Skip to main content

North Carolina football state tournament brackets announced

First round games get underway on Friday; Brackets here
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) released its football playoff pairings on Saturday across four classifications with first round games set to begin Friday night.

Reigning champions Tarboro (1A), Shelby (2A), Greensboro Dudley (3A) and Cardinal Gibbons (4A) will all have a chance to defend their titles, and plenty of traditional powers are scattered throughout this week’s slate of games.

Tarboro (9-1) will have a bye in the first round of the 1A East games. Shelby (6-4) drew the No. 19 seed in the 2A West and will travel to play No. 14 Forest Hills (9-1). Greensboro Dudley (8-2) drew the No. 6 seed in the 3A West and will play host to Pisgah (4-6) and Gibbons (8-2) is the No. 5 seed in the 4A East and will be at home against No. 28 Knightdale.

Five teams from the Central Piedmont 4A also made the field in the 32-team 4A West, with No. 4 East Forsyth (10-0), the conference champion, playing at home for the second straight week against conference rival and No. 29 West Forsyth (4-6). The Eagles were dominant in a 53-6 win last Friday against the Titans, who started the season 0-4 before winning four of their final six games.

East, which won back-to-back 4A state titles in 2018 and 2019, doesn’t take its recent success for granted.

Coach Todd Willert of East knows that his team will face a much different West Forsyth team in Friday’s rematch.

“We won’t be seeing anything close to the same team we saw last week,” Willert said. “They had a lot of guys out with illness last week and I expect most of them will be back healthy. They couldn’t even practice a couple of days because so many of their players were out.”

Willert’s team lost in the fourth-round last year to Hough and has most of their key pieces back.

“This starts Phase 3 of our season,” Willert said. “It’s always great to be a part of the playoffs. It’s hard to get here and we have been blessed to have been here several times and blessed to win a couple of state championships. And being in the position we were last year and being close to another championship, you have a really good idea of the preparation and the motivation that’s required to get yourself back in that position to win another championship.”

The Eagles have been a force all season behind a potent offensive attack that averages 47.1 points a game while surrendering just 89 points in 10 games, 38 of which came in a season-opening win against Northwest Guilford (No. 14 in the 4A West with an 8-2 record).

East allowed just three points to conference runner-up Reagan (No. 16 in the 4A West at 8-2) in a 38-3 win on Sept. 16 and has also posted four shutouts.

Willert recognizes the strength that the Central Piedmont 4A represents year after year and was happy that five teams were rewarded with playoff berths.

“What it shows is how good our league is,” he said. “We have a great group of coaches and a lot of us are long-tenured at our schools and I think that makes a huge difference. We have a lot of talent in this area.”

Back in the playoffs since winning the 3AA state championship during the spring season of 2021 is Mount Tabor, which finished third in the CPC at 8-2.

Mount Tabor, the No. 20 seed in the 4A West, will travel to take on No. 13 Asheville in the first round.

The Spartans moved up to the 4A classification last season and narrowly missed a berth in the playoffs in a season plagued with COVID, the loss of a strong senior class from the state title team, and a shooting at the school that left one student dead.

“There were a lot of different factors at play last year, most of which revolved around our inexperience,” Coach Tiesuan Brown of Mount Tabor said. “Honestly, though, it was embarrassing to us to miss the playoffs coming off that state championship in the spring. But these guys have redeemed themselves and they know they need to be playing their best football in November.”

Brown notes that the team had to chance offenses abruptly several games ago and the pieces are still moving into place.

“We’ve got a week to prepare, and I feel like we have a championship-level defense again,” Brown said. “We can get stops. We’ve just got to be able to put some points on the board consistently. Talent-wise, we’re definitely there. Just need to get some of our younger guys the experience. We’re still young. We have eight sophomores playing regularly. We’ll lean on the experience we do have to get the young guys ready. We’ve got four or five guys who were on the state championship team to lean on. I told them that I’ll be the bad guy and I needed those seniors to build the younger guys back up.”

Brown also recognized the strength of the conference.

“Night in and night out in this league, you have to bring your “A” game,” Brown said. “Any team in the CPC will be a tough outcome playoff time.”

