As we head toward the final night of the regular season for area high school football teams, the NCHSAA playoff picture is coming into focus. Here's what we see in each conference (team's conference record, overall record and Adjusted MaxPreps Ranking in its classification in parentheses):
In: Grimsley (3-0, 9-1, 15), Ragsdale (2-1, 4-6, 44)
Maybe: Page (2-1, 3-7, 49)
Out: Northwest Guilford (1-3, 3-7, 59), High Point Central (0-3, 0-10, 73)
Grimsley can clinch the Metro 4-A title Friday night with a win at Page, but even if the Whirlies lose they will be a high seed and should have a first-round bye in the Class 4-A playoffs. The only way Page's streak of 14 straight playoff appearances continues is if the Pirates pull a major upset at Marion Kirby Stadium. If they do and Ragsdale beats High Point Central as expected, the result would be a three-way tie for the title and a draw for seeding in the playoffs. If Grimsley wins and Ragsdale beats High Point Central, the Tigers qualify automatically as the conference runners-up by virtue of their victory over Page. Northwest Guilford and High Point Central finish their seasons Friday night.
In: Southeast Guilford (5-0, 7-3, 24)
Maybe: Eastern Guilford (3-2, 5-5, 59), Southern Guilford (2-3, 5-5, 62)
Southeast Guilford locked up the Mid-Piedmont 3-A title with back-to-back wins over Southern Alamance and Eastern Guilford. The Falcons will start the defense of their 2018 Class 3-AA East title at home. Eastern Guilford and Southern Guilford are in a three-way battle with Williams for third place in the conference and meet Friday night at Southern. The winner is definitely in the playoffs, and the loser still has a shot depending on how things break in some other games.
In: Northeast Guilford (5-1, 8-2, 28), Northern Guilford (4-2, 7-3, 37), Morehead (1-5, 3-7, 81 in Class 2-A)
Out: Rockingham County (1-5, 2-8, 91), McMichael (0-6, 0-10, 109 in Class 2-A)
Northeast Guilford is an automatic qualifier as the conference runner-up behind Eastern Alamance, while Northern Guilford faces Western Alamance on Friday night in a battle for the third automatic bid from the Mid-State 3-A. Even if the Nighthawks don't win in Elon, they are a wild-card playoff team. The difference between third and fourth, though, might be a first-round home game. Morehead and McMichael are Class 2-AA teams playing in a split conference, so Morehead gets an automatic qualifier as the top finisher and a likely matchup with a No. 1 seed in the first round. Rockingham County will finish its season Friday night at Morehead.
PIEDMONT TRIAD 3-A
In: Dudley (3-1, 8-2, 9), Southwest Guilford (2-2, 6-4, 46)
Maybe: Western Guilford (1-3, 5-5, 69)
Out: Smith (0-4, 1-9, 92)
The worst Dudley can do if it beats Western Guilford on Friday night is a share of the conference title. If the Panthers win and Southwest Guilford beats Mount Tabor, the Panthers win the title outright regardless of what Parkland does by virtue of their victory over the Mustangs. In the event of a three-way tie among Dudley, Mount Tabor and Parkland, the Panthers would be the top seed from the conference because they won a blind draw. Southwest Guilford is in the playoffs and can still share the title if it beats Mount Tabor, but it would also need Western Guilford to beat Dudley and Smith to beat Parkland, and that is about as unlikely a scenario as you'll find in these projections. Western Guilford has made great strides this season, but the only way the Hornets get into the playoffs is if they upset Dudley and get some help elsewhere in the state. Smith could help Southwest Guilford by beating Parkland, but the Golden Eagles' season ends tonight.
In: Reidsville (3-0 Mid-State 2-A, 9-1, 12), East Forsyth (2-2 Central Piedmont 4-A, 8-2, 3), Glenn (3-1 Central Piedmont 4-A, 7-3, 18)
Out: Andrews (2-3 PAC 7 2-A, 5-5, 70), Bishop McGuinness (1-4 Northwest 1-A, 2-8, 55)
Reidsville can clinch the Mid-State 3-A title Friday night with a win at Bartlett Yancey, but will be a high seed in Class 2-A regardless of the outcome. Glenn can win the Central Piedmont 4-A with a victory over West Forsyth, but the Bobcats should get a first-round bye in Class 4-A regardless. East Forsyth won't win the Central Piedmont 4-A, but still is in position to get a first-round bye as it attempts to defend its 2018 Class 4-A title. Even if Andrews gets to 3-3 in the PAC 7 2-A with a win over Wheatmore, the best the Red Raiders can do is fourth in a conference that only gets two automatic qualifiers. Even a win over Winston-Salem Prep would not get Bishop McGuinness into the Class 1-A field.