2021 Preseason All-Gridiron Team Announced

Carolina Gridiron is pleased to announce the 2021 preseason All-Gridiron team. Congratulations to each of the players chosen and best wishes for a successful 2021 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

Relive the unique experience that was the Spring 2021 North Carolina high school football state championships. Check back later this fall for more state championship news and updates.

UNC Drops Duke's Mayo Bowl to South Carolina

CHARLOTTE – The North Carolina Tar Heels fell to the South Carolina Gamecocks, 38-21, in the Duke's Mayo Bowl on Thursday afternoon in Bank of America Stadium.

Dakereon Joyner was a perfect 9 of 9 for 160 yards and a touchdown for South Carolina. The MVP of the game also added 64 yards on the ground. Jaheim Bell got the party started for the Gamecocks with two 60+ yard touchdowns in the first quarter. 

Sam Howell was 12 of 20 on the day for 205 yards and one touchdown. British Brooks led the Tar Heels on the ground with 72 yards and a score. Cedric Gray paced the Tar Heel defense with thirteen tackles and a sack. Cam'Ron Kelly and Power Echols also had double-digit tackles for UNC on the afternoon.

South Carolina improves its win total by five with the win in today's bowl. With the loss, North Carolina falls to 6-7 on the season. The Tar Heels will open the 2022 season against Florida A&M. 

2021-22 High School and College Head Football Coaching Changes

As of 12/27/2021, 9 NCHSAA schools and 4 NC colleges have made our Football Head Coaches changes lists.

Latest HS news: Glenwood Ferebee steps down from Julius Chambers, Brevard's Craig Pritchett leaves Blue Devils to take job at alma mater in Georgia, Mount Pleasant hires Carson's Daniel Crosby to replace retiring Mike Johns.

Latest college news: Winston-Salem State removes interim tag from Robert Massey, Duke hires Mike Elko to replace retiring David Cutcliffe, Elizabeth City State hires Marcus Hilliard.

CollegeOld CoachNew Coach
DukeDavid CutcliffeMike Elko
Elizabeth City StateAnthony JonesMarcus Hilliard
Johnson C. SmithKermit Blountvacant
Winston-Salem StateRobert MasseyRobert Massey (1)

SchoolOld CoachNew Coach
AveryMac Bryanvacant
BrevardCraig Pritchettvacant
CarsonDaniel Crosbyvacant
ChambersGlenwood Ferebeevacant
ManteoSport Sawyervacant
Mount PleasantMike JohnsDaniel Crosby
North BuncombeZach Shook (2)vacant
South IredellEric Reesvacant
Sun ValleyDrew HackettRyan Smith

(1) interim tag removed
(2) interim coach

App State "Zappe-d" By Western Kentucky in Boca Raton Bowl

BOCA RATON – Coming into the Boca Raton Bowl, App State knew they would have their hands full trying to slow down the air raid offense of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and their record-setting quarterback Bailey Zappe. The Hilltoppers and Zappe were as good as advertised offensively and throttled the Mountaineers for 639 yards in a 59-38 rout on Saturday afternoon at FAU Stadium.

Opening the game, Western Kentucky sought to impose its will on the App State defense and did so to the tune of an eight-play, seventy-four-yard drive with a one-yard scoring pass from Bailey Zappe to Jerreth Sterns opening the scoring for the day. After a turnover in the red zone ended App State's first drive of the day, a defensive stop gave the Mountaineers another chance to even the score late in the quarter and Malik Williams's thirty-six-yard touchdown pass from Chase Brice kicked off a fireworks-filled end of the first quarter.

On the next play of the game, Zappe and Mitchell Tinsley showed why they led Conference USA and the nation in passing offense with Tinsley taking a slant across the middle and racing seventy-five yards to the house to retake the lead, 14-7. The Mountaineers attacked quickly as well with Jalen Virgil's sixty-yard catch and run five plays later leaving the two teams tied at 14 going into the second quarter.

