All-Gridiron Team Returning in 2023

Carolina Gridiron names All-Gridiron teams each season. Congratulations to each of the players chosen and best wishes for a successful 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 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.

Championship Central

Check in with Carolina Gridiron as we bring you comprehensive coverage of the 2022 North Carolina high school state championships.

App State Season Ends in 2OT Heartbreaker


STATESBORO, GA — The highest-scoring game in App State-Georgia Southern series history was also one of the most dramatic with three second-half ties and eight total lead changes.

The final play, a 25-yard touchdown pass in the second overtime, gave the Eagles a 51-48 win in the regular-season finale on a rainy Saturday night at Paulson Stadium.

Nate Noel rushed 12 times for 171 yards and three touchdowns, including a 25-yard touchdown that helped tie the game in the first overtime, as the Mountaineers totaled 376 yards on the ground. After Michael Hughes hit the extra point and added a 33-yard field goal to cap App State's possession that opened the second overtime, Kyle Vantrease threw a second-and-10 pass to Ezrah Archie in the end zone for the game-winning points.

The Mountaineers (6-6, 3-5 Sun Belt) were attempting to improve to 3-0 against Georgia Southern (6-6, 3-5) under head coach Shawn Clark and win two straight games in Statesboro for just the second time. The highest-scoring game in series history, before Saturday, was App State's 37-36 road win in 2008, two years after the Mountaineers won an overtime game in Paulson Stadium.

App State went ahead 38-31 on Ahmani Marshall's 2-yard touchdown run with 13:03 left in the fourth quarter, and Vantrease's 3-yard touchdown run helped tie the game with 4:22 left. The Mountaineers moved downfield thanks to Noel's 33-yard reception to the Georgia Southern 35 and reached the 26 before a fourth-and-1 run was stopped for no gain with 1:40 left.

The Eagles had to punt from their own 32, and the Mountaineers took over at their 28 with 41 seconds left — and three timeouts remaining.

Noel's 12-yard run and Chase Brice's 45-yard pass to Christan Horn, who caught the ball at Georgia Southern's 30 before sprinting 15 yards down the right sideline, put the Mountaineers in potential scoring range. A rush of 3 yards to the 12 set up a 30-yard kick from the left hashmark with three seconds left, and the attempt started inside the left post before sailing just wide as regulation time expired.

In addition to another big game in Statesboro from Noel, Marshall rushed for 91 yards on 20 carries and Daetrich Harrington had 74 yards on nine attempts. Marshall and Harrington each scored one touchdown apiece.

Brice threw for 253 yards, Hughes made four field goals and App State's defense forced two turnovers. Andrew Parker made a team-high eight stops, followed by seven from true freshman Ethan Johnson.

App State settled for two early field goals from Hughes, including one after DeAndre Dingle-Prince recovered a first-possession fumble forced by Parker, and Noel scored touchdowns on second-quarter runs covering 51 and 12 yards.

Running left behind tackle Anderson Hardy and pulling guard Bucky Williams early in the second quarter, Noel easily ran through a last-ditch tackle attempt at the 31 and cruised into the end zone to help push the Mountaineers ahead 13-7. That 60-yard drive came after a three-and-out stop that followed Georgia Southern's defense making a goalline stand.

Georgia Southern responded with a nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, but App State answered back with its own 75-yard drive that included third-down conversions from Horn and Harrington.

A first-down completion to Kaedin Robinson set up another run into the left side of the end zone from Noel, who has rushed for 274 yards and four touchdowns on 25 carries in two career games at Paulson Stadium — he scored on a 70-yard run in the fourth quarter of App State's 2020 win in Statesboro.

The Mountaineers led 20-17 at halftime, added a short field goal early in the third quarter and fell behind 24-23 midway through the quarter. After that, App State took its first seven-point lead of the night by covering 75 yards on three straight big plays: Henry Pearson's weaving, 40-yard reception, Harrington's 31-yard run and Harrington's 4-yard touchdown run. A two-point pass to Noel extended the lead after the Mountaineers had held leads of 13-7, 20-14 and 23-17.

