Playoffs open with Bears and Cards at home, Eagles away
Jeff Linville Staff Reporter
Three local teams are in the state football playoffs, with Mount Airy and East Surry at home.
While the Bears and Cardinals are the favorites in their games, the Golden Eagles must travel nearly to Salisbury to play North Rowan.
With a 5-6 record, Surry Central was the fourth seed from the Western Piedmont Conference and was selected as the 15th seed in a 16-team pod for the 2A playoffs.
North Rowan is 11-0 and the second seed to Western Piedmont champion Carver (10-1), which hosts Lake Norman Charter (5-6).
In the same bracket, North Wilkes (9-2) is a third seed hosting Brevard (5-6), the 14th seed.
The Bears and Cardinals are competing in the 1AA playoffs and are the second and third seeds in their eight-team pod.
That means if both teams win tonight, then the squads will have a rematch of the season finale that Mount Airy won 34-13.
Mount Airy (8-3) went 5-0 in the Northwest Conference to earn a home game against East Montgomery (6-5), the seventh seed in the pod.
“They play in a conference with some good teams,” Coach Kelly Holder said of Eagles.
West Montgomery is 10-1 and averaged 50 points a game, but East slowed them down to 31 points, Holder pointed out.
“They are as athletic as all get out,” he said. “They have a couple of players that can hurt you.”
With the long distance from East Montgomery, Mount Airy doesn’t expect a large visiting crowd, but Holder is hopeful for a big home crowd.
Sometimes the Bears get an easy first-round opponent — like Central Academy at 1-10 a few years ago — but East Montgomery is tough, and Holder is looking for plenty of fan support.
East Surry (9-2) is the third seed, facing sixth-seeded Walkertown (8-3).
Walkertown started the season 6-0 and ranked in the top 10 in the state.
Then East Surry handed the Wolfpack its first loss, and Mount Airy and Bishop McGuinness added losses in the next three games.
Even though East won 28-21, Coach David Diamont knows the Wolfpack is tough. The Cards jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead then saw Walkertown outscore them 21-0 in the second half.
“Walkertown is one of the most athletic teams in our conference,” said Diamont. The team also has great size, he said, led by a beast of a defensive tackle.
James Transou stands 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds and is one of the best tackles around, the coach said.
Walkertown has 51 players on the roster and likes to platoon guys to keep them fresh, Diamont noted.
On offense, the Wolfpack likes to stretch teams out and create lanes for its mobile quarterback.
In order to get a second win against this quality team, Diamont said the Cards must move the chains and not have the turnovers that plagued them against Mount Airy.
“Whenever we have turnovers we have trouble,” he said.
As for a possible matchup with the Bears next week, Diamont said he just wanted to focus on surviving this game first.
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