Gryphons, Hilltoppers make playoffs

Nov. 10, 2013 @ 06:01 AM

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) released it’s football playoff brackets Saturday afternoon and two Rutherford County teams made their respective tournaments.

R-S Central claimed the No. 15 seed in the Western half of the 2AA bracket while Thomas Jefferson wrapped up the No. 3 seed in the Midwest pod of the 1A bracket.

The Hilltopers will travel to the Monroe High School, the No. 2 seed, Friday night to start their playoff journey.

The Redhawks (9-2, 5-0) boast a tough defense that allowed an average of just 8.7 points per game to opponents in 2013.

Thomas Jefferson is set to host the No.6 seed Andrews High School Wildcats (2-9, 0-6) Friday night in Avondale for an opening round battle.

The Gryphons played the Wildcats during the 2012 regular season and came out with a 48-7 win.

East Rutherford, despite a Friday night against Chase to become playoff eligible, didn’t make the 2A cut.

“We knew it was long shot even if we won,” East Rutherford head coach Clint Bland said. “It wasn’t that surprising to me and the rest of the coaches.”

However, the most shocking omission for many was the Chase Trojans who finished the season with a 6-5, 3-5 record and figured to be practicing Monday.

“We wondered if us beating them would knock them out,” Bland said of the rival Trojans. I hate it for them because I pull for Daniel [Bailey] and Chase whenever they aren’t playing us the same way I do for [Mike] Cheek at Central.”

Chase dropped a nonconfernce win for record-reporting purposes and lost spots to other five-win team that had higher winning percentages in their respective conferences.

“There’s nothing that’s fair about that anywhere,” bailey said. “We play in a nine-team 2A/3A conference and they’re comparing us to teams in a straight 2A league or 1A/2A leagues.”

The tiebreaker tends to give an edge to those in “weaker” conferences.

“It’s not right for team in the lower classification in their conference,” Bailey said. “You not comparing apples to apple, you’re comparing apples to apple trees.”

“It’s the kids that are getting cheated,” Bailey continued. “I reckon we’re done and we’ll take up the pads on Monday.”