Georgia Southern tied the game with an eight-play, 75-yard drive, but App State moved ahead 38-31 on a nine-play, 75-yard march in which the only non-Marshall run was an 18-yard completion to Robinson. Marshall's eight carries for 57 yards included his 2-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.

Logan Doublin intercepted a deep throw at App State's 30 and returned the ball 19 yards to end Georgia Southern's next drive, but the teams traded punts over the next few minutes, with the Mountaineers' defense forcing a three and out after they punted for the first time all night. After App State's second punt, the Eagles tied the game at 38-all with 4:22 remaining thanks to a five-play, 69-yard touchdown drive that began with two completions that covered 40 yards.

Vantrease threw for 385 yards and three touchdowns to lead Georgia Southern's offense, which rushed for just 102 yards.

Wingate Seals Trip to National Quarterfinals After 23-6 Road Win Over Benedict

COLUMBIA, SC – The 22nd-ranked Wingate University Bulldogs won their second road playoff game in as many weeks on Saturday afternoon, led by yet another strong defensive effort in a 23-6 victory at top-seeded seventh-ranked Benedict College in NCAA Division II second-round playoff football action. The Bulldogs improve to 11-2 overall and advance to next week's national quarterfinal, while the Tigers end their season at 11-1.

Wingate opened with an eight-play opening drive, but the field goal try missed wide left. The Tigers went three-and-out in their opening possession. Wingate's drive stalled, but Evans downed the punt at the Tigers' eight-yard line. Cook and Fleming teamed for a third-down sack on the ensuing possession and a 17-yard Simmons return on the punt set up Wingate deep in BC territory. Crocker found Simmons for the 27-yard TD on the first play of the drive to give Wingate a 7-0 lead. The teams traded punts for the remainder of the opening quarter.

Benedict hit a 47-yard pass play on their first play of the second quarter to get into the red zone. Mullen intercepted Eric Phoenix in the end zone to keep the Tigers scoreless. The Bulldogs then went on a seven-play, 85-yard drive. Wilson started it with a 29-yard run, while a seven-yard run set the Bulldogs up inside the Benedict 30. Crocker found Grant for a 27-yard touchdown to make it 14-0 with 9:29 to go. Benedict's ensuing drive went nine plays but was cut off by a Morrison interception deep in Wingate territory. After Wingate punted, a Cook sack backed up the Tigers to their own five-yard line. Spain blocked the punt, which resulted in a safety, as Wingate extended the lead to 16-0 with 2:09 left. The Tigers' field goal attempt at the end of the half was blocked by Cook to keep the shutout alive through 30 minutes of action.

Wingate WR Kamal Desor Scores the Touchdown
Photo Credit: Hugh Patton

The Tigers opened the second half with possession but immediately went three and out. Daniel Morrison started the possession with a five-yard TFL, followed by a Rhodes and Cook sack. Wingate drove the ball into BC territory, but a 48-yard field goal missed wide left. Benedict could not take advantage, however, going three and out yet again capped by a Horne and Fleming sack. The Bulldogs again drove the ball into Tiger territory but came up incomplete on a fourth and one. Benedict got on the board in their next drive, going 56 yards in nine plays, cashing in on a nine-yard pass from Phoenix to Elijah Watson. The extra point was no good, as the Tigers cut the deficit to 16-6 with 2:21 left in the quarter. Wingate's second play on their next drive was intercepted and a 38-yard return set BC up at the Wingate 35.

