The final week of regular season football has arrived, and for some teams, it’s the final chance to earn a playoff berth, and for others, it’s a chance to make program history.
For all intents and purposes, Elkin (1-9) hits the road to Ashe County Friday night, and with only one win thus far this season, it can’t afford a loss. Obviously, no team wants to go out and lose, but the urgency to win has to be there now more than ever this season. The last time Elkin won only one game in the regular season, it found itself on the outside looking in when it came to the playoffs. Ashe County has skidded as of late with back-to-back losses after starting the season as one of the favorites to win the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference. Now, the team has got a first round home game on the line. Elkin enters the weekend on the bubble in 64th in 1A ranking, with playoff hopes hanging in the balance.
East Wilkes (10-0) has the opportunity to make program history. If the Cardinals are able to beat West Wilkes, it will be the first time that the Cardinals have finished the regular season undefeated. They didn’t get to 10-0 by sitting on their heels, as in the past two weeks, they’ve made gutsy calls and come back from double-digit deficits in back-to-back weeks against Ashe County and Wilkes Central. With last week’s win against Wilkes Central, they clinched the outright Mountain Valley Athletic Conference Championship, and they want more. In 1A play, they enter this weekend ranked 13th in North Carolina, according to MaxPreps. A win could move them up to a low two-seed or three, and keep their games in Ronda for a while if they keep winning.
Starmount (6-4) is the only home game of the weekend of the four schools. Ranked 24th in 1A, so whether they win or lose, they’re probably hosting the first round game, but there is a tremendous advantage to entering as a five-seed over a six, and they get to play Alleghany at home Friday night.
Forbush (5-5) travels to North Surry desperate for a win. According to MaxPreps, they’re ranked 82nd in 2A play, putting them out of the tournament. A win will definitely move them up in the rankings, and in addition, of the 18 teams ahead of them in the rankings have either the same or worse record as Forbush.
Elkin needs a win, but I think that Ashe has too many weapons to drop a third-straight game. 47-6 Ashe.
East Wilkes wants history bad, but it also has to think big picture against West Wilkes. If the Cardinals jump out to a big lead by halftime, it’ll all be according to play. 48-13 East Wilkes.
Starmount might have lost to East Wilkes two weeks ago, but the Rams looked strong. If they can duplicate the physical play from that game, and combine it with their performance against Ashe County, this game isn’t even close. Alleghany’s strength is on the run this year, but I think Coach Scott Johnson can outsmart the young offensive line. 51-0 Starmount over Alleghany.
Forbush needs complete mental focus all 80 minutes, or possibly more against North Surry. After beating Surry Central last week, if the Falcons beat North Surry, they will have the same record as North Surry, but with it, the tiebreaker. That could be huge when deciding who’s in and who’s out. Forbush edges North Surry 34-28 in overtime.
Ryan DeCosta can be reached at 336-258-4052 or via Twitter @rsdecosta.