Although the second quarter did not contain the same explosive plays as the first, it was still a momentous quarter nonetheless. Each team traded field goals in what seemed to be big defensive stops for both squads. The two quarterbacks continued their race to see which arm would rule the day. App State's Chase Brice added another score in the quarter, a thirty-three-yard pass to Dashaun Davis, but the end of the second quarter belonged to Western Kentucky's Bailey Zappe. The graduate transfer from Houston Baptist continued his assault on the NCAA record books, breaking the single-season passing yards record and tying the single-season passing touchdowns record. He would go on to break the record in the second half.

App State looked to make it right in the second half, but a series of miscues started to put the game out of reach fairly quickly. A promising drive to open the half was lost to a turnover after a replay indicated a fumble on a run play at the fourteen-yard line. One snap later, Western Kentucky's Noah Whittington broke free for the eighty-six-yard score to give the Hilltoppers a two-score lead. Forcing a punt on the next App State drive, Zappe broke the passing touchdown record with a two-yard scoring pass midway through the third quarter on a drive that was extended by two App State penalties.

The Mountaineers refused to yield, though, and responded with their own one-play drive, a sixty-two-yard strike from Chase Brice to Christian Wells, but it was not enough to bridge the gap on the afternoon. Late in the quarter, the Mountaineers did find a reason to celebrate as Brice broke Armanti Edwards's App State twelve-year-ole program record for single-season passing yards. 

Camerun Peoples crossed the 100-yard rushing mark to lead the Mountaineers on the ground to go with Chase Brice's 317 yards through the air to lead the Mountaineers' offense. Kaiden Smith led the defense with ten tackles.

The loss was the first in program history for App State since the Mountaineers transitioned to FBS in 2013. App State finished the 2021 campaign with a record of 10-4, the third time in four seasons that the Mountaineers logged double-digit wins.

Cardinal Gibbons Wins Its First Football Title in Rain Soaked 4A Game With Julius Chambers

RALEIGH – The 4A state championship is routinely the highlight of state championship weekend in North Carolina. The largest schools in the state, battling it out for football supremacy, meet on the gridiron to decide who has bragging rights to claim themselves as the state's top team. On Saturday night, it was reigning two-time champion Julius Chambers taking on two-time state finalist Cardinal Gibbons. At the end of the night, Cardinal Gibbons was bridesmaid no more, celebrating a 4A state championship with its 14-2 win over Chambers in a rain-soaked matchup.

The Cougars and Crusaders had met earlier in the season, a 35-27 opening week win for Chambers, and the Crusaders were eager for revenge. Mother Nature made herself known during the game, bringing monsoon-like conditions throughout the first half.

In what would seem to be the absolute best timing of the evening, Gibbons got on the board first after a seven-play, seventy-yard drive ended with a thirty-four-yard pass from Connor Clark to Maverick Shotwell. Between the PAT and ensuing kickoff, a wave of heavy rain began to pour from the sky over Raleigh's Carter-Finley Stadium.

The rain caused each team to have trouble with ball-handling and offense the rest of the first half. A punt attempt by Gibbons was botched by a bad snap that went through the end zone to give Chambers their only points of the first half. By the half, it was clear that the team's game plans were going to have to be reworked. The two teams combined for 125 total yards and nine punts during the first half and hoped for better weather in the second half.

Both teams were a bit slow coming out of the half, trading punts, and playing for field position. Gibbons would be the only team to score in the third period as Connor Clark and Maverick Shotwell linked up for the second time of the evening, this one a seventy-three-yard strike to extend the Crusaders' lead to 14-2 going into the final stanza, a lead the team would take to the final whistle.

MVP – Maverick Shotwell - WR (Cardinal Gibbons)
Julius Chambers Def. MOP – Chris Chalk (DE)
Julius Chambers Off. MOP – Daylan Smothers (RB)
Cardinal Gibbons Off. MOP – Connor Clark (QB)
Cardinal Gibbons Def. MOP – Will Mason (CB)