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.

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 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.

Bahamas Bound! Charlotte Accepts Bid to Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl



The Charlotte 49ers, who rode a five-game win streak to bowl eligibility, have announced that they have accepted an invitation to compete in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl in the program's first-ever bowl appearance.
   
"We are extremely excited for our university, our team and our fans to accept an invitation to the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl," said 49ers Director of Athletics Mike Hill. "We couldn't imagine a better setting for our first-ever bowl game. This team has demonstrated incredible resilience and earned this opportunity. Niner Nation can't wait to head to the Bahamas!"
   
The 2019 Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl will be held Dec. 20 at 2:00 p.m. at 15,000-seat Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas. Charlotte (7-5) will face Buffalo, which went 7-5, this season, with a 5-3 mark in the Mid-American Conference. The Bulls have won five of their last six games.

Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium
(Photo Credit: Ben Solomon/ESPN Images)
Charlotte's school-record five-game win streak to close the regular season came in Conference USA play as Charlotte finished a school-best 5-3 in the league.
   
"We are ecstatic to accept an invitation to play in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl," said 49ers head coach Will Healy. "It means so much to me that this group, especially our outstanding seniors — our Gold Standard — will have a chance to play together one more time. To do it in paradise? We couldn't ask for anything more. Nothing will ever change the fact that this team was the first to go to a bowl game in Charlotte Football history. That's incredible, and I am so proud of everyone who worked so hard to make this a reality."
   
The 49ers powerful offense is led by versatile quarterback Chris Reynolds and 1,000-yard rusher Benny LeMay.  The 49ers defense is headlined by defensive end Alex Highsmith, the 49ers all-time sack king, and linebacker Jeff Gemmell, who recently recorded his program-best 300th career tackle.
   
"As proud as we are to be in this position after five consecutive wins, we aren't satisfied," Healy added. "We've been saying for weeks that our goal is to win a bowl game, not just to qualify for one. So we'll have to work hard in the coming weeks to prepare for an excellent Buffalo team. But we are so excited to have this challenge and an opportunity to share a bowl experience together."
   
Ticket information is available at the 49ers Bowl Central web page at Charlotte49ers.com. For those who placed deposits, the ticket office will send out communications with instructions to finalize payment. UNC Charlotte students can purchase bowl tickets online or by coming to the Halton Arena Ticket Office during regular office hours. Fans wishing to purchase rooms at the host resort for the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl, the Atlantis Bahamas, can do so by clicking the Bowl Travel tab at MakersWantedBahamasBowl.com.
   
A reminder that all U.S. citizens who wish to attend the game must have a valid U.S. Passport to enter the Bahamas.

Current #NCCFB Postseason Outlook

One team won a bowl game while another secured bowl eligibility for the first time ever after this week's North Carolina college football action. Three FBS teams will go bowling this year and another will need a win over an in-state opponent to join them.

Won a Bowl Game…
Brevard (8-2) – The Division III Tornados won the Scotty Whitelaw Bowl in Pittsburgh against Carnegie Mellon, 42-28.

Going Bowling…
Appalachian State (11-1) – will host Louisiana for the Sun Belt Conference Championship game, winner goes to the New Orleans Bowl (CUSA). Sun Belt bowl tie-ins: LendingTree Bowl (MAC), Camellia Bowl (MAC), Cure Bowl (AAC), Arizona Bowl (Mountain West). The top-ranked Group of Five team (AAC, CUSA, MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt) goes to the Cotton Bowl. The Mountaineers are currently ranked 21st, fourth-highest among G5 teams behind Memphis (16th), Boise State (19th), and Cincinnati (20th).

Wake Forest (8-4) – finished the regular season in a three-way tie for third in the ACC Atlantic Division. Current ACC bowl tie-ins: Orange Bowl, Camping World Bowl (Big 12), Music City or Gator Bowl (SEC), Belk Bowl (SEC), Hyundai Sun (Pac-12, New Era Pinstripe Bowl (Big Ten), Military Bowl (AAC), Independence Bowl (SEC), Quick Lane Bowl (Big Ten)

Charlotte (7-5) – accepted a bid to the Bahamas Bowl and will face Buffalo (7-5) out of the MAC. Charlotte will be making their first appearance in a bowl game in program history.

North Carolina (6-6) – The Tar Heels became bowl eligible with a 42-10 win over NC State this past Saturday. Current ACC bowl tie-ins: Orange Bowl, Camping World Bowl (Big 12), Music City or Gator Bowl (SEC), Belk Bowl (SEC), Hyundai Sun (Pac-12, New Era Pinstripe Bowl (Big Ten), Military Bowl (AAC), Independence Bowl (SEC), Quick Lane Bowl (Big Ten)

North Carolina A&T (8-3) – the Aggies secured a berth in the Celebration Bowl for the third straight year and fourth time overall in the bowl’s five-year history. NC A&T won the Celebration bowl in 2015, 2017, and 2018.

In the Playoffs…
Lenoir Rhyne (13-0) – won against SAC rival Carson-Newman, 36-7, in the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs and will host West Florida in the third round this Saturday.

Staying Home During Bowl Season…
Duke (5-7)
ECU (4-8)
NC State (4-8)

Season Over…
Wingate (10-2) – lost against West Florida, 38-17, in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.

