19 WNC football teams make playoffs; Mitchell the only No. 1 seed

MITCHELL AT OWEN.transfer_frame_1474.jpg
Mitchell at Owen. (Photo: WLOS staff)

A No. 1 seed and three teams seeded No. 2 are among the highlights of the NC High School Athletic Association brackets released Saturday, which includes 18 WNC schools among the 224 schools selected for postseason play.

First-round play begins Friday, with weekly advancement for the winners until the eight state championship games on December 9, 2017.

The four classes are subdivided into eight divisions for the playoffs--the 4A and 1A classes have 48 teams each and the 3A and 2A brackets include 64 teams apiece.

The complete brackets can be seen here.

Mitchell High (10-1), a No. 1 seed in the 1-A West region, and No. 2 Cherokee (10-1) were the only local schools to receive first-round byes. They will begin play Nov. 17.

Reynolds (10-1) in the 3A West and Mountain Heritage (10-0) in the 2A West received No. 2 seeds.

Franklin (11-0) is a three seed in the 2AA West, and Hendersonville (8-3) got a No. 3 seed in the 2A West. Swain (7-4) is No. 5 seed and defending 1-A champion Murphy (9-2) is a No. 6 seed in the 1AA West.

The complete listing of WNC teams and their games on Nov. 10:

  • ** 3AA West – No. 15 Parkland (6-5) at No. 2 Reynolds (10-1)
  • No. 9 Asheville (7-4) at No. 8 Watauga (9-2)
  • No. 11 Erwin (6-4) at No. 6 Brown (9-2)
  • *3A West – No. 14 Tuscola (7-4) at No. 3 Robinson (7-4)
  • **2A West - No. 15 Lexington Senior (6-4) at No. 2 Mountain Heritage (10-0)
  • No. 14 Brevard (6-5) at No. 3 Hendersonville (8-3)
  • No. 9 East Montgomery (9-2) at No. 8 East Rutherford (7-4)
  • ** 2AA West – No. 14 Smoky Mountain (5-6) at No. 3 Franklin (11-0)
  • No. 11 Pisgah (6-5) at No. 6 Wilkes Central (9-2)
  • ** 1A West – No. 1 Mitchell (bye)
  • No. 2 Cherokee (bye)
  • No. 12 Rosman (2-9) at No. 5 Robbinsville (7-4)
  • No. 11 Hayesville (3-8) at No. 7 Union Academy (7-4)
  • *1AA West – No. 12 Cherryville (4-7) at No. 5 Swain County (7-4)
  • No. 11 South Stanly (5-6) at No. 6 Murphy (9-2)
  • No. 9 Polk County (7-4) at No. 8 North Rowan (8-3)

State championships will be held on December 9, 2017. 1A and 1AA state championships will be held at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, 2A and 2AA state championships will be held at Chapel Hill’s Kenan Stadium, 3A and 3AA state championships will be held at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, and 4A and 4AA state championships will be held at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem.

November-December success

Those who follow high-school football know this to be true--when the leaves turn colors and the air grows cold, it’s time for the Smoky Mountain 1-A Conference to shine.

The league has long been a hall of champions, claiming 32 state titles by five different schools since 1969.

The other 25 WNC public school programs have combined to win nine state titles – Reynolds has three, Pisgah has two state championships and Tuscola, Franklin, Brevard and Asheville High have one each.

And recently, the SMC has been just as good in games in November and December.

Over the past 10 years, the three SMC powerhouses – Robbinsville (13 overall state titles since ‘69) Murphy (eight) and Swain (eight) – are WNC’s top three schools in playoff wins.

Murphy is 30-7 in that span, with an 18-3 mark in the past five seasons. In that 10-year run, coach David Gentry’s program has won three state championships and played in the title game two other times.

Swain is 22-9 in postseason play since 2007, 12-5 in the last five years, with a state championship and another title-game appearance included.

Robbinsville (18-9, 10-4) has also been a successful playoff program, including running the table with a 16-0 record in 2014 and playing in another state title game.

Murphy not only has the most wins, best percentage and more state titles over the past five and 10 years, it also owns the longest streak of playoff appearances.

This year marks the 25th consecutive year the brackets have included Murphy.

Asheville High is second with 22 straight appearances, followed by Swain (19), and Franklin, Hendersonville and Polk County (18 each).