High School Sports

PrepsNow top 25 area rankings: football

By J. Mike Blake

mblake@newsobserver.com

December 10, 2017 11:00 AM

For the second straight year, and third time in four seasons, Wake Forest ends the season ranked atop the PrepsNow 20-county area rankings. The Cougars went wire-to-wire this season at No. 1, en route to the 4AA title. Since 2013, Wake Forest has finished first or second in each of our final rankings.

Tarboro, also a 15-0 undefeated state champion, ends the year at No. 2 in the top 25. The Vikings won the 1AA title and dismantled nearly every opponent. Saturday's 32-7 championship victory was the closest any contest they played in this season.

PrepsNow Football Top 25 Rankings

1. Wake Forest (Record: 15-0, Last week: 1)

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Notable: 4AA champs, 31-game winning streak, back-to-back title game shutouts, Northern Athletic Conference champs.

2. Tarboro (Record: 15-0, Last week: 4)

Notable: 1AA champs, allowed just 4.4 points per game, Coastal Plains Conference champs.

3. Heritage (Record: 12-2, Last week: 2)

Notable: Fell in third round of 4A playoffs to Hoggard, began year on 10-0 win streak, only regular-season loss was to Wake Forest.

4. Southern Nash (Record: 12-2, Last week: 3)

Notable: Fell in third round of 4A playoffs to Havelock, Big East Conference champs, only regular-season loss was to Wake Forest.

5. Cardinal Gibbons (Record: 11-1, Last week: 5)

Notable: Fell in the second round of the 4A playoffs to Heritage, Cap-7 Conference champs, undefeated regular season.

6. Clayton (Record: 13-1, Last week: 6)

Notable: Fell in the third round of the 3AA playoffs to Eastern Guilford, Greater Neuse River Conference champs, undefeated regular season.

7. Sanderson (Record: 9-4, Last week: 7)

Notable: Fell in the third round of the 4AA playoffs to Wake Forest, three of four losses came to Wake Forest, Heritage and Cardinal Gibbons.

8. Garner (Record: 9-5. Last week: 8)

Notable: Fell in the 4AA East final to Wake Forest, South Wake Athletic Conference champs, won eight straight games after a 1-4 start.

9. Green Hope (Record: 10-3, Last week: 9)

Notable: Fell in the third round of the 4AA playoffs to Garner, Triangle 6 Conference champs, only losses came to Garner, Sanderson and Southern Nash.

10. D.H. Conley (Record: 11-2, Last week: 10)

Notable: Fell in the second round of the 3AA playoffs to Eastern Guilford, Eastern Carolina 3A/4A Conference champs, broke NCHSAA record for most points through 12 games.

11. Lee County (Record: 12-1, Last week: 11)

Notable: Fell in the second round of the 3AA playoffs to Cape Fear, Tri-County 6 Conference champs, nine of 12 wins were by shutout.

12. South Granville (Record: 13-1, Last week: 12)

Notable: Fell in the third round of the 2AA playoffs to North Davidson, Northern Carolina 1A/2A Conference champs, best season in school history.

13. Leesville Road (Record: 8-5. Last week: 13)

Notable: Fell in the second round of the 4AA playoffs to Green Hope, all four losses came to teams in the top nine - Green Hope (twice), Sanderson, Wake Forest and Cardinal Gibbons - also owns a win over Garner.

14. Middle Creek (Record: 9-4, Last week: 14)

Notable: Fell in the second round of the 4AA playoffs to Sanderson, all four losses came to teams in the top eight - Wake Forest, Heritage, Sanderson and Garner. 

15. South Central (Record: 10-3. Last week: 15)

Notable: Fell in the third round of the 4A playoffs to Scotland, averaged more than 50 points per game.

16. Cleveland (Record: 8-5. Last week: 16)

Notable: Fell in the second round of the 3AA playoffs to Clayton, owns a win over Garner.

17. Pinecrest (Record: 8-5. Last week: 17)

Notable: Fell in the second round of the 4AA playoffs to Garner.

18. Fike (Record: 9-4. Last week: 18)

Notable: Fell in the second round of the 3A playoffs to Western Alamance.

19. Orange (Record: 8-3, Last week: 19)

Notable: Fell in the first round of the 3AA playoffs to Cape Fear, Big Eight Conference co-champs.

20. Northern Durham (Record: 8-3. Last week: 20)

Notable: Fell in the first round of the 3AA playoffs to Cleveland, Big Eight Conference co-champs.

21. SouthWest Edgecombe (Record: 10-3. Last week: 21)

Notable: Fell in the second round of the 2A playoffs to Southwest Onslow, Eastern Plains Conference co-champs, owns a win over South Central.

22. Nash Central (Record: 10-3. Last week: 22)

Notable: Fell in the second round of the 2AA playoffs to Randleman, Eastern Plains Conference co-champs.

23. Millbrook (Record: 6-7. Last week: 23)

Notable: Fell in the second round of the 4AA playoffs to Wake Forest, only losses came to teams in the top 14 - Middle Creek, Cardinal Gibbons, Sanderson, Leesville Road, Heritage and Wake Forest (twice).

24. Knightdale (Record: 7-6. Last week: 24)

Notable: Fell in the second round of the 4A playoffs to South Central.

25. Beddingfield (Record: 8-4. Last week: 25)

Notable: Fell in the second round of the 2A playoffs to Wallace-Rose Hill, Eastern Plains Conference co-champs.

Falling out: None.

Eligible counties: Chatham, Durham, Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, Greene, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Lenoir, Moore, Nash, Orange, Person, Pitt, Vance, Wake, Warren, Wayne and Wilson.