The NCHSAA has released unofficial brackets for its 1-A and 3-A football playoffs. The 2-A and 4-A should be up soon. All of these are subject to final review and recent history indicates some changes will be made.
But for now, here's what it means for area teams. Unbeaten Hunt, the No. 1 seed in the 3-AA East region and East bracket, will host West Brunswick (4-6) in the first round. If the Warriors win, they'll play the winner between No. 5 Nash Central (8-2) and No. 4 Gray's Creek (9-1) in the next round. Hunt has the homefield advantage all the way to the 3-AA Eastern final if it keeps winning.
Southern Nash (7-3), No. 7 in the East, visits No. 2 Triton (9-1) in the first round. No. 3 Cardinal Gibbons (9-1) and No. 6 D.H. Conley (7-3) are in the other half of the bracket.
In the 3-A East, Fike (4-6) got the No. 5 seed and will visit No. 4 West Carteret (7-3). The winner gets No. 1 Havelock (10-0), unless the Rams stumble against No. 8 Hertford County (4-6) in the first round.
The rest of the 3-A East bracket is No. 7 Washington (4-5) and No. 2 Currituck County (7-3) and No. 6 Jacksonville White Oak (5-5) at No. 3 South Brunswick (7-3).
My take is that the 3-AA East is very tough. Hunt won't have a cakewalk this time, not that they did last fall but the Warriors weren't seriously tested until the third round. They'll get all they want in the second round with either Nash Central or Gray's Creek. And down at the bottom of the Mideast bracket as the No. 2 seed is defending 3-AA champion Northern Guilford, which ended Hunt's run in Wilson last December.
Fike has a good chance to win a playoff game but the Golden Demons will have a major chore in taking down Havelock, coached by former Greene Central head coach Jim Bob Bryant. Still, if Fike ends up 1-1 in the postseason and 5-7 on the year, that's not too shabby considering they just went 4-18 the past two seasons.