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Shields: State playoff picture clear for area teams

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By Malcolm Shields
Sports Editor

Monday, October 30, 2017

And just like that, we have reached the final week of the high school football regular season.

With a week to go, most area teams will conclude their regular season against a rival.

Northeastern is at Pasquotank, John A. Holmes hosts Perquimans and Currituck goes to First Flight.

The state playoffs are also on the horizon.

Northeastern and John A. Holmes have clinched conference championships, while Currituck is in the chase for a playoff berth.

Here are some of my thoughts on area high school football:

NHS and Edenton rolling: Throughout the season, both the Eagles (10-0, 4-0 Northeastern Coastal) and Aces (9-1, 4-0 Albemarle Athletic) have taken care of business.

In conference play, both are undefeated and have scored more than 40 points per game in league play.

With both securing spots into the state playoffs, it will be exciting to watch how these teams will perform the next few weeks in the postseason.

Area Ranking: No. 6 Camden, No. 5 Pasquotank, No. 4 Perquimans, No. 3 Currituck, No. 2 John A. Holmes, No. 1 Northeastern.

ADM day: This week, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association will release the Average Daily Membership (ADM) numbers for schools.

The student population numbers will determine if playoff-eligible teams will be in the AA (big) or A (small) bracket for the state playoffs, which begin on Nov. 10.

Based off of published predictions from media outlets in the state, John A. Holmes is expected to have a high seed and earn a bye into the second round of the 1AA state playoffs in the east, while Northeastern will earn a high seed in the 2A state playoffs in the east.

Currituck has a lot to play for this Friday night.

The Knights (4-6, 2-2 Northeastern Coastal Conference) are tied for second place in the conference with Bertie, First Flight and Hertford County with 2-2 marks in the league.

Currituck has the chance to finish second in the league and earn one of the two automatic bids from the conference into the state playoffs in the east.

NHS secured one bid from the conference by winning the league crown by topping the Nighthawks.

If Currituck defeats rival First Flight at Kill Devil Hills this Friday along with Bertie beating Hertford County on Friday, the Knights will finish the season in second place in the conference and will earn a bid likely into the 2AA state playoffs.

The Knights hold the tiebreaker against Bertie with their win against the Falcons at home last Friday in overtime, but Hertford County holds the tiebreaker edge over Currituck.

The Bears beat the Knights on Oct. 20 in Ahoskie.

Hertford County was in the 2AA state playoffs last season and could be in either AA or A this fall.

Based off of last season’s ADM numbers, Currituck was the largest school in Class 2A and is expected to have one of the highest student populations in Class 2A this fall.

A playoff berth for Currituck would break a three-season postseason drought for the Knights, but more importantly, make me eat crow for picking the team to finish last in the league before the season.

It is crow that I will gladly eat.

Regardless of the result against the Nighthawks, hats off to Currituck coach John Wheeler and his staff for working with a fairly young roster this season.

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