematch this December, as the defending champion Owls were picked to win their second straight East Division title, while North Texas was selected to repeat as West Division champions in a preseason vote conducted by a panel of media members that cover C-USA schools.

Florida Atlantic will enter this season seeking to become the third program in Conference USA history to win back-to-back C-USA Championship Games.  The Owls begin the season with nation’s second-longest winning streak at 10 games and welcome back 15 starters of offense and defense.  Leading the way on offense is junior RB Devin Singletary, the preseason Offensive Player of the Year and 2017 C-USA MVP.  Last season, Singletary ran for 1,920 yards and led the nation with a C-USA-record 33 touchdowns (32 rushing).  He became the first FAU player to be named an Associated Press All-American, earning third-team honors.  On the other side of the ball, preseason Defensive Player of the Year Azeez Al-Shaair leads an experienced unit.  The linebacker finished fifth in the nation with 147 tackles last season, adding 11 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, four passes defended and one forced fumble.

North Texas returns nine offensive and eight defensive starters from its 2017 West Division Champion team.  Included in that group is junior QB Mason Fine, last season’s C-USA Offensive Player of the Year.  He set single-season program records in passing yards (4,052), passing touchdowns (31), completions (324) and pass attempts (511).  Among his targets are last year’s C-USA co-Newcomer of the Year WR Jalen Guyton, who caught 49 passes for 775 yards and nine touchdowns.  Senior LB E.J. Ejiya, who led the team with 109 tackles, spearheads the returning defensive regulars.

Marshall, armed with 19 combined returning starters on offense and defense, including senior WR Tyre Brady (62 catches for 942 yards and eight touchdowns) and senior LB Chase Hancock (128 tackles), was picked second in the East, followed by Middle Tennessee and senior QB Brent Stockstill, owner of virtually every Blue Raider passing record.  Rounding out the media picks in the East are FIU, WKU, Old Dominion, and Charlotte.

Louisiana Tech, coming off the program’s fourth straight bowl victory and featuring 2016 Conference USA co-Newcomer of the Year WR Teddy Veal (74 catches, 950 yards, seven TDs) on offense and senior DE Jaylon Ferguson (27.5 career sacks) on defense, was selected second, followed by UAB and sophomore RB Spencer Brown (1,459 yards, 19 total TDs), last year’s C-USA Freshman of the Year, picked third.  Closing out the media picks in the West Division are Southern Miss, UTSA, and then Rice and UTEP tied, respectively.

The 14th annual Conference USA Football Championship Game, pitting the champions of the East and West Divisions, will be held Saturday, Dec. 1.  The 2018 C-USA Football season kicks off Thursday, Aug. 30.



C-USA MEDIA MEMBERS PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

EAST DIVISION    
1.  Florida Atlantic (22)
2.  Marshall (4)
3.  Middle Tennessee
4.  FIU
5.  WKU
6.  Old Dominion
7.  Charlotte

WEST DIVISION   
1.  North Texas (18)
2.  Louisiana Tech (4)
3.  UAB (3)
4.  Southern Miss (1)
5.  UTSA
6.  Rice
     UTEP

(first place votes in parentheses)

ECU's Alex Turner Nominated for AFCA Good Works Team

NORTHBROOK, Ill. – ECU junior defensive tackle Alex Turner is one of 169 college football players to be nominated for the 2018 Allstate American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team. The award recognizes the selfless contributions to volunteerism and community service made by college football student-athletes across the nation.

Alex Turner
Turner, who started six of 10 games a year ago, tallied 17 stops (six solo) on his way to earning ECU’s Defensive Big Man-of-the-Year honors as a sophomore. He collected at least one stop in nine games and posted multiple-tackle outings on six occasions, including a career-high four against Connecticut in the Pirates’ 41-38 win in East Harford. Turner was credited with 1.5 TFLs (1.0/UConn, 0.5/BYU) and one sack vs. the Huskies (-4 yards).

In the community, Turner has volunteered with programs such as Aces for Autism, Special Olympics, Vidant Children’s Hospital, annual Goldsby's Gala and the ECU Baseball Banquet.

A double major in psychology and multidisciplinary studies (neuroscience), Turner earned College Sports Information Directors (CoSIDA) Academic All-District 3 First-Team honors in 2017, is a two-time American Athletic Conference All-Academic Team selection and was twice named to the ECU Dean’s List and Honor Roll.

The 2018 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team will consist of a 22-player roster comprised of 11 players from the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and 11 players from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, Divisions II, III and the NAIA. A special voting panel consisting of former Allstate AFCA Good Works Team members and prominent college football media members will unveil the team in September from the initial list of 169 nominees.