The majority of the weekend contests haven't even started, but with all the drama and scoring in Butler's 43-40 win against Ardrey Kell, the game of the week is probably already in the books.
After three quarters, Butler held what appeared to be a comfortable 35-17 lead, but in one period, Ardrey Kell showed why it's entered many conversations in the North Carolina prep football landscape. Suddenly, with 3:45 to play, the Knights had closed the gap to 35-33, with a recovered onside kick, a gritty Josh Duggan rush TD and a slew of Butler penalties sparking the comeback.
A pick-6 by Ian Dibble gave the Knights' a 40-35 lead with two minutes left and great hope for a huge upset of their Southwestern 4A rivals. But the Ferguson brothers proved ice cold, with Riley finding his brother Zach for a 50-yard gain and 12-yard touchdown strike to seal the win. Check out the Charlotte Observer story for more details of this barnburner.
This game could speak volumes for how the 4A playoffs are decided. It could be the type of win Butler needs to push them past Mallard Creek and to a third straight title. Or it could provide the confidence for Ardrey Kell to pull a playoff run and upset similar to what Vance did last year when it shocked Mallard Creek. Only time will tell.
Here are two other games that we can only hope are just as exciting:
Lumberton (6-0) at Hoke County (6-1)
Both of these teams have pulled off big wins, with Lumberton downing Jack Britt and Hoke County fresh off a huge upset of previous No. 3 Richmond. Hoke County is fueled by tailback Detrez Newsome, who's ran for 780 yards and 13 touchdowns this year. But the senior will be coming up against a stingy defense in Lumberton that has allowed just 9.2 points per game. Heck, the Pirates have beaten Seventy-First by the score of 9-8 and South View by a count of 8-2. Hoke County's defense isn't quite as stout, but as they say, the best defense is a good offense.
My pick: Hoke County 21, Lumberton 17
Wakefield at Wake Forest-Rolesville
I expect these two to light up the scoreboard in a game that could mirror the Butler-Ardrey Kell matchup. Why? For one, Wakefield is averaging nearly 50 points per game and is coming off a contest in which it scored 58 points and still lost! Wake-Forest Rolesville has plenty of offensive weapons, too, with tailback Chris Love and Petey Williams (two special teams touchdowns last week). That puts on the onus on the defenses to make key stops to decide this close matchup.
My pick: Wake Forest-Rolesville 38, Wakefield 35
Brandon Parker covers North Carolina for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.