Championship Central

The 2019 North Carolina High School Football Playoffs are here! Keep checking back for news, insight, and coverage of your favorite teams as they fight on towards the state championship games.

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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 helped put together the 2019 list.

2019 Preseason All-Gridiron Team Announced

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

App State Overcomes Sluggish Offensive Performance, Holds On for Second Win Over Power Five Opponent

COLUMBIA, SC – The Appalachian State Mountaineers had had two extra days to think about their first loss of the season to Sun Belt rival Georgia Southern. Two days to think about the “what-ifs” and how they could bounce back. A road to trip to face an SEC team wouldn’t seem to be the best way to recover for most teams, but Appalachian State isn’t most teams. Guided by a defense that only gave up 21 yards rushing for the night, the Mountaineers won their second game over a Power 5 team with a 20-9 victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday night at Williams-Brice Stadium.

The two teams mirrored each other on the first two drives of the game, getting deep into plus territory, converting fourth downs, and eventually settling for field goals. On South Carolina’s second drive, they moved the ball just as they had done on the first drive but were forced again to settle for a Parker White field goal. The Mountaineers offense was unable to match the Gamecock offense and was forced to punt. The defense stepped up when the offense could not, forcing a three-and-out on the next drive. The mirror effect came back into being as Appalachian State tied the game on a 47-yard Chandler Staton field goal.

The first half seemed destined to be a low-scoring affair, filled with a series of third down stops, punts, and field goals. That was until true freshman defensive back Nicholas Ross came down with a tipped pass and raced around the left side to the end zone, giving the Mountaineers a 13-6 lead going into the half. It was Ross’s first interception and touchdown in his short career and the visitors had a lead they would not give up for the rest of the evening.

Coming out of halftime, South Carolina tried desperately to turn the momentum their way and an Ernest Jones interception looked like it would give them that chance. But the Mountaineer defense held, and the Gamecocks were forced to settle for their third field goal of the game. On the ensuing kickoff, junior Jalen Virgil found a line of blockers and scampered fifty-seven yards to the South Carolina 39-yard line. Seven plays later, quarterback Zac Thomas hit pay dirt from one yard out and the visitors had opened up an eleven-point lead, a margin that carried into the final quarter.

South Carolina refused to quit, however, and finally got into the end zone with three minutes left in the game after Ryan Hilinski found Bryan Edwards on a quick pass. Edwards broke out of a Mountaineers defender’s arms and raced twenty-three yards to the end zone to cut the deficit to five, 20-15, after the failed two-point try. A snafu on the subsequent kickoff led to the Mountaineers starting their drive on their own four-yard line. Four plays later, Appalachian State was forced to punt and South Carolina had one last chance to find victory on the night. The Gamecocks made it all the way down to the nine-yard line, but a last-second pass to the corner of the end zone was incomplete and the Mountaineers celebrated with all of the Appalachian State faithful who made the three-hour trek south and turned Williams-Brice Stadium into Kidd Brewer South.

Notable North Carolinians
Jordan Fehr (Providence) – the senior linebacker amassed nine tackles and a sack on the night
Akeem Davis-Gaither (Thomasville) – the senior had four solo tackles and a sack on the evening

Noteworthy Notes
The Mountaineers were outgained 346-202 in total yardage on the night, but special teams were the key as the only offensive touchdown of the night was set up by a long kickoff return into South Carolina territory.

Next Week
Appalachian State (8-1) travels to Atlanta to take on Sun Belt rival Georgia State while South Carolina (4-6) takes on SEC West opponent Texas A&M in College Station.

#11 Kennesaw State Holds Off Campbell, 38-35

BUIES CREEK – No.-11 Kennesaw State scored 21 unanswered points around halftime and held on for a 38-35 win over Campbell Saturday at Barker-Lane Stadium.

Campbell (6-3, 3-1 Big South) twice cut the Owls (8-2, 3-1) advantage to three in the final period, but could not regain the lead.

