With an undefeated record and momentum on its side (average of 46.5 points in last four games), few could blame No. 4 Scotland for coasting through its final two games of the season. But with 7-1 Lumberton and No. 8 Richmond on slate as well as the SEC title up for grabs, the remaining road is no joke for the Fighting Scots.
Lumberton lost its first game of the season last week to Richmond, but the Pirates' mettle is real after wins against Jack Britt and Hoke County. The three-headed rushing attack of Daniel Robinson, Trevor Lewis and Zhrome Carmichael (a combined 1,288 yards and 12 TDs) will be a handful for the Fighting Scots, as Lumberton looks to control the clock.
But as was mentioned before, Scotland has its own powerful offense, led by dual-threat QB Kwashaun Quick. The Fighting Scots' skill players on both sides of the ball have been a handful for opponents and are a threat to break open any contest with a big gain or turnover.
Lumberton will need to strike early and often to keep up with Scotland. But of course, that's much easier said than done.
My pick: Scotland 38, Lumberton 24
No. 6 Garner (9-0) at Southeast Raleigh (7-1)
There's no shortage of offensive weapons in this matchup. For Garner, Demetrius Fairley leads a rushing attack that averages nearly 334 yards per game. But Southeast Raleigh is anchored by quarterback David Washington, who can hurt you on the ground (972 rushing yards, 15 TDs) and through the air (1,657 yards, 21 scores). The one thing going in Garner's favor is Southeast Raleigh's defense, which has been known to surrender big plays to opposing running backs. But with a top seed in the playoffs on the line, expect the Bulldogs to hunker down.
My pick: Garner 42, Southeast Raleigh 35
Berry Academy (6-2) at Olympic (8-1)
The MEGA 7 conference winner could be decided in this matchup -- but the champion isn't even playing. After Charlotte Catholic beat Berry Academy last week, the Cougars and Olympic are now tied for first in the conference, making Friday's game a must-win for Olympic.
For the Trojans, the focus will be on containing Berry WR/KR Germone Hopper, who still managed to gain 187 all-purpose yards in last week's loss. Quarterback Cason Beatty will lead Olympic's offensive attack, which has put up at least 42 points in three of its last four games. Jarrett Harris has also emerged as a threat of late, rushing for 151 yards in last week's win against Harding.
My pick: Olympic 28, Berry Academy 24
Brandon Parker covers North Carolina for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.