Coach Josh McGee has the Reagan Raiders (8-2) back in the playoffs again as the No. 16 seed in the 4A West. Reagan was the runner-up in the Central Piedmont 4A and will take on perennial power Charlotte Catholic (8-2, No. 17 in the 4A West) at home in the first round.

“Glad we get to play in Pfafftown and that our seniors will have at least one more chance to run down the hill,” McGee said. “That being said, we know Catholic is a tough opponent. I’m not sure they ever have a down year.”

The Raiders have had an offensive surge in the second part of the season fueled by two freshman, quarterback Jacob Smith and running back Jaylen Moore.

After a 38-3 loss to East Forsyth in September, the Raiders trailed Glenn 26-14 with five minutes left to play on Sept. 23 when McGee inserted Smith.

Smith led the team to two touchdowns in the closing minutes and a win, which earned him the starting job the next week against Davie. Reagan finished the regular season with a six-game winning streak.

“No doubt those two guys provided a spark,” McGee said. “And that’s not a knock on anyone else on our team. To go along with that, it enabled us to move Makhi Purvis, who had been playing some quarterback for us, to receiver, and that instantly made us ten times better there. And Jaylen is a kid who can turn a five or ten-yard carry into 80 yards. He’s a homerun threat every time he touches the ball. All of that has worked really well together and give us more confidence and a sense that we were working together with a better chance to be successful.”

Oak Grove (10-0) is making its fifth straight playoff appearance for Coach Mark Holcomb and will take on West Mecklenburg (5-5). The Grizzlies are the No. 3 seed in the 3A West and completed the first undefeated the season since the school opened six years ago in dramatic fashion, scoring a touchdown with 44 seconds left to edge Central Davidson Friday night for a 16-14 win and the Mid Piedmont 3A Conference Championship.

Four teams from the conference made the playoffs and combined with a tough nonconference slate that included wins against 4A playoff teams Southwest Guilford and West Forsyth, Holcomb knows has been tested in tough situations.

“We are in a tough league, and any of the four teams at the top of the standings could have won the conference,” Holcomb said. “Up front, our offensive and defensive lines have played really well all season and controlled the line of scrimmage. That’s been a big key for us all season.”

NCHSAA Playoff Calendar

Nov. 4—First round at higher seed

Nov. 11—Second round at higher seed

Nov. 18—Third round at higher seed

Nov. 25—Fourth round at higher seed

Dec. 2—Regional championships at higher seeds

Dec. 9—State Championships at TBD

Here are the pairings for Friday’s first round games in all classifications:

2022 NCHSAA 1A Football Playoffs

1A Bracket

First Round Pairings, games are scheduled for Friday, November 4, 2022

EAST

#1 Tarboro (9-1), BYE

#16 North Duplin (6-4) vs #17 Southeast Halifax (4-5)

#8 Riverside-Martin (9-1) vs #25 Pamlico County (3-7)

#9 North Edgecombe (7-3) vs #24 KIPP Pride(2-8)

#5 West Columbus (7-3) vs #28 South Creek (0-10)

#12 Gates County (6-4) vs #21 Washington County (3-7)

#13 Northside-Pinetown (6-4) vs #20 Weldon (3-5)

#4 Northampton County (8-2) vs #29 Jones (1-9)

#3 Rosewood (6-4) vs #30 Chatham Central (1-9)

#14 Warren County (6-4) vs #19 Lakewood (5-5)

#6 Southside (7-3) vs #27 Rocky Mount Prep (1-8)

#11 Hobbton (8-2) vs #22 Northwest Halifax (2-8)

#7 Bear Grass Charter (5-5) vs #26 East Columbus (2-8)

#10 Wilson Prep (8-2) vs #23 Perquimans (2-8)

#15 Bertie (4-6) vs #18 Pender (5-5)

#2 North Moore (10-0) vs #31 Lejeune (0-10)

WEST

#1 Eastern Randolph (9-1), BYE

#16 South Stokes (4-6) vs #17 Mountain Heritage (4-6)

#8 Robbinsville (7-3) vs #25 Cherryville (2-8)

#9 Starmount (7-3) vs #24 Cherokee (2-8)

#5 Christ the King (8-2) vs #28 Avery County (3-7)

#12 Hayesville (5-5) vs #21 Alleghany (3-7)

#13 North Rowan (6-4) vs #20 Carver (3-7)