On a fourth and one from the Wingate 26-yard line, BC chose to go for it and tackled for no gain by Justin Rhodes, giving it back to the Bulldogs. The teams traded punts on their next two drives. Wingate took over at its own 24 with 11:47 remaining. Crocker hit Grant and Simmons to get it into Benedict territory. A 25-yard strike to Myles Dillon set the Bulldogs up in the red zone. Crocker hit Desor from 21 yards out to cap the 76-yard TD drive and make it 23-6. The Tigers responded, driving down to a first and goal at the Wingate five-yard line. Wingate pushed BC back one yard over the next four plays, turning the ball over back to their offense when a 4th and goal from the five-yard line came up short for the Tigers. The Bulldogs proceeded to run the clock and out, advancing to their first national quarterfinal appearance in program history.


UP NEXT

The Bulldogs travel to Pensacola, Fla. next Saturday. In its first trip ever to the national quarterfinals, Wingate will face #6 West Florida in the Super Region 2 championship game. The winner advances to the national semifinals. 

Fourth Round Scores and Regional Final Matchups

 


FOURTH ROUND SCORES

1A

EAST

Tarboro 45, Northampton 20

Rosewood 27, North Moore 7

WEST

Mount Airy 35, Eastern Randolph 17

Draughn 42, Andrews 21

 

2A

EAST

Wallace Rose Hill 48, Princeton 14

East Duplin 49, Whiteville 6

WEST

Reidsville 34, Maiden 0

Burns 49, Monroe 40

 

3A

EAST

Northern Nash 42, Triton 7

Seventy-First 38, Terry Sanford 13

WEST

East Lincoln 46, Kings Mountain 20

South Point 28, Eastern Guilford 25

 

4A

EAST

Millbrook 19, Hillside 14

New Bern 70, Rolesville 34

WEST

Grimsley 40, Hough 37 (3 OT)

Weddington 17, AC Reynolds 10



REGIONAL FINAL MATCHUPS

1A

EAST

Rosewood at Tarboro

WEST

Draughn at Mount Airy

 

2A

EAST

Wallace-Rose Hill at East Duplin

WEST

Burns at Reidsville

 

3A

EAST

Seventy-First at Northern Nash

WEST

South Point at East Lincoln

 

4A

EAST

Millbrook at New Bern

WEST

Weddington at Grimsley

Three NCCFB Teams Qualify for NCAA FCS Playoffs


Three North Carolina teams have qualified for the 2022 NCAA FCS Championship Playoffs.

Eleven teams automatically qualify for this year's playoffs via conference affiliation. An additional thirteen teams earned at-large bids selected by the FCS Playoff Committee. The complete 24-team bracket was announced at 12:30 on Sunday, November 20, on ESPNU. The FCS Playoffs will conclude with the national championship in Frisco, Texas on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023.

Gardner-Webb (6-5) secured their first-ever berth in the playoffs with a win over North Carolina A&T on Saturday afternoon, finishing a perfect 5-0 in conference play and securing their first Big South Conference title since 2003. The Runnin’ Bulldogs and head coach Tre Lamb will travel to take on Eastern Kentucky (7-4), representing the ASUN-WAC partnership.

Davidson (8-3) represents the Pioneer League after St. Thomas was declared ineligible for the playoffs. The Wildcats are making their third straight appearance in the FCS playoffs under coach Scott Abell. The Wildcats and Abell are looking for their first postseason tournament victory and will travel to take on Richmond (8-3) from the Colonial Athletic Association.

Elon (8-3), also from the Colonial Athletic Association, earned an at-large bid in this year’s playoff. The Phoenix, led by Tony Trisciani, are making their fourth overall appearance in the FCS playoffs and first since 2018. Coach Trisciani and the Elon squad will look to secure their first-ever FCS playoff win on the road at Furman from the Southern Conference.

 

Schedule – All games will take place on Saturday, November 26, and are televised on ESPN+.

Elon at Furman – 12pm

Davidson at Richmond – 2pm

Gardner-Webb at Eastern Kentucky – 5pm

 

A full bracket can be found here: https://www.ncaa.com/brackets/football/fcs/2022.