ELKIN - Elkin and Starmount continue their journeys through their respective state playoff brackets tonight in round two.
The Buckin’ Elks (7-4) will host Rosman (6-5) in the second round, while the Rams (10-1) hit the road against undefeated East Lincoln (11-0) in Denver.
Top-seeded Elkin, coming off last Friday’s huge 44-6 opening-round win over Alleghany, welcome 5th-seeded Rosman to Grissom Stadium tonight.
Led by Jamiles “Chunky” Hayes, the Elks racked up 354 yards of total offense against the Trojans. Hayes reeled off four touchdown runs on the night while rushing for 157 yards on 23 carries.
But the defense was the story of the game for Elkin. The Elks held Alleghany to just 190 yards of total offense and six points in their strongest defensive game of the season.
Elkin forced three turnovers on the night, including an interception by Kody King.
That combination of a potent offense and an opportunistic defense could spell trouble for the Tigers, who escaped the first round with a 26-14 win over Thomas Jefferson Academy to advance.
Rosman, the 5th seed at 6-5 from the Smoky Mountain Conference, is averaging a hair over 27 points per game this year, but the Tiger defense is allowing close to 33 points per game.
The winner of the matchup advances to play the winner of an all-Smoky Mountain second-round meeting between third-seeded Murphy and No. 2 seed Robbinsville.
In Boonville, the Rams will hit the road in the second round.
Coming off last week’s 24-20 opening-round win over Carver, Starmount will head to Denver to take on unbeaten East Lincoln in a matchup of two of the top 2A programs in the state.
The Mustangs, ranked second in MaxPreps’ 2A rankings, boast the third-highest scoring offense in the classification at 44 points per game. The Rams, the 7th-ranked squad in the rankings, boast the state’s 3rd-ranked defense at six points per game.
Something will have to give.
Leading the Mustangs’ high-powered offense is quarterback Garrett Young. Young threw for 342 yards and five scores in East’s 49-0 first-round victory over Wheatmore last Friday and has nearly eclipsed 3,000 passing yards this season.
Young will go against a strong Ram D, powered by Zach Worley (106 tackles, nine tackles for loss), Michael Wood (87 tackles, 15 tackles for loss) and Will Lambert (team-high seven interceptions).
Offensively, Starmount will rely on its deep rushing attack against the Mustangs. Led by senior Chaston Martin (1,044 yards, 15 touchdowns), the Rams are averaging 293 yards on the ground per game, with eight players over 200 yards on the season.
Starmount and East Lincoln met in the opening round of the playoffs a year ago with the Rams pulling out the 21-13 victory to advance. Former Ram quarterback Christian Hurt was injured in that game.
Both games kick off at 7:30 p.m.
To download the full bracket, go to nchsaa.org.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or email@example.com.