#4 Mount Airy (9-1) vs #29 North Stokes (1-9)

#3 Thomasville (9-1) vs #30 Elkin (1-9)

#14 Swain County (4-6) vs #19 Winston-Salem Prep (3-6)

#6 Draughn (9-1) vs #27 Union Academy (2-8)

#11 Mitchell (7-3) vs #22 South Davidson (4-6)

#7 Murphy (7-3) vs #26 Albemarle (3-7)

#10 East Wilkes (8-2) vs #23 Thomas Jefferson (2-8)

#15 Mountain Island Charter (4-5) vs #18 Bessemer City (3-7)

#2 Andrews (10-0) vs #31 Highland Tech (0-10)

2022 NCHSAA 2A Football Playoffs | First Round Pairings | Friday, November 4, 2022

2A Bracket

EAST

#1 Princeton (9-1) vs #32 Goldsboro (2-8)

#16 Heide Trask (7-3) vs #17 Eastern Wayne (6-4)

#8 Cummings (6-3) vs #25 Bartlett Yancey (7-3)

#9 East Carteret (7-3) vs #24 Midway (6-4)

#5 Northeastern (8-2) vs #28 Farmville Central (5-5)

#12 Wallace-Rose Hill (8-2) vs #21 Kinston (6-4)

#13 Greene Central (9-1) vs. #20 St. Pauls (6-3)

#4 Nash Central (7-3) vs. #29 North Johnson (3-7)

#3 Whiteville (9-1) vs. #30 Southwest Onslow (2-7)

#14 John A. Holmes (7-3) vs. #19 Southwest Edgecombe (4-6)

#6 West Craven (7-3) vs. #27 Bunn (4-6)

#11 Hertford County (9-1) vs. #22 East Bladen (5-5)

#7 Clinton (9-1) vs. #26 Beddingfield (5-5)

#10 South Granville (5-5) vs. #23 Roanoke Rapids (3-7)

#15 James Kenan (8-2) vs. #18 Camden County (6-4)

#2 East Duplin (9-1) vs. #31 North Pitt (4-6)

WEST

#1 Reidsville (9-1) vs. #32 Madison (3-7)

#16 McMichael (7-3) vs. #17 Providence Grove (7-3)

#8 Chase (10-0) vs. #25 North Wilkes (7-3)

#9 Robinson (9-1) vs. #24 Wilkes Central (7-3)

#5 Maiden (9-1) vs. #28 Polk County (5-5)

#12 Walkertown (8-2) vs. #21 Mount Pleasant (7-3)

#13 Bunker Hill (9-1) vs. #20 East Davidson (6-4)

#4 Community School of Davidson (9-1) vs. #29 East Gaston (6-4)

#3 Burns (9-1) vs. #30 Morehead (4-6)

#14 Forest Hills (9-1) vs. #19 Shelby (6-4)

#6 Salisbury (9-1) vs. #27 Brevard (5-5)

#11 Pine Lake Prep (9-1) vs. #22 West Stokes (5-5)

#7 Monroe (9-1) vs. #26 North Stanly (6-4)

#10 Randleman (7-3) vs. #23 Lincolnton (5-5)

#15 Hendersonville (8-2) vs. #18 West Lincoln (8-2)

#2 East Surry (10-0) vs. #31 Anson (4-6)

2022 NCHSAA 3A Football Playoffs | First Round Pairings | Friday, November 4, 2022

3A Bracket

EAST

#1 Northern Nash (10-0) vs. #32 Northside-Jacksonville (1-8)

#16 Southern Nash (7-3) vs. #17 White Oak (7-2)

#8 West Carteret (7-3) vs. #25 Vance County (6-3)

#9 Southern Durham (6-4) vs. #24 Richlands (6-4)

#5 C.B. Aycock (9-1) vs. #28 Triton (5-5)

#12 Smithfield-Selma (9-1) vs. #21 Hunt (6-4)

#13 Rocky Mount (7-3) vs. #20 Jacksonville (5-4)

#4 Havelock (8-2) vs. #29 Croatan (4-6)

#3 Seventy-First (10-0) vs. #30 South Johnston (5-5)

#14 J.H. Rose (7-3) vs. #19 Cape Fear (7-3)

#6 North Brunswick (9-1) vs. #27 Westover (6-4)

