The News & Record’s Joe Sirera looks at some high school football players who will be in the spotlight in Friday night's games:
ALSTON HOOKER, senior, QB, Ragsdale
The Dudley transfer has emerged as an efficient leader for the Tigers' offense. Hooker accounted for four touchdowns Friday in a 35-20 win over Northwest Guilford. He doesn't have to force things when Ragsdale visits top-ranked Grimsley on Friday night in a matchup for first place in the Metro 4-A Conference, but he has to avoid turnovers and handle the heat he'll get from the Whirlies' defense.
JORDAN McINNIS, sophomore, RB, Northern Guilford
McInnis is coming off a game in which he accounted for two of the Nighthawks' touchdowns — one rushing and one receiving — in a 26-3 win over Rockingham County. He is part of a deep Northern running backs corps and leads the group with eight touchdowns. If McInnis, Rakeem Murchison and Nyles Mosley are running effectively Friday night against Morehead, it will make life much easier for QB Will Lenard.
JADEN ROGERS, senior, QB, Southwest Guilford
Rogers threw two touchdown passes in Friday's 45-6 win over Western Guilford and has settled into the starting role for the Cowboys. He'll face the best defensive line he's seen this year when Southwest plays host to Dudley in a huge Piedmont Triad 3-A Conference game. If Rogers can handle the pressure and the pounding the Panthers inflict on opposing quarterbacks, he'll have a chance to make some plays downfield to DeAnthony Butchee, Caleb Curtain and Quantez Poche.
JOHN SAUNDERS, senior, QB or WR, High Point Christian
Whether Saunders is playing quarterback or he's on the receiving end of Luke Homol's passes if Homol is healthy enough to play, he'll have a big impact on the Cougars' first-round NCISAA Division II playoff game against Raleigh Wake Christian. Saunders has completed 38 of 62 passes for 415 yards and five touchdowns, rushed for 223 yards and four touchdowns and caught 38 passes for 717 yards and 15 TDs. He also has four interceptions — including a pick-six — and 178 return yards.