2018 Preseason All-Gridiron Team Released

Carolina Gridiron is pleased to announce the 2018 preseason All-Gridiron team. Congratulations to each of the players chosen and best wishes for a successful 2018 season.

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.

Championship Central

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

"Defending National Champs" Coming to Greenville This Saturday

It’s Homecoming on the ECU campus as the Pirates welcome defending American Athletic Conference champion UCF to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Saturday. After falling to Houston last week to open a three-game homestand, ECU hopes to improve its AAC home record in October to 5-4 when it meets the Knights in Greenville for the 10th time in series history. The Pirates will also be looking to post their 13th-straight Homecoming victory when they battle UCF.

Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium
ECU’s all-time record at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is 187-100 (.652). The Pirates opened the facility on Sept. 21, 1963, with a 20-10 win over Brian Piccolo and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in front of 17,000 fans and celebrated the stadium’s 50th anniversary in 2013. Before a 2-5 record last year and 3-3 marks in both 2015 and 2016, ECU was 5-1 in 2014, 2013 and 2012 (15-3) and won a combined 10 of 12 home matchups in 2009 (6-1) and 2008 (4-1). Overall, ECU is in search of its 40th winning campaign at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium this fall.

The arrival of new defensive coordinator David Blackwell has quickly resulted in impressively improved numbers for the Pirates so far this season. When comparing total yards per game allowed from 2017 (541.7) to 2018 (351.2), ECU’s improvement clip of 201.5 yards per game ranks first nationally. Of the Pirates opponents’ 82 offensive possessions this year, ECU’s defense has forced “three & outs” on 36 occasions (43.9 percent and 6.0 per game).

Since joining the AAC in 2014, the Pirates lead the league in passing yards per game over a combined four-plus-year period despite utilizing seven starting quarterbacks, three offensive coordinators and two head coaches. Trevon Brown currently stands sixth among all active FBS receivers in reception yards per game (66.5 ypg), while also ranking 8th in yards (2,329), 14th in TD grabs (18) and 19th in catches (151). Additionally, his 2,329 receiving yards tops all American Athletic Conference pass catchers heading into the UCF tilt. Along with serving as an FBS-best last week, Brown’s 13 receptions vs. Houston also marked a single-game high for an AAC receiver this season (and 5th-highest nationally). Lastly, his 153 yards against the Cougars ranks fourth among league WRs in 2018.

Will App State Hold Another Opponent to Single Digits?

After opening Sun Belt play vs. West Division foes South Alabama and Arkansas State, App State plays Louisiana at home for the second year in a row. The Ragin’ Cajuns are the only West Division team to appear on the Mountaineers’ schedule every year since they joined the league in 2014. App State has a 4-0 lead in the series. It won 35-16 on the road in 2014, 28-7 at home in 2015, 24-0 on the road in 2016 and 63-14 at home on Senior Day at Kidd Brewer Stadium in 2017.

Kidd Brewer Stadium
App State is unofficially No. 29 in the AP Top 25 (with a program-best 51 voting points) and No. 31 in the Amway Coaches Poll (with a program-best 55 voting points). It has outscored its last four opponents 204-32, including 65-0 in the second half, and the Mountaineers are No. 1 nationally by averaging 6.4 defensive three-and-outs per game (32 in 69 total possessions). At 40-10 in its last 50 games, App State joins Alabama (47-3), Clemson (46-4), Ohio State (45-5), Oklahoma (41-9) and Wisconsin (40-10) as the only programs with 40 wins in the last 50 games.

App State is No. 4 nationally in scoring offense (48.4 points per game), No. 8 in scoring defense (15.4 points per game), No. 7 in yards allowed per game (288.2), No. 11 in offensive yards per game (496.8) and No. 1 in special teams touchdowns (four). It’s the only FBS team that ranks in the top 11 in scoring offense, scoring defense, total offense, and total defense. App State leads the Sun Belt in scoring offense, scoring defense, total offense, total defense, rushing offense, rushing defense, pass efficiency defense, kick returns, sacks against, opponent first downs, opponent third-down conversions and opponent fourth-down conversions.

App State has given up single-digit points in an FBS-best four straight games for the first time since 1998. That year, it won 31-6, 28-7, 51-0 and 19-0 vs. Wofford, Chattanooga, VMI and Eastern Kentucky. UAB has the nation’s second-longest streak with three straight games of giving up single-digit points. App State is averaging an FBS-best 6.4 defensive three-and-outs a game and is No. 2 at 46.4 percent (behind San Diego State’s 48.0). It limited Arkansas State to three conversions in 17 third-down tries.

With a game canceled by Hurricane Florence, App State is one of only four FBS teams to have played just five games — the others are NC State, North Carolina and Akron. Still, the Mountaineers are tied for the No. 5 spot nationally with 23 players who have contributed in the tackles for loss category. The breakdown features TFL contributions by 10 defensive linemen (App State’s regular rotation has nine linemen), seven linebackers and six defensive backs. The team leaders in TFLs are outside linebackers Akeem Davis-Gaither and Noel Cook with 3.5 apiece.

With 14 tackles apiece at Arkansas State, Akeem Davis-Gaither and Jordan Fehr share the Sun Belt lead for the highest single-game tackle total this season. With its “Legion of Boone” secondary, App State is third nationally with 63 INTs since the 2015 season began. Still coached by new defensive coordinator Bryan Brown, the corners had an FBS-high 30 picks from 2015-17, and junior Clifton Duck is tied for first with 11 INTs since the start of 2016.