Not in the Playoffs…
FCS – No North Carolina FCS teams qualified for the FCS playoffs this season for the first time since 2015.
Campbell (6-5)
Davidson (8-4)
Elon (5-6)
Gardner-Webb (3-9)
North Carolina Central (4-8)
Western Carolina (3-9)

Division II
Catawba (1-10)
Chowan (3-7)
Elizabeth City State (2-9)
Fayetteville State (8-2) – Broncos won the CIAA South and were defeated in the CIAA championship game.
Johnson C. Smith (4-6)
Livingstone (4-6)
Mars Hill (5-6)
St. Augustine’s (2-8)
Shaw (6-4)
Pembroke (4-7)
Winston-Salem State (4-6)

Division III
Greensboro (1-9)
Guilford (2-8)
Methodist (4-6)
NC Wesleyan (6-4)

UNC Bowl Eligible After 41-10 Drubbing of NC State

RALEIGH – Bowl eligibility was on the line for the North Carolina Tar Heels. Pride, and the ability to play spoiler to their biggest rival was on the line for the Wolfpack of NC State. Pride wasn’t enough as UNC’s sensational true freshman Sam Howell threw for 401 yards and three scores en route to a 41-10 win for the Tar Heels and a disappointing end for the 2019 season for the Wolfpack.

North Carolina got some good movement on the first drive of the game, but a big stop and forced fumble by Isaiah Moore forced the Tar Heel punt. The Wolfpack offense, who has been injury-plagued for most of the second half of the season, got their wheels moving after a big run by Jordan Houston got NC State into scoring range, allowing the Wolfpack to get on the scoreboard first with a 30-yard Christopher Dunn field goal.


The UNC offense gained plenty of yards through the air throughout the first half but had little to show for it. The Sam Howell to Dyami Brown connection was strong over the first quarter and a half with the two connecting for receptions of 45 and 33 yards. The second reception got UNC into the red zone where the Heels were forced to settle for a 20-yard Noah Ruggles field goal to knot the score at 3. Ruggles added a second field goal with four minutes left in the half to give North Carolina their first lead of the evening.

Payton Wilson came down with the tipped pass for the interception to give NC State another shot to get on the board before the half and this time the Wolfpack took full advantage. After converting on a fourth and short to extend the drive, Devin Leary hit a wide-open Tabari Hines for a 39-yard score and the home team was able to take a 10-6 lead into the locker room.

Needing something to spark his team, UNC freshman defensive back Don Chapman came down with a pick that gave his team favorable field position early in the second half. Javonte Williams did the rest, catching one pass for twenty-one yards and scampering into the end zone from twenty-nine yards out to give the visitors a 13-10 lead.

Williams added another third-quarter score to cap an eleven-play, seventy-one-yard drive to make it a ten-point UNC lead, but that wasn’t enough as he added a third touchdown late in the quarter, made possible by a Jeremiah Gemmel fumble recovery.

Just when it looked like it couldn’t possibly get any worse for the Wolfpack, UNC’s Trey Morrison stepped in front of an NC State pass and gave the Tar Heels the ball near midfield. The Sam Howell-Dyami Brown connection was reawakened and the duo connected for a fifty-two-yard score to give the visitors a twenty-four point lead going into the final fifteen minutes.

The last points of the night were scored by Dazz Newsome on a 13-yard pass to the back of the end zone, a pass which put Howell over the 400-yard mark for the first time in his collegiate career.

Notable North Carolinians
Javonte Williams (Wallace-Rose Hill) – the sophomore running back scored three touchdowns in the third quarter, breaking open the game for UNC.
Dyami Brown (West Mecklenburg) – the sophomore wide receiver broke free for 150 yards on six receptions, including one touchdown grab.
Payton Wilson (Orange) – redshirt freshman led the Wolfpack with ten tackles and had an interception in the second quarter which set up NC State’s lone first-half touchdown.
Chazz Surratt (East Lincoln) – the junior linebacker led the Tar Heels with ten tackles, including five solo, and a sack.

Noteworthy Notes
With the win, the Tar Heels now lead the series 67-36-6 and are bowl eligible for the first time since 2016.
Tonight’s UNC win breaks a three-game NC State winning streak.
Mack Brown has won six straight games against NC State over his two stints as head coach of the Tar Heels.

Next Week
NC State finishes the 2019 season with a record of 4-8 while North Carolina, at 6-6, will await their bowl matchup.

NC Regional Final Matchups Set



1A East
#2 North Edgecombe (10-3) vs. #4 Northampton (10-3)

1A West
#1 Robbinsville (13-0) vs. #3 Thomas Jefferson (12-1)

1AA East
#1 Tarboro (13-0) vs. #2 Edenton Holmes (12-0)

1AA West
#1 East Surry (13-0) vs. #2 Mitchell (12-1)

2A East
#1 Clinton (12-1) vs. #3 Northeastern (11-3)

2A West
#2 Reidsville (13-1) vs. #4 West Stokes (13-1)

2AA East
#1 Randleman (13-0) vs. #7 Salisbury (12-2)

2AA West
#1 Shelby (12-1) vs. #6 Burns (12-2)

3A East
#1 Southern Nash (14-0) vs. #3 Eastern Alamance (14-0)

3A West
#5 Charlotte Catholic (10-3) vs. #10 Kings Mountain (12-2)

3AA East
#1 Lee County (14-0) vs. #2 New Hanover (13-1)

3AA West
#1 Weddington (14-0) vs. #2 Watauga (13-1)

4A East
#4 Cardinal Gibbons (11-2) vs. #6 Scotland (12-2)

4A West
#1 Grimsley (12-1) vs. #2 East Forsyth (11-2)

4AA East
#1 Wake Forest (12-1) vs. #2 Leesville Road (12-0)

4AA West
#1 Richmond (13-0) vs. #10 Vance (11-2)