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.

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 helped put together the 2019 list.

Championship Central

Take a look back at the 2018 North Carolina state championship games.

2019 Preseason All-Gridiron Team Announced

Congratulations to all of the players who were selected to the 2019 preseason All-Gridiron team.

App State Ranked in Both the AP and Coaches Poll

BOONE — In the midst of an 11-game winning streak and a 5-0 start to the 2019 season, Appalachian State received national recognition Sunday in the form of its second Top 25 ranking in the program's brief FBS history.

At 5-0 overall and 2-0 in league play heading into Saturday's homecoming game against Sun Belt west division leader ULM (3-3, 2-0), App State is No. 24 in both the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and the Amway Coaches Poll. It's the highest ranking in any poll in the Mountaineers' FBS history and the first ranking of App State by the coaches. It also marks the highest ranking for any Sun Belt team since the league was established in 1976. App State joined the Sun Belt in 2014.

As one of 12 unbeaten FBS teams and one of three Group of Five conference teams with an unblemished record, the Mountaineers have defeated East Tennessee State, Charlotte, in-state ACC program North Carolina on the road and Sun Belt foes Coastal Carolina (at home) and Louisiana (on the road).

App State's 11-game winning streak is the nation's third-longest active streak behind Clemson (21) and Ohio State (12). Since 2015 — during a run that includes three straight league titles and four consecutive bowl wins — the Mountaineers have the nation's fifth-best winning percentage thanks to a 46-11 record.

In Eliah Drinkwitz’s first season as head coach, the Mountaineers are among the nation's leaders in several special teams and offensive statistical categories and are coming off a brilliant defensive performance in a 17-7 road win over Louisiana, who entered that contest with the nation's No. 1 rushing attack. App State is tied for the national lead in fewest turnovers lost (2) and most blocked kicks (4). The Mountaineers are 10th in scoring offense (41.0), tied for fifth in defensive touchdowns (2), eighth in kickoff returns (28.8), ninth in third-down conversions (50.0), 11th in pass completion percentage (70.4), 12th in punt returns (15.5) and 12th in red zone offense (95.5).

Last year, App State earned its first Top 25 ranking as an FBS member (No. 25 in the AP poll) thanks to a 5-1 start that featured five straight wins following an overtime loss at Penn State. App State teams in 2019 and 2018 account for two of the three Sun Belt Conference teams to ever receive a Top 25 ranking.

Saturday's homecoming game against ULM kicks off at 3:30 p.m. at Kidd Brewer Stadium and marks the Mountaineers' first home game as a nationally ranked FBS team.

Kidd Brewer Stadium is sure to be rocking this Saturday as Appalachian State will play its first home game ever as a nationally ranked team.

PHOTO GALLERY: Davidson vs San Diego


Davidson Falls to San Diego in PFL Home Opener

DAVIDSON – Coming into Saturday’s game against San Diego, the Davidson Wildcats were third in the nation in rushing offense, averaging 332.8 yards a game and was 1-0 in the Pioneer League for the first time in nine years and looking to go 2-0 for the first time ever. San Diego, on the other hand, was riding a 30-game conference winning streak and had won or shared the last five Pioneer League titles. Something was going to have to give in this rematch of last year’s 56-52 barnburner. In the end, it was the San Diego Toreros who found their thirty-first consecutive conference win in a 37-17 win over Davidson at Richardson Stadium.

Davidson started the game looking to impose its will on the San Diego defense, using punishing runs to wear down the visiting Torero defense. The Wildcats made it all the way inside the ten-yard line, but a fumble on first and goal moved the ball back fifteen yards and the offense was forced to settle for a 43-yard Caden Bonoffski field goal to take an early 3-0 lead. San Diego offered almost a mirror drive to respond, making it to the red zone before eventually settling for a field goal of their own and knotting the score at 3.

Davidson Slot Receiver Eli Turner, Jr.
Photo Credit: Brian Barnes
Davidson’s next drive lasted into the beginning of the second quarter with junior Wesley Dugger putting the exclamation point on the twelve-play, seventy-five-yard drive with an eleven-yard scamper around the left side to give the home team a 10-3 lead. Dugger, coming into the game as one of only two juniors in the FCS Top 10 active career leaders in rushing yards, was held to twenty-six yards on the day.

Just like the first drives of the game, San Diego mirrored the Wildcats on their second drive as well, marching seventy-five yards down the field in seven plays and equalizing the score with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Reid Sinnett to Michael Carner.

