Putting seeds aside, Asheville and Carver are the two best teams in the entire bracket and should meet in Asheville to determine the West representative in Winston-Salem. Both teams will have their fair share of challenges before the West Final.
After pushing over Southwest Guilford, Asheville will have to participate in what is growing into a huge mountain rivalry with All-American QB Jonathan Crompton and Tuscola. Sadly, Crompton is basically all that will give the Cougars a hard time.
Asheville will have to face yet another highly recruited player in Scout.com three-star WR Josh Briscoe in the third round. Briscoe is hoping to garner a Championship ring before heading to Tennessee, but that won't be the case. However, this game is on par with any Semi-Final or Championship game in the entire NCHSAA playoffs.
Carver will have an even difficult mountain to climb before they meet Asheville at the top. The Yellow Jackets will host arguably the toughest second round opponent in defending 3A Champions South Point.
After disposing of an inexperienced Red Raider squad, Caver will travel to Concord to attempt to dethrone the number one seeded Spiders. In an offensive match-up that includes QB Tommy Beecher and TB Shawn Moore, Concord's weakness on defense will prove to be what provides a Yellow Jacket win.
In a match-up that will put on display two of the states better rushing attacks, Carver versus Asheville will come down to defense and turnovers. Home field will serve as a slight edge, as Asheville earns an invite to Winston-Salem.
None of the teams located on the East could compete with any of the top five in the West, but that isn't going to stop them from trying.
Fike with Duke bound Re'quan Boyette leading the way is the odds on favorite to take the East. They should have a fairly easy path until they meet West Craven in the finals.
Before they host the Eagles, the Golden Demons will have to stomp on the Cinderella dreams of Nash Central (No. 9 seed), and White Oak (No. 13). Both these teams should upset opponents until the step foot in Wilson.
When Nash Central upsets Southern Wayne, it shouldn't be out of the ordinary as 8 seeds "upset" 9 seeds all the time. However, White Oak, a 13th seed I remind you, beating Kinston (No. 4) and Hertford (No. 5) will be pretty remarkable.
Regardless, Fike will be ready for each of those battles coming out of the third round unscathed.
West Craven will have a somewhat challenging road to Wilson, but be prepared for "Wilson Football" as the Eagles face Beddinfield and Fike – both from Wilson – in consecutive rounds.
In a close battle, rawness will put West Craven at a disadvantage, while home field and a rested roster will seal the deal for the Golden Demons.
In Winston-Salem, Asheville will be too much for Fike, resulting in a similar result of the Golden Demon's 2002 Title run – a 34-0 loss to Carver. Crezdon Butler will have an All-State performance catapulting the junior into his senior season with tons of recruiting interest.
Championship Game: Asheville 42 Fike 10
West Final: Asheville 38 Carver 35
East Final: Fike 17 West Craven 14
Sleeper Team: Burns
Top 5 Best Potential Match-ups:
Asheville vs. Carver
Asheville vs. Burns
Burns vs. Carver
West Craven vs. Fike
TIE Concord vs. Carver, Concord vs. South Point