App State is second nationally at eight straight games (after UCF’s 19) with at least 30 points. Quarterback Zac Thomas has had at least one rushing TD and one passing TD in every game this season. He’s scored on runs of 54 and 62 yards in the last two games and ranks in the top 10 nationally in QBR, rushing TDs by a QB, point responsibility per game and yards per pass attempt.

Jalin Moore suffered a season-ending injury last week, but App State has four other backs with a 100-yard game in their careers: Darrynton Evans (115 last week at Arkansas State), Marcus Williams Jr. (125 and 130 last year), D’Andre Hicks (150 this year) and Daetrich Harrington (118 last year). App State ranks No. 3 nationally at 6.49 yards per rush, behind Memphis (7.28) and Clemson (6.96). The Mountaineers are No. 7 in rushing yards per game (264.8) and tied for 13th in sacks allowed (six) thanks to Shawn Clark’s line, which has made the Joe Moore Award Mid-Season Honor Roll.

App State has an FBS-best four special teams TDs this season. Directed by assistant Stu Holt, the special teams have scored on Darrynton Evans’ 100-yard kickoff return at Penn State, Thomas Hennigan’s 59-yard punt return at Charlotte, Steven Jones’ end-zone recovery of his own blocked punt against Gardner-Webb and Clifton Duck’s 62-yard punt return against Gardner-Webb.  

Davidson Can Clinch Winning Season With Victory Over Marist

Davidson heads to Marist for a Pioneer Football League clash with the Red Foxes at Tenney Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 1:05 p.m. from Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The ‘Cats are 31-82 (.274) all-time in PFL play. Davidson’s lone win over Marist came on the road in 2010, 28-21. The two have played every season since 2008, Marist officially joined the PFL in 2009. The Red Foxes have scored 31 points in each of the last three games against Davidson.

A win for Davidson would secure a winning season for the first time since 2007, halt a 7-game losing skid to the Red Foxes dating back to 2011, be the first at Marist since 2010, be the sixth of the season, which hasn’t happened since the ‘Cats went 6-4 in 2007.

The Wildcats broke a pair of single-season rushing records against Morehead State for yards (2,597) and touchdowns (32). The previous highs of 2333 yards and 29 TDs were previously set in 1977 and 1993, respectively. Davidson is outscoring opponents 115-47 in the first quarter this season and 225-104 in the first half. Senior place kicker Michael Matthews is tied for second all-time in PAT’s in a season with 37. Junior defensive tackle Bryce Perry-Martin ranks first in the PFL in tackles for loss (9.5) and second in sacks (3.5). Perry-Martin made a career-high 13 stops against Morehead State including 3.5 TFL and a sack. Perry-Martin has recorded career-high tackles in back-to-back games (11 - Jax, 13 - Morehead) Dugger ranks fourth on the all-time rushing list with 1943 yards. He sits 848 yards behind Eric Ferguson for third. Davidson welcomed 32 members to the Class of 2022 and a sophomore transfer; 17 are listed on defense, 14 on offense and 2 special teamers.

The 2018 ‘Cats reset a pair of single-season rushing records last Saturday against Morehead State. Davidson rushed for 264 yards to break the single-season rushing yards mark, they sit at 2649 and counting. The 1977 had the previous mark at 2333. The 1993 Wildcats squad rushed for 29 TD’s, the 2018 squad have 32 and counting.

Davidson fell for the first time at home last week, dropping a hard-fought game to PFL foe Morehead State, 35-28. Junior running back James Story found the end zone twice, his second consecutive multi TD game and third straight with a score overall. Junior defensive tackle Bryce Perry-Martin had a career day, making 13 stops, 3.5 for loss and 1.0 sack. Junior tight end Hunter Louthan caught his only ball of the game for his fourth TD of the season. Sophomore running back Wesley Dugger rushed 21 times for 93 yards. 

49ers Wanting CUSA Win Over Middle Tennessee

Charlotte (3-3; C-USA: 2-1) heads to Middle Tennessee, Saturday to take on the Blue Raiders who have an identical 3-3 record; 2-1 in Conference USA. Charlotte is coming off a 40-14 victory over WKU in the 49ers Homecoming Game.

Charlotte exploded for three third-quarter TDs and 34 unanswered points en route to the Homecoming win. The 49ers set school records for most points and largest margin of victory in a Conference USA game. RB Benny LeMay put up 152 yards of total offense (121 rushing) and scored two TDs, backup QB Evan Shirreffs replaced injured Chris Reynolds and engineered the second-half outburst and LB Juwan Foggie had a team-high eight tackles and tied a school record with two INTs that translated into TDs for the 49ers.

Charlotte had 448 yards of total offense, its most since the opener vs. Fordham, while the defense held WKU to 256 yards, the fewest allowed this season. The C-USA leader in rushing defense held the Hilltoppers to 42 rushing yards and forced a season-high three turnovers, all of which came in WKU territory and led to TDs.

Versatile Jr. RB Benny LeMay is second in C-USA in rushing (89.2/gm) and third in all-purpose yards (117.0/gm). He has scored five rushing TDs, which rank third in C-USA. R-Fr. WR Victor Tucker leads C-USA rookies with 6.0 rec./gm and a 77.7 rec. avg.

The 49ers defense, which leads C-USA in rushing defense (92.2 rush yds allowed) and ranks third in total defense (329.8 yds/gm), is paced by several veterans, including 2017 leading tackler R-Jr. LB Jeff Gemmell (team-high 42 tackles; 3.0 TFL; 8 QBh) and preseason all-C-USA Jr. S Ben DeLuca (40 tkls). Sr. LB Juwan Foggie leads C-USA with 4 INTs.