The North Carolina High School Athletic Association released the brackets for the state football playoffs Saturday for all classifications. Included in the eight brackets for the West region are 15 schools from the three area conferences. The first round for all teams is scheduled for this Friday night with the state championships coming on Saturday, Dec. 14.
Six of the eight teams out of the South Fork 2A Conference received bids, led by North Lincoln (10-1), which was seeded No. 2 in the 2AA bracket. The Knights will open at home against No. 15 R-S Central. The South Fork has a heavy presence in the 2AA playoffs with South Fork co-runner-up Maiden (8-3), and fourth-place teams East Lincoln (8-3) and West Lincoln (8-3) getting spots there. The No. 8 Blue Devils received the league’s second automatic bid and will host No. 9 North Surry. No. 11 East Lincoln will go to No. 6 Burns while No. 12 West Lincoln travels to No. 5 Ashe County.
Also from the South Fork, Newton-Conover (7-4) and Bandys will play in the 2A bracket. Seeded seventh, the Red Devils will host No. 10 Thomasville while Bandys got the last at-large spot at No. 16 and will play at No. 1 Mountain Heritage.
The Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference had four schools reach the tournament. The league’s champion Hibriten (10-1) is the third seed in 2AA and will host No. 14 Wilkes Central in Round 1. Also in the 2AA bracket is Bunker Hill at No. 10. The Bears (6-5), who got the league’s second automatic bid, will play in their first playoff game since 2013 when they travel to No. 7 Pisgah. Rounding out the league in the 2AA is No. 16 West Iredell, which will play at 2AA defending champions and top ranked Shelby.
Bunker Hill’s conference rival Draughn (7-4) also makes its first appearance after a long drought. Returning for the first time since 2012, the Wildcats are the 11th seed in the 2A bracket and will play at No. 6 Chase.
Turning to the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference, champion Watauga (10-1) is the No. 2 seed in the 3AA bracket and will host No. 15 Cuthbertson. The conference had a three-way tie for the second automatic bid for the 3A schools. Freedom (7-4) won the draw and with it got a home game in the 3A tournament. The eighth-seeded Patriots will host No. 9 West Rowan. Alexander Central (8-3) and Hickory (4-7), the other two teams tied with Freedom, received at-large bids on Saturday. The Cougars are seeded ninth in the 3AA bracket and will travel to Winston-Salem to play Parkland. Meanwhile, Hickory is the No. 14 seed in the 3A playoffs and will play at No. 3 AC Reynolds.
South Caldwell (4-7) is the only 4A school in the conference to receive a bid. The Spartans received a No. 12 seed in the 4A bracket and will travel to Glenn.
No. 1 Mountain Heritage (9-1) vs. No. 16 Bandys (5-6)
No. 6 Chase (9-2) vs. No. 11 Draughn (7-4)
No. 7 Newton-Conover (7-4) vs. No. 10 Thomasville (8-3)
No. 1 Shelby (9-1) vs. No. 16 West Iredell (6-5)
No. 2 North Lincoln (10-1) vs. No. 15 R-S Central (5-6)
No. 3 Hibriten (10-1) vs. No. 14 Wilkes Central (6-5)
No. 5 Ashe County (7-4) vs. No. 12 West Lincoln (8-3)
No. 6 Burns (9-2) vs. No. 11 East Lincoln (8-3)
No. 7 Pisgah (8-2) vs. No. 10 Bunker Hill (6-5)
No. 8 Maiden (8-3) vs. No. 9 North Surry (7-4)
No. 8 Freedom (7-4) vs. No. 9 West Rowan (7-4)
No. 3 A.C. Reynolds (9-2) vs. No. 14 Hickory (4-7)
No. 2 Watauga (10-1) vs. No. 15 Cuthbertson (5-6)
No. 8 Parkland (7-3) vs. No. 9 Alexander Central (8-3)
No. 5 Glenn (7-4) vs. No. 12 South Caldwell (4-7)