BOONVILLE — After the dust settled on a tough opening round of the state playoffs for area football teams, Starmount was the lone team still standing.
The Rams scored 42-unanswered points to cruise past Mitchell, 42-7, to advance into the second round for the third-straight season.
Second-seeded Starmount (9-3) now turns its attention to No. 3 Cherryville (6-6).
The Ironmen captured the 1A Southern Piedmont Conference title during the regular season before knocking off league foe Highland Tech 42-13 in the first round to advance.
Both squads come into the contest riding long win streaks, with Cherryville winning its last five games and Starmount victorious in its last four. The Rams have out-scored their last four opponents 152-27 since losing to North Wilkes on Oct. 18.
Senior Will Simpson will look to pace Starmount’s once again coming off a three-touchdown performance in the playoff opener last week. Simpson sits just 133 rushing yards shy of 1,000 for the season coming into the game with 16 total touchdowns.
Six more players have rushed more than 240 yards this season for the Rams, who are averaging 271.2 rushing yards per game heading into the second round: Aaron Skeens (479 yards, 3 TDs), Joe Walker (401 yards, 3 TDs), Zach Freed (380 yards, 6 TDs), John Johnson (333 yards, 5 TDs), Trey Bryant (259 yards, 3 TDs) and Kyle Matthews (242 yards, 1 TD).
Tonight’s meeting is the second between Starmount and Cherryville with the Rams knocking off the Ironmen 49-7 in the first round of the 202 playoffs.
In other local playofff action: co-MVAC champion North Wilkes advanced to the second round of the 2A playoffs for the first time in school history with a last-second 31-28 victory over Brevard last week. The Vikings host Shelby tonight in Hays.
After ending Elkin’s season with a 28-7 triumph in the first round last week, Alleghany heads to top-seeded Murphy tonight in the second round.
In perhaps the game of the year in the area, Northwest Conference rivals East Surry and Mount Airy square off for the second time this season in Mount Airy. The Granite Bears knocked off the Cards 34-13 two weeks ago to capture the conference crown.
Top-ranked and Western Piedmont Conference champion Carver hosts Lincolnton in Winston-Salem.
West Stokes heads to No. 2 seed Monroe after topping East Davidson last week in the first round.
All games kick off at 7:30 p.m. at the higher-seeded school.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.