For a team that focuses so much on the running game, it was a pass that helped move the Wildcats onto their next score. After Tyler Phelps found a streaking Jalen Staples, who raced down the five-yard line, Davidson was in business again and it was Dugger punching it in from one yard out to give the home team a 17-10 lead late in the half. As was the pattern for the rest of the first half, San Diego got a big pass to help them tie the game up with Michael Bandy weaving through a swath of Davidson defenders on his way to the end zone and setting up the halftime score of 17-17.

San Diego started the second half determined to set the tone for how the rest of the game was going to be played. Moving swiftly down the field, Reid Sinnett guided the Torero offense seventy-five yards in four minutes with Michael Bandy scoring his second touchdown of the day on a four-yard catch in the end zone. Looking to respond, Davidson went back to the ground game, making it all the way to the San Diego 15-yard line before turning it over on downs. Sensing a chance to seize permanent momentum, the visiting Toreros did just that as sophomore tight end Dalton Kincaid went seventy yards down the left sideline to open up a two-score lead for San Diego.

The fourth quarter played out much the way of the third quarter as Davidson drove deep into Torero territory, but was turned back in a turnover on downs. San Diego put the final exclamation point on the game with Reid Sinnett’s fifth touchdown pass of the day and the game final of 37-17.

“Our effort was great; we just have to play cleaner,” Davidson head coach Scott Abell stated after the game. “We had two big momentum shifts where we came up short. Ultimately, we’d like to have at least one of those go our way…hopefully, we’ll learn from this and be that type of team like San Diego is.”

Next Week
Both teams are in Pioneer League action next week as Davidson (4-2, 1-1) travels to Jacksonville while San Diego (3-2, 2-0) hosts Valparaiso.






NC State Rides Dominating Defense to First Conference Win

RALEIGH – It was the beginning of fall break for NC State students, but the NC State defense didn’t get the memo according to their performance on Thursday night against Syracuse. A Wolfpack defense that was only allowing 71.8 yards rushing yards a game coming into this week’s matchup kept up their stingy ways, allowing only 41 yards on the night, including -5 in the first half, on the way to a 16-10 win over the visiting Orange in ACC primetime action.

Both teams came into the game with identical 3-2 records and looking for their first conference win. Being Atlantic Division rivals certainly added to the vibe of the game as these teams were facing off and the Wolfpack were looking for payback from a 51-41 Orange win in a shootout last season. A shootout was the opposite of how the game played out in the first half for the two teams, though, as they combined for six points over the first 28 minutes of play and only twenty-six overall.

The Wolfpack defense was stifling throughout the first half, but the State offense was unable to put enough distance between the two teams, settling for two Christopher Dunn field goals as the only points in the first quarter. NC State only reached the red zone once before getting possession back with two minutes left in the first half, but Coach Dave Doeren wanted to see his offense find some momentum before going into the locker room. Utilizing a little “trickeration”, Thayer Thomas found a wide-open Trent Pennix on a double pass and NC State opened took a 13-0 lead into the locker room.

The third quarter played out much the same way as the majority of the first half with NC State’s defense smothering the Syracuse offense and the Wolfpack offense sputtering and only seeing points with a Christopher Dunn field goal. The North Davidson product is now 13 of 16 on the season on field goals and a perfect 18 of 18 on extra points.

Syracuse finally got on the board with a field goal at the end of the third quarter but the Orange were unable to find any offensive momentum until late in the second half. A last gasp attempt to find the end zone was successful with three minutes left in the game as a series of defensive penalties, including a pass interference call in the end zone, gave the visitors a first-and-goal from the three-yard line. Tommy DeVito's pass to Trishton Jackson made it a six-point game and the Orange even had a chance to steal the victory at the end, but the clock was too much for the visitors to overcome.

On the offensive side of the ball, Emeka Emezie was targeted nine times and hauled in five passes for 77 yards. Zonovan “Bam” Knight led all Wolfpack rushers with 61 yards on fifteen carries. Defensively, Louis Acceus was all over the field for the home team, leading the team with fourteen tackles, including three sacks. The Pack finished with eight sacks on the night and routinely had Syracuse on their toes.

Notable North Carolinians
Christopher Dunn (North Davidson) – the sophomore place kicker was 3-3 on field goals on the night, accounting for 10 of the Wolfpack’s 16 points
Thayer Thomas (Heritage) – the redshirt sophomore caught two passes for 35 yards and threw for a score in the first half.
Moe Neal (Forestview) – on a night with litter offensive output by the entire team, the senior from Gastonia led his team in rushing yards and receptions.

Next Week
The Wolfpack (4-2, 1-1) travel to take on Boston College next Saturday for a third straight Atlantic Division showdown while Syracuse (3-3, 0-2) host Coastal Division foe Pitt on a Friday night.