It all comes down to this — sort of. The MEGA 7 conference title will be decided in the next three weeks, as the 3-0 Charlotte Catholic, Berry Academy and Olympic will all face off. The rodeo begins Friday with No. 5 Charlotte Catholic (7-0) and Berry Academy (6-1).
Charlotte Catholic has looked nearly unstoppable this season, winning all but two games by at least 20 points behind the impressive play of sophomore tailback Elijah Hood and a stout defense. Berry Academy has shown flashes of greatness, what with Germone Hopper racking up all-purpose yards and Nick Dawson excelling on defense, but they've had several close calls.
Whether Hopper can get off for big plays could determine this game's outcome, but regardless, it should be competitive.
My pick: Charlotte Catholic 34, Berry Academy 28
No. 8 Richmond (6-1) vs. Lumberton (7-0)
Richmond has struggled since its bye week, falling to Hoke County before barely holding off Purnell Swett. Lumberton has flown under the radar despite big wins against Jack Britt and last week against the same Hoke County squad.
UPSET ALERT: Lumberton 24, Richmond 21
Leesville Road (7-0) vs. Millbrook (5-3)
If you read my feature on Keith Marshall from the ESPNHS September mag, you know how much the senior wants to win a conference title. With Millbrook sitting at 2-2 in the conference and games against Cap 8 powers Leesville Road and Wake Forest-Rolesville up next, it's do or die time for Marshall and the Wildcats. The good news for them is that Leesville Road is known to give up lots of points. The bad news is they can score with the best of them. Could be an old-fashioned shootout in this one.
My pick: Leesville Road 45, Millbrook 31
Brandon Parker covers North Carolina for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.