Pieces fall back in place for Ledford
With its 38-35 win against Southern Guilford last Friday, Ledford gave itself an opportunity position itself well for the state playoffs. A win could get it as high as the Mid-Piedmont 3A Conference’s No. 2 seed. A loss could mean as low as No. 4.
But the opportunity is there Friday at conference-leader North Forsyth, which is certainly more than the Panthers (6-4, 3-2 MPC) might have expected after an 0-2 start in the conference and three losses in four games. But they’ve won three straight to at least have a chance.
“You always want to be playing your best football at the end of the year. And I feel like we are,” coach Chris Adams said. “We went through a couple tough weeks where we were battling the injury bug. A few pieces of the puzzle kind of fell out of place. It took us a while to get everyone back where they needed to be and comfortable with what we’re doing. I think we’re starting to jell now after recovering from those injuries.
“The season could’ve easily gone the other way. During those critical weeks, we lost two conference games back-to-back and the season could’ve gone either way. But the kids battled and kept working. And our coaches have done a great job working and preparing and getting our kids ready. Luckily, in a good way, we’re playing good football right now, and hopefully we can keep it going.”
Southern, at 4-2 in the MPC, currently holds the edge on Ledford and Asheboro, both at 3-2. But the Storm have concluded their regular season. So, if the Panthers win and remained deadlocked, then any tie would have to be broken for seeding purposes, usually done by drawing straws.
Still, Ledford is playing with a ton of confidence, following three straight wins and particularly after beating Southern when things could’ve easily fallen apart midway through the season.
“We kept our heads up and fought,” said tailback Dalton Harris, who ran for 284 yards and caught a 29-yard touchdown pass, of the team’s late-season rally. “We’re fighters, and we don’t want to stop. We’re going to fight to the end. ...
“(Friday’s win) gives us a lot of confidence. Like off the chart confidence going into next week. Like Coach Adams said, they’ve had our number for the last few years, and now we feel like we can beat anyone that you can throw at us right now.”
STORM PREPARE FOR PLAYOFFS
Southern Guilford finally gets a week off this week, after grinding through an injury-plagued regular season and an 0-3 start. Over the last five weeks, though, it has won four games and positioned itself well among the top four teams in the Mid-Piedmont 3A.
So, while everyone else jockeys for conference positioning and playoff seeds, the Storm (6-5, 4-2 MPC) will have it relatively easy.
“We’re going to take next week and kind of get refreshed,” coach Darryl Brown said. “It’s been a long stretch — 11 weeks of playing games, plus two scrimmages, where we haven’t had a break and the whole time are trying to piece things together. So, we’re going to take next week and get refreshed, reenergized and refocused a little bit. Then we’ll find out who we play next Saturday and get ready for them the following week.”
Southern has had a grueling regular season, but it has managed to figure out ways to win in spite of them. While it certainly helps to have a player like running back Reggie Gallaspy, who is one of the top threats in the area, it’s been an all-around stellar effort to reach this point.
“They’ve overcome a lot of adversity,” Brown said. “We’ve had things go on that a lot of people don’t know about, things that only the people inside our locker room know about. We lost several guys to injury, and guys have had to step up and do things that three months ago they weren’t even doing.
“So, I’m proud of our guys. They’re always willing to compete, do the things we asked them to do. We play a lot of young guys too. So, I think we’re getting better, and hopefully we’ve still got a few more wins in us this year.”
WHAT’S AT STAKE FRIDAY
T.W. Andrews, hosting Trinity on Friday, could sweep the PAC-6 2A for the second straight year — the first time a team’s done that back-to-back since Carver in 2009 and 2010. Meanwhile, while High Point Central is visiting Southwest Guilford, Bison fans may also keeping an eye on East Forsyth at Northwest Guilford. The three teams are locked in a three-way tie atop the Piedmont Triad 4A. So, the winner of Northwest/East would tie the Bison for the conference title if favored Central beats Southwest to claim its first conference title since winning the Tri-County 3A in 2004. In the Central Carolina 2A, Thomasville will likely finish second while East Davidson, currently tied with Salisbury, faces first-place North Rowan and will likely finish third. In the Northwest 1A, Bishop McGuinness, facing last-place North Stokes, will lock up third with a win, behind the winner and loser of Friday’s East Surry-Mt. Airy showdown for the title. Beyond that, area teams will have to wait and see if they get a wild card. Also, in the NCISAA Division II, sixth-seeded High Point Christian makes its second straight playoff appearance at No. 3 Christ School.