After games ending Sunday, Oct. 2.
An upset that few saw coming as well as a powerful squad that keeps on coming highlight this week's POWERADE ESPNHS North Carolina football rankings.
Let's start with the upset. In 34 prior meetings, Richmond had never lost to Hoke County. But that all changed Friday, as the Raiders fell 24-21 in their Southeastern Conference opener. Hoke County forced two fumbles and held the Raiders to just 14 plays in the first half. Richmond held a 21-17 lead midway through the fourth quarter, but the Bucks went ahead for good on a David Walrath touchdown. Just like that, Richmond went from having Hoke County's numbers to looking up at the Bucks in the conference standings.
Also on Richmond's heels is a surging South Point squad, whom I mentioned last week was on the cusp of entering the top 10. Led by fullback Troy Leeper, the Red Raiders have won their last three games by an average of nearly 41 points, outscored opponents 349-88 and downed a solid Burns program during a 7-0 start. Plus, during last week's 56-7 win against Ashbrook, they unleashed another weapon in quarterback Patrick Horne, who threw for 414 yards and ran for another 159 and two scores. With that type of power (along with the fact that former No. 10 A.L. Brown lost its lone game to a ranked team by 28 points), it's impossible to keep the Red Raiders out of the top 10 any longer.
Nationally, Mallard Creek continued its move up the POWERADE FAB 50 by securing the No. 24 spot while Butler stood pat at No. 39.
Without further ado, here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings are in parentheses):
1. Mallard Creek (Charlotte) 6-0 (1)
Mavericks avenged last year's loss in the 4AA West region semifinal, easily beating Vance 55-20 behind quarterback Andrew Goodman's five touchdown passes. The state's top team will play North Mecklenburg this Friday.
2. Butler (Matthews) 5-1 (2)
The Bulldogs posted their first shutout of the season, downing East Mecklenburg, 45-0. Riley Ferguson threw for three touchdowns, two of which went to older brother, Zach. An intriguing matchup against surging Ardrey Kell is up next.
3. Greensboro Page 6-0 (4)
After resting up on their bye week, the Pirates rolled to a 49-0 win against Grimsley and, amid Richmond's loss, cemented their new No. 3 spot. Next up: Ben L. Smith.