Kennesaw backup quarterback Tommy Bryant came off the bench to run for 105 yards on 27 carries and add 91 more in the air on 5-of-7 completions in the Owls’ option attack.  Shaquil Terry had all five receptions for Kennesaw, good for 91 yards and two scores, while gaining 28 on the round on six attempts.

Campbell finished with a 386-343 advantage in total offense, and ran 71 plays to 61 for the visitors, but Kennesaw converted a pair of interceptions into 14 points in the second half.

Hajj-Malik Williams ran for 110 yards and threw for 233 more for the Camels, who have lost consecutive games for the first time this year.  Caleb Snead had 99 receiving yards on six catches.

Campbell WR Caleb Snead had 99 receiving yards on six catches
Photo Credit: Bennett Scarborough
Justice Galloway-Velazquez had 18 tackles and Dorian Jones 10 stops for Campbell.  Le’Vonte Larry led Kennesaw with eighth tackles.

The Camels led 21-10 with 1:57 led in the second quarter after Williams scored on a five-yard run.  However KSU drew with seven on Bryant’s 20-yard pass to Terry with just 30 seconds left in the second period.

Markeith Montgomery’s interception gave Kennesaw the ball at its own 20 with 10:53 left in the third, and the Owls drove 80 yards on 12 played to grab the lead on Bryant’s two-yard run.

On the next possession, Bryson Armstrong intercepted a tipped pass and returned it to the Camel 26.  Bryant then hit Terry on a 26-yard scoring pass to extend the margin to 31-21 with 2:33 left in the third.

Chris Cromartie recovered Bryant’s fumble on a hand off to set up the Camels at the KSU 34.  Williams connected with Snead on a 21-yard pass to set up Cameron Davis’ 3-yard run and trim the margin to 31-28 with 12:38 remaining.

Antavius Grier returned the ensuing kickoff 58 yards to the Campbell 37 and the Owls ran 5:38 off the clock before Bryant dove across from one yards out to again stretch the margin to 10 (38-28) with 6:51 remaining.

The Camels drove 74 yards to cut the gap to 38-35 on Williams’ 7-yard scoring pass to Snead with 3:01 to play.  However, Kennesaw was able to run out the clock to seal the win.

The Camels jumped in front with 5:04 left in the opening quarter on a two-yard run by Johnathan Hawkins.  Williams’ 20-yard run and a 33-yard completion to Jalen Kelsey set up Campbell with a first down on the two.

Nathan Robertson’s 43-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter cut the Campbell lead to 7-3.

Campbell answered with a 7-play, 79-yard drive capped by Williams’ nine-yard run to push the margin to 14-3.

However, the Owls responded with an 11-play drive to trim the margin to 14-10 on Bryant’s 8-yard rush with 6:27 to play in the half.

The Camels close out their home schedule next Saturday against Monmouth at 1:00 p.m. Kennesaw State travels to Hampton.

Story courtesy of Campbell Sports Information

Charlotte Wins Third Straight; Rallies at UTEP

EL PASO, Texas - R-So. QB Chris Reynolds threw for a school FBS record 354 yards, four shy of the overall record, and two touchdowns to lead the 49ers to a thrilling second-half comeback in their 28-21 victory over UTEP, Saturday in the Sun Bowl.

"The resiliency of our football team showed once again," said 49ers head coach Will Healy, whose 49ers improved to 5-5 overall and 3-3 in C-USA play. "We made some huge plays down the stretch.  Our defense pitched a shut out in the second half.  Crucial interception to end the game when they're driving and a lot of fun to celebrate with these guys because they've worked really, really hard at establishing a culture and at the day-to-day process it takes to be a special football program."

The win, Charlotte's third straight, is the 49ers first road win of the season. In two of those wins, Charlotte rallied from 14 points down in the second half.

Charlotte trailed 21-7 at the half but posted three scores in a dominant third quarter to tie the game at 21-21. The 49ers put up 192 yards of offense and scored 14 points while holding the Miners to just 19 yards and no points in the frame. So. K Jonathan Cruz kicked a pair of field goals in the third and Ishod Finger added a three-yard touchdown run to help Charlotte knot the score.

