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In the end, the final night of the regular season opened the door for six varsity football teams from The Wilson Times readership area to qualify for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association postseason.
Led by Southern Nash seizing the No. 1 seed in the 3-A East, four area squads were assigned to the 3-A East bracket, while SouthWest Edgecombe and Beddingfield earned 2-A playoff berths.
The Firebirds (11-0), Big East Conference champions for the fourth year in a row, will be at home for the duration of its stay in the East bracket and hosts Fayetteville E.E. Smith (4-7), the No. 16 seed, in the first round. If the top two seeds hold in the 3-A East draw, the Firebirds would host Havelock, coached by former Greene Central head man Allen Wooten, in the Eastern final.
Coming off an undefeated showing against its Wayne County opposition, Charles B. Aycock (7-4) garnered its best regular-season finish in the tenure of head coach Steve Brooks and grabbed the No. 11 seed. The Golden Falcons, members of the split 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference, will travel to No. 6 Jacksonville Northside (6-5).
Friday night’s Hunt-Fike result did not knock the loser out of the playoffs.
Instead, Fike’s 38-7 win elevated the Golden Demons (4-7) to the No. 13 seed and a road date with No. 4 Fayetteville Terry Sanford (8-3). Hunt (5-6) was left with the No. 14 seed and visits Eastern Alamance (11-0) in a opening-round encounter.
Beddingfield’s 60-22 loss to SouthWest Edgecombe that decided the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference championship carried tangible consequences for the Bruins.
Beddingfield (8-3) becomes the first team to be shipped on the road, drawing the No. 9 seed and getting a game at No. 8 Yanceyville Bartlett Yancey (9-2). If the Bruins win, they will likely earn a home game at top seed Clinton.
SouthWest Edgecombe (10-1) is the No. 2 seed in the 2-A draw and will take on No. 15 East Bladen (5-5) in the first round.
A potential second-round matchup against No. 10 Wallace-Rose Hill is possible if the Cougars win and the Bulldogs get by No. 7 Whiteville.
The 2-A championship game will be held at BB&T Field on the campus of Wake Forest University, while the 3-A title game is set for Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh.
In the postseason, all kickoff times are 7:30 p.m. as mandated by the NCHSAA.