Rivalries to rule the night


Northern Nash's Bryce Miles looks for room to run Friday during the game against Wilson Fike at Northern Nash High School.


By Sports Staff

Friday, November 3, 2017

Eagles, Patriots are set to match up in a playoffs game, while the Gryphons and Knights till attempt to finish the regular-season strong.


Faith Christian (6-3) at RM Academy (10-0)

The matchup: The playoffs have arrived in eight-man football. Top-seeded Rocky Mount Academy hosts No. 4 Faith Christian with a state championship game berth on the line. The teams played at FCS on Sept. 29 in a game where RMA pulled away after halftime for a 30-6 win. The Eagles finished the regular season without a loss for the first time since 2014. FCS, meanwhile, posted a winning record in its first season as a program.

Past meetings: RMA leads, 1-0

Sideline report: The Eagles only real test has been against second-seeded Kinston Parrott, but they did have a little trouble with FCS. The first meeting was tight at halftime, RMA held a 12-6 lead, before the Eagles were able to hit on some big plays that FCS shut down in the first half. The key, for FCS, will be to keep RMA quarterback Isaiah Thomas from breaking off big run plays. FCS will have to string together a few extended drives to stay in this one.

Telegram prediction: RMA 36, FCS 12

Rocky Mount (3-6, 2-2) at Northern Nash (1-9, 1-3)

The matchup: Though three games under the .500 mark, Rocky Mount still has a path to the playoffs that would only open wider were they to beat a struggling Northern Nash team today. The Gryphons are coming off a 35-7 loss to Southern Nash last week, while Northern Nash hung with Wilson Fike for three quarters but ended up suffering a 10-point, 33-23 loss. This game may also be Knights coach Randy Raper’s last, with rumors that he’ll retire at the end of this season.

Past 5 meetings: RMH leads, 5-0.

Sideline report: Neither team is afraid to throw the ball, and both have passers (RMH’s Jaquan Lynch and NNH’s Davontae Wiggins) with over 1,100 yards this season. In last week’s loss, Wiggins threw for nearly 200 yards and connected on three touchdowns. The Gryphons also boast a rusher over 300 yards (Donomesion Brown) and two 200 yard rushers (Tashuan Lawrence and Charlie Williams III).

Telegram prediction: Northern Nash 35, Rocky Mount 34

N. Johnston (5-5, 1-3) at N. Central (8-2, 3-1)

The matchup: The playoff-bound Bulldogs have had quite the contrast in wins over the past two weeks. After a narrow seven-point victory against Wilson Beddingfield a couple of Friday’s ago, Nash Central left little to be decided in a 70-6 victory North Pitt last week. They play host to a North Johnston team looking to climb above .500 and build on a 3-2 record away from home.

Past 2 seasons: Nash Central 1, North Johnston 1

Sideline report: Nash Central’s Travis Griffin has amassed over 1,700 yards passing this season to go with 23 touchdown passes, but the rush game has been no slouch either. The Bulldogs’ ground game is led by Byron Hawkins (567 yards) McKinley Lyons (473 yards) and Kendall Winston (361 yards). Not far behind is Griffin with 357 yards of his own.

Telegram prediction: Nash Central 43, North Johnston 21

Franklinton (4-6, 1-3) at So. Nash (9-1, 4-0)

The matchup: The Firebirds are looking to close out a 3-A Big East Conference with a perfect 5-0 mark, while conference newcomer Franklinton is hoping to avoid finishing at the bottom of the standings. Southern Nash earned a dominant win over rival Rocky Mount High last week. Franklinton dropped a 15-14 decision at Wilson Hunt.

Past 5 meetings: N/‚ÄčA

Sideline report: Take away Southern Nash’s blowout loss to 4-A state champion favorite Wake Forest, and the Firebirds haven’t allowed more than one touchdown in any game since the opening week. Southern Nash hasn’t been pushed much all season, largely due to having the best rushing attack in the conference, and a defense to match. This is the Firebirds’ final tuneup before what could be a deep postseason run.

Telegram prediction: Southern Nash 42, Franklinton 14

R. South Creek (5-5, 3-2) at Tarboro

(10-0, 5-0)

The matchup: Tarboro is coming off a bye week in which it was able to rest for tonight’s regular-season finale. The Vikings already have clinched the Coastal Plains Conference title, and another bye week will follow next week in the first round of the NCHSAA state playoffs. Robersonville South Creek is part of a muddled mix of teams who could finish anywhere from second to fifth in the league standings depending on tonight’s outcomes.

Past 5 seasons: Tarboro, 4-0

Sideline report: Yes, the Vikings have easily won each of their 10 games, and tonight’s should be no different. The two teams were Tar Roanoke Conference opponents the past four seasons, and all of the outcomes were lopsided Tarboro victories. With one season goal already in the books, look for Tarboro to begin settling into an even deeper focus as November continues.

Telegram prediction: Tarboro 54, Robersonville South Creek 6

W. Bedd. (6-4, 3-1) at SW Edge. (9-1, 4-0)

The matchup: In a season full of one-sided games, SouthWest Edgecombe needs another victory. The Cougars can claim an outright Eastern Plains Conference title with a victory, and Wilson Beddingfield can earn a share if it pulls off the upset.

Past 5 meetings: SW Edgecombe leads, 4-1.

Sideline report: The Cougars’ offfense has many weapons, including running back Dashon Bandy. Bandy is third in the league in rushing (823) and tied for second in total points scored (72). SouthWest Edgecombe’s Alex Foster’s leads the way with 1,228 yards on an offense that averages 34 points per game.

Telegram prediction: SouthWest Edgecombe 28, Wilson Beddingfield 20

RM Prep (3-7, 1-4) at SE Halifax (6-4, 4-1)

The matchup: The Jaguars’ first season under coach Robert-Shaune Mitchell is nearing an end. The Jaguars could have a shot at earning a spot in the 1-A playoffs depending on how things settle with this weekend’s pairings release, but the squad is on a three-game losing streak and has not beaten an opponent of any quality this season.

Past 5 seasons: Southeast Halifax leads, 3-1

Sideline report: Southeast Halifax has dominated every team in the Tar Roanoke Conference except Northampton County, and the Trojans seem to be playing playing well heading into the playoffs.

Telegram prediction: Southeast Halifax 34, Rocky Mount Prep 14