#11 Currituck County (6-4) vs. #22 Lee County (7-3)

#7 Terry Sanford (8-2) vs. #26 South Brunswick (5-5)

#10 Scotland (6-4) vs. #23 Fike (5-5)

#15 Williams (7-3) vs. #18 Western Alamance (6-4)

#2 Eastern Alamance (9-1) vs. #31 Franklinton (4-6)

WEST

#1 Kings Mountain (10-0) vs. #32 St. Stephens (4-6)

#16 Central Davidson (8-2) vs. #17 Smoky Mountain (6-4)

#8 West Charlotte (5-5) vs. #25 Cramer (4-6)

#9 Hibriten (5-5) vs. #24 Southern Guilford (6-4)

#5 Northwest Cabarrus (9-1) vs. #28 Ashbrook (4-6)

#12 Ledford (9-1) vs. #21 Freedom (6-4)

#13 Tuscola (9-1) vs. #20 Forestview (4-6)

#4 East Lincoln (10-0) vs. #29 Ashe County (3-7)

#3 Oak Grove (10-0) vs. #30 West Mecklenburg (5-5)

#14 Crest (7-3) vs. #19 Statesville (7-3)

#6 Dudley (8-2) vs. #27 Pisgah (4-6)

#11 South Point (9-1) vs. #22 Hickory (7-3)

#7 Erwin (5-5) vs. #26 Carson (5-5)

#10 Parkwood (5-5) vs. #23 Eastern Guilford (6-4)

#15 West Rowan (8-2) vs. #18 Franklin (6-4)

#2 West Henderson (10-0) vs. #31 North Davidson (3-7)

2022 NCHSAA 4A Football Playoffs | First Round Pairings | Friday, November 4, 2022

4A Bracket

EAST

#1 Hillside (10-0) vs. #32 Hoke County (5-5)

#16 Apex (9-1) vs. #17 Panther Creek (7-3)

#8 Holly Springs (8-2) vs. #25 Richmond (5-5)

#9 Pine Forest (8-2) vs. #24 Fuquay-Varina (6-4)

#5 Cardinal Gibbons (8-2) vs. #28 Knightdale (6-4)

#12 Millbrook (9-1) vs. #21 Clayton (6-4)

#13 Southern Alamance (7-3) vs. #20 Riverside-Durham (6-4)

#4 New Hanover (9-1) vs. #29 Broughton (5-5)

#3 Wake Forest (8-2) vs. #30 Chapel Hill (6-4)

#14 Leesville Road (8-2) vs. #19 D.H. Conley (5-5)

#6 Cleveland (10-0) vs. #27 Topsail (5-5)

#11 Rolesville (7-3) vs. #22 Overhills (7-3)

#7 Pinecrest (8-2) vs. #26 Laney (6-4)

#10 Jack Britt (7-3) vs. #23 Jordan (4-6)

#15 Heritage (7-3) vs. #18 Hoggard (7-3)

#2 New Bern (10-0) vs. #31 Sanderson (5-5)

WEST

#1 Grimsley (10-0) vs. #32 Davie (4-6)

#16 Reagan (8-2) vs. #17 Charlotte Catholic (8-2)

#8 Independence (9-1) vs. #25 Page (5-5)

#9 Olympic (10-0) vs. #24 T.C. Roberson (6-4)

#5 Hough (8-2) vs. #28 Providence (5-5)

#12 Mallard Creek (7-3) vs. #21 Ardrey Kell (8-2)

#13 Asheville (8-2) vs. #20 Mount Tabor (8-2)

#4 East Forsyth (10-0) vs. #29 West Forsyth (4-6)

#3 Watauga (9-1) vs. #30 South Iredell (4-6)

#14 Northwest Guilford (8-2) vs. #19 Southeast Guilford (7-3)

#6 Weddington (9-1) vs. #27 Marvin Ridge (5-5)

#11 Cox Mill (8-2) vs. #22 Lake Norman (7-3)

#7 A.C. Reynolds (9-1) vs. #26 A.L. Brown (6-4)

#10 Julius Chambers (8-2) vs. #23 Porter Ridge (7-3)

#15 Butler (8-2) vs. #18 Hickory Ridge (6-4)

#2 Mooresville (9-1) vs. #31 Southwest Guilford (5-5)