2Butler (4A): The Bulldogs were embar- rassed by Mallard Creek in the regional
finals last year, but a more experienced 2014
squad could have what it takes to return to the
3Scotland (4A): Coach Richard Bailey’s Fighting Scots seemed to be on cruise
control last year until they ran into Dudley in the
state finals. Expect Scotland to have the last
laugh in 2014 as they’ve got the most complete
4A team in the state.
4Havelock (3A): The Rams are looking to win their fourth-straight state championship and oddsmakers like their chances.
Coach Jim Bob Bryant has found the magic
formula for success and the Rams are executing that plan to perfection as they ride a 30-
game winning streak.
5East Forsyth (4A): Head coach Todd Wil- lert’s Eagles were nearly perfect in 2012
before losing to Butler in the playoffs. Injuries
hurt their chances last year but East Forsyth returns nearly all of its key contributors and looks
poised to make a run at the 4-AA crown.
6Crest (3A): Mark Barnes was so close to his first state championship last season before having it ripped away in the final seconds
at the hands of Southern Durham. Crest is the
total package this year and is the hands-down
favorite to advance to the 3-AA title game.
7Rocky River (4A): Rocky River is a pro- gram on the rise and has established itself
as a championship contender. Depending on
ADM numbers, the Ravens could be on a crash-
course to face Scotland in the 4-A title game.
8Hillside (4A): Antonio King has done a tremendous job at Durham Hillside. He’s
already claimed one state title and sent count-
less players to BCS schools, but 2014 should
once again be a banner year for the Hornets.
9Independence (4A): One of the most recognizable programs in the region, the
Patriots look to regain past glory but will do so
in one of the toughest conferences in the state.
10J.H. Rose (4A): One of the most domi- nate 4A teams during the early 2000s,
the Rampants saw a resurgence in 2013 and
that climb should continue as this is clearly one
of the best teams we’ll see in the 4-A bracket.
11Providence (4A): Year No. 2 under Justin Hardin could be special for the Panthers.
They saw significant improvement as the 2013
season progressed and they should win their
conference and make a deep playoff run this fall.
12Richmond (4A): The Raiders are one of those teams you can never count
out. While coach Paul Hoggard’s squad is very
young, Richmond is loaded with speed and
plays a very physical brand of football.
13 Southern Durham (3A): The Spartans are coming off of their first state championship and they’ve got the speed and talent
to do it again. New coach Darius Robinson
looks to repeat, but the 3-AA bracket is among
the most competitive in the state.
14Dudley (4A): Gone are stars like Chris Register and Emmanuel Mosley, but
Dudley head coach Steve Davis knows what it
takes to win and the Panthers will work hard to
defend their 2013 4-A title.
15West Forsyth (4A): The Titans were a surprise 4-AA contender last year, but they
won’t surprise anyone this season as they return
quarterback Darion Slade. The junior signal caller
may be one of the best athletes in the state.
16Wake Forest (4A): After a disappoint- ing loss in the 4-AA championship
game, head coach Reggie Lucas looks to make
another state title run. This team is loaded with
speed and experience and the Cougars will
once again be a force in the 4-AA playoffs.
17 Hough (4A): A team on the rise, Hough will try and build on recent success but
they’ll do so with a new coach. Miles Aldridge
comes in from South Carolina and will help the
Huskies advance to the next level.
18 Middle Creek (4A): This will be one of the most exciting teams in the state and
one you can’t turn your back on. They return a
lot of starters and could be the East represen-
tative in the 4-AA finals.
19High Point Central (4A): Wayne Jones returns nearly all of his starters from
2013 and the Bison could be poised to make a
very deep run in the 4-A playoff bracket.
20Garner (4A): The Trojans are another team with the potential to represent
the East in the 4-AA championship game.
21Hoggard (4A): Coach Scott Braswell has a team that could land Hoggard its
second state championship. The Vikings are
always a very sound team that limits mistakes
and they’ve got the offensive firepower to make
a deep post-season run.
22Northern Guilford (3A): The Night- hawks have a new coach but one
who is very familiar with the program. Johnny
Roscoe comes back to lead Northern and the
Nighthawks may have what it takes to make a
return trip to the 3-AA title game.
23South Point (3A): It doesn’t matter who the players are or who they line
up against, all the Red Raiders do is win. Head
coach Mikey Lineberger runs the Red-Bone offense to perfection and South Point lights up
scoreboards along the way.
24Shelby (2A): Don’t be fooled by the 2A classification. Shelby has the talent and depth to line up with most 4A schools
and the Golden Lions return most of their skill
talent to make a run at back-to-back state
25 Mooresville (4A): Ever since head coach Hal Capps arrived, the Blue
Lawrence Pittman ( 2) led Mallark Creek to a state championship last season.
Devils have been a team to watch. They return
several key contributors as well.
1Mallard Creek (4A): After finally reaching the pinnacle and winning its first state title, expect Mallard Creek to flex some muscle and become the next dynasty in North
Carolina football. While the Mavericks did lose a
considerable number of starters, the winning formula
has been put in place by head coach Mike Palmieri.
(Don Adkins/ Take TheShotPhotography.com)
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Top 25 Teams North Carolina