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Tarboro, Southern Nash set for third-round action

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Southern Nash’s Zonovan "bam" Knight, right, drives past Eastern Alamance Friday at Southern Nash in Bailey.

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By PATRICK MASON
Sports Writer

Friday, November 24, 2017

1-AA

West Montgomery (11-2) at Tarboro (12-0)

The matchup: A pair of top-notch defenses will meet in tonight’s third round. West Montgomery has not allowed a point this postseason over the first two weeks, giving its defense a total of five shutouts this season. Tarboro, meanwhile, has recorded six shutouts this season, and held Williamston Riverside to a lone touchdown last week. Both offenses will have to take advantage of any opportunities, because the defenses haven’t made many mistakes to this point.

Scouting report: West Montgomery enters with an 11-2 record, which means the Warriors have the best win-loss margin of any team on Tarboro’s schedule. The fifth-seeded Warriors breezed through the first two rounds, winning both games by more than 40 points. West Montgomery running back Damon Rhone Jr. has rushed for 2,183 yards and 30 touchdowns. Jataviun Leake has gained 1,343 rushing yards with 19 touchdowns.

Last season: West Montgomery advanced to the 1-AA state title game last season where it lost to Wallace-Rose Hill. Tarboro was knocked out of the 1-AA playoffs by Wallace-Rose Hill in the regional finals.

Telegram prediction: Tarboro 34, West Montgomery 24

3-A

Southern Nash (12-1) at Havelock (12-1)

The matchup: Second-seeded Havelock won both of its first two playoff games by a score of 56-7, following a trend of blowout wins this season. Havelock’s lone loss came in Week 3 against Wallace-Rose Hill, last season’s 1-AA state champion. No. 3 Southern Nash has similarly enjoyed two playoff wins by a large margin, including last week’s 62-20 win.

Scouting report: Southern Nash boasts a dominant rushing attack charged by Zonovan Knight (1,712 yard and 23 touchdowns) and Kendrick Bell (1,350 and 25 scores). The Firebirds defense will have a tough task in keeping a lid on the Havelock passing game. Rams quarterback Zach Sabdo has thrown for 3,459 yards and 40 touchdowns. Sabdo has thrown just five interceptions in 321 attempts. The Rams don’t have a 1,000-yard rusher, but do have a pair of back with 800 in Cameron Hutchinson (898) and Khalil Barrett (864).

Last season: Havelock was eliminated at home in the 3-A East Regional final in overtime by Rocky Mount High. Southern Nash lost to Rocky Mount High in the second round.

Telegram prediction: Havelock 33, Southern Nash 28

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