1. Marvin Ridge (10-1)
Previous Ranking: No. 1
The Mavs have been No. 1 for most of the year and won’t drop here despite a tough loss to Charlotte Catholic. Caleb Deveaux and Bryce McLain both gained more than 100 yards in the loss to the Cougars, and Marvin Ridge’s 21 points are the most Catholic has allowed all year. They face a familiar foe this week to open the playoffs.
This week: vs. Sun Valley (8-3)
2. Weddington (8-3)
Previous ranking: No. 2
The Warriors once again flexed their muscles on defense, shutting out Cuthbertson 45-0 to close the regular season and get Weddington’s fourth shutout of the season. The Warriors will get the No. 5 seed in the 3A bracket and will host Hickory in the first meeting between the schools. The Red Tornadoes have gone 3-3 over their previous six games.
This week: vs. Hickory (6-5)
3. Sun Valley (8-3)
Previous ranking: No. 3
The Spartans led 14-10 at the half but pulled away with three consecutive touchdown drives to bully Piedmont 35-17 in the regular season finale. The Spartans would love one of their conference losses back because a fourth-place finish gives them a rematch at Marvin Ridge. The first game was close, though, and with this offense there’s always a chance.
This week: at Marvin Ridge (10-1)
4. Porter Ridge (7-4)
Previous ranking: No. 5
The Pirates jump a spot after a thorough beating of Hickory Ridge, who came into the matchup 9-1. The Pirates allowed more yards on defense, but controlled the game on the ground as they ran for 404 yards with Jaylen Coleman (210 yards, three touchdowns), Malcolm Hines (127 yards) and quarterback Grayson McCall (63 yards and a touchdown) having huge nights.
This week: vs Davie (5-6)
5. Metrolina Christian (8-3)
Previous ranking: No. 4
The Warriors had a chance to knock off Country Day in Charlotte in the first round of the NCISAA Division II playoffs, but a late touchdown that could have potentially tied the game was called back due to penalty and the Bucs forced a turnover to seal it. Still, a great season for the Warriors and for Ishod Finger, who finished with 2,478 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns.
This week: Season over
6. Union Academy (6-3)
Previous ranking: No. 6
The Cardinals go into the playoffs red hot after beating Thomas Jefferson, who entered last week 10-0. Union Academy held the Gryphons to 319 yards of offense and had huge games on the ground from Kalip McFadden (141 rush yards, touchdown), Chris Heyward (131 yards, two touchdowns) and Garrett Melton (92 yards and a touchdown) in the upset.
This week: vs. Alleghany (4-7)
7. Cuthbertson (4-7)
Previous ranking: No. 7
The Cavs have taken their lumps down the stretch, losing four straight including a 45-0 loss to Weddington last week. The Cavs could only muster 261 yards of offense and 2.9 yards per carry against the Warriors. It doesn’t get any easier this week as Alexander Central has scored more than 50 points in three of its past four games.
This week: at Alexander Central (10-1)