The N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-AA final four is set and it's 2010 all over again. Northern Guilford will travel east to face Hunt in the Eastern final while Shelby Crest heads over to Charlotte Catholic in the Western final.
Last season the lower seeds — Northern Guilford and Crest — prevailed and played a memorable state final under the lights in Raleigh's Carter-Finley Stadium. The Nighthawks won 21-20 after Crest's Shine Bowl kicker Trever Austin missed a potential game-tying extra point with seconds to play — the only one Austin missed all season.
In the 2010 semifinals, Mideast fifth-seeded Northern Guilford built a 28-7 halftime lead at East top-seeded Hunt then held on for a 28-20 win while Crest, the West No. 3, blasted Midwest No. 2 Charlotte Catholic 31-10.
Right now it's hard to say how Friday (which will be Black Friday for two teams) is going to turn out but I have to think Catholic and Northern Guilford are the early favorites. The winners will meet in the 3-AA championship game Friday (that's right, Friday), Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in UNC's Kenan Stadium.
On a side note, the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference still has its top two teams alive as Kinston slipped past Bunn 47-46 in overtime in the 2-AA East final Friday night while two-time defending 2-A champion Tarboro eked by Edenton Holmes 28-26 in the 2-A East final. The EPC champion Vikings of Kinston host perennial power Reidsville on Friday while the Vikings of Tarboro visit South Columbus.