In the fourth quarter, DT Timmy Horne had a huge stop on fourth and one from the Charlotte four to stifle a potential go-ahead scoring drive for the Miners in the fourth quarter.

"Our defense did that in the entire second half," Healy said. "That's a big play.  Fourth and one and they're going in to score and we're able to get some penetration and get a huge stop on fourth and one.  Big momentum shift there. Really proud of the way our defense played in the second half."

Charlotte followed that stop with the game-winning 95-yard drive, capped by Reynolds 18-yard TD pass to Jacob Hunt. UTEP's final drive was clipped by Henry Segura's interception with 1:03 to play at the Charlotte 16-yard line.

"It goes to speak of our fight," said Reynolds. "Our defense played incredible today.  We didn't control the controllables in the first half and made some mistakes but we turned the switch in the second half. This team doesn't quit."

Reynolds also threw a TD pass to Tyler Ringwood in the first half. He finished the day with 445 yards of total offense (354 passing; 91 rushing) to break his own school record for total offense.

UTEP scored a pair of first-quarter TDs on its first two drives and added one with 42 seconds left in the first half to take a 21-7 lead into the break. Charlotte shut them out in the second half, however.  Charlotte had 483 yards of total offense while UTEP finished with 389 (262 in the first half). R-Sr. Jeff Gemmell led the 49ers defensive efforts with 10 tackles, a blocked pass, and a forced fumble.

Up Next
Charlotte will head into its second bye week of the year before hosting Marshall, Nov. 23 at 3:30 (Stadium).

Story courtesy of Charlotte Sports Information

Wesley Dugger Becomes Davidson's All-Time Leading Rusher in Win Over Butler, 52-10

INDIANAPOLIS – Junior running back Wesley Dugger became the program’s all-time leading rusher as Davidson downed Butler at the Bud and Jackie Sellick Bowl Saturday in Pioneer Football League road action, 52-10.

Entering the day trailing the record by a mere 37 yards, Dugger used a second-quarter, 18-yard scamper to vault himself on top of an impressive historical mark. The Henrico, Va., native moved ahead of John Leverett who last raised the bar to 3,165 yards in 2004.

Adding to the historical significance of Dugger’s first-half production, Davidson scored 33 unanswered in the second quarter, spreading the five touchdowns out between different Wildcats. Davidson outgained the Bulldogs 269-124 including a 255-yard ground assault.

Dugger scored his 17th of the season, while seniors Jorell Story and Keylan Brown and sophomore Eli Turner Jr. rushed for one apiece. Junior quarterback Tyler Phelps also connected with Jackson Sherrard on a 14-yard touchdown toss.

Following a long and productive opening drive from the Butler offense, the Davidson defense held their own. Junior cornerback Jaylon Bolden made a spectacular interception of Bulldog quarterback Nick Orlando and had a shot at another later in the frame. Sophomore’s Jordan Reed and Chibuike Odo made first-half sacks as Davidson pressured well early.

With a healthy scoreboard advantage in the second half, head coach Scott Abell was able to utilize a bunch of young ‘Cats. Freshmen Jayden Waddell hauled in a beautiful ball from junior Louis Colosimo and turned on the jets for a 69-yard touchdown. Classmate Kenny Collins also found the end zone late in the contest, a 13-yard scoring scamper for the California kid.

Dugger finished with 118 yards on 24 carries and the pair of scores. Story had another strong day on the ground, tallying 89 yards to go along with his touchdown.

The Wildcats finished with 549 total yards, 458 of those from the backfield.

Senior cornerback Rayshawn McCall led a balanced defensive effort with seven total stops, four of them solo efforts. Junior safety Sean Holton played strong in a reserve role, recording five tackles including a tackle for loss.

Davidson hits the road for the final time Saturday, Nov. 16 when they travel to DeLand, Fla. For a PFL clash with Stetson. Kick off from Spec Martin Memorial Stadium is slated for 12 p.m.

Other Notables
Dugger finished the day with 3,247 yards … Adding two to his total today, he now sits one touchdown shy of tying the PFL rushing touchdown record.

Story courtesy of Davidson Sports Information