Football playoffs kickoff FridayNo. 4 seed Pisgah (vs. Hickory) and No. 7 seed Tuscola (vs. Piedmont) host 3-A West first round games
Five of the eight WNC Athletic Conference football teams, including Pisgah and Tuscola, were selected to participate in one of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s eight playoff brackets, which opens Friday night.
Left out of the postseason were the conference’s other 3-A teams North Henderson, West Henderson and East Henderson, which have combined to go 4-29.
The No. 4 seed Black Bears (8-2), which tied for second with Tuscola and Smoky Mountain in the WNCAC, will host at 7:30 p.m. the No. 13 seed Hickory Tornadoes (6-4) from the Northwestern 3-A/4-A Conference at Memorial Stadium in the first round of the Class 3-AA West playoffs Friday night.
Friday’s first round encounter with Pisgah will be Hickory’s three consecutive road game and fourth on the last five games. The Tornadoes, which finished third in the Northwestern Conference behind Hibriten (second) and champion Morganton Freedom, are scoring an average of 32.2 points per game and giving up 21.9 points every Friday night this season.
The No. 7 seed Mountaineers (8-2) will host at 7:30 p.m. the No. 10 seed Piedmont Panthers (8-2) from the Southern Carolina 3-A Conference at C.E. Weatherby Stadium in the first round of the Class 3-AA West playoffs Friday night.
Piedmont finished second behind co champions Weddington and Sun Valley. The Panthers, which come into the game having lost three of their last five games, are scoring an average of 27.4 points per game and giving up 26.5 points every Friday night this season.
According to a NCHSAA policy, season reserved ticket holders can retain their seats at their respective stadiums but must still purchase a $7 playoff ticket.
“We will still honor our reserved parking behind the press box,” said Mashburn, “but Tuscola fans who have reserved seats for the regular season at Weatherby Stadium will still get their same seat(s), but state policy clearly states they still have to purchase a $7 playoff ticket.”
Other WNCAC members making the postseason are outright champion Franklin, Smoky Mountain and Brevard.
In the 2-A West, the No. 12 seed Blue Devils (5-5) play at No. 3 seed and Mountain Valley Conference tri-champion North Wilkes (9-1).
In the 2-AA West, the No. 8 seed Mustangs (7-3) host No. 9 seed Forest Hills (5-5), while the undefeated, No. 1 seed and WNCAC outright champion Franklin Panthers (10-0) play at The Pit against visiting Parkwood, a No. 16 seed with a 5-5 record.