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Beyond the Scoreboard: Football conference races in focus with 2 weeks left in season

FRANKLIN AT BREVARD.transfer_frame_1596.jpg
Photo credit: WLOS Staff

Five football teams that are ranked in the WNC/WLOS.com Top 10 Poll have a couple of other things in common - all are undefeated in conference play and alone in first place, each controls its destiny and all five can clinch at least a share of their league's regular-season title by winning on Friday night.

With two weeks left in the regular season, the conference races are in clear shape - as long as the current first-place teams win out.

A closer look at each of the five races in which WNC teams currently reside in first place include:

Western Mountain Athletic 3A

Top-ranked Reynolds (8-1, 6-0) is on its way to a fourth straight league title, and with a current 32-game winning streak against conference opponents, it would be shocker if the Rockets don't complete the sweep by beating West Henderson and Roberson in their last two games.

Erwin (7-1, 5-1), Asheville High (5-4, 4-2) and Tuscola (6-3, 4-2) are all technically still alive for the title, but that's little more than elimination mathematics. Reynolds will earn at least a share of the WMAC crown with a win at West Henderson on Friday night.

Mountain Six 2A

The mountains' most competitive league is going to be fun to watch the next two Friday nights, with five legitimate contenders. This could easily end up in a two-, three- or even four-way tie at the top.

No.2 Pisgah (8-1, 3-0) is in first place, with No. 9 Brevard (7-2, 2-1) and Franklin (6-3, 2-1) just a game back. Hendersonville (5-4, 1-2) and Smoky Mountain (6-3, 1-2) would need a lot of help to get to the top spot.

While the Bears are in control now, they have to win two tough road games (at Franklin this week, at Brevard next week) to win the MSC outright.

If Pisgah loses at Franklin and Brevard beats Hendersonville on Friday night, there would be a three-way tie for first heading into the final week. A win at Franklin on Friday night clinches at least a share of the regular-season crown for Pisgah.

Western Highlands 2A

Much like another team that wears green (Reynolds), the sixth-ranked Cougars (7-1, 3-0) are in great shape to earn a league title for the fourth straight year.

Remaining games at Polk County (a MY 40 telecast on Friday night) and at home to Avery Country are against teams that are last and next-to-last in the league. A victory at Polk County clinches at least a share of the championship for the Cougars.

Mitchell (7-2, 2-1) and Owen (3-5, 2-1) are tied for second.

Smoky Mountain 1A

Having dispatched with contenders Swain (49-7 and Robbinsville (27-14), No. 3 Murphy (8-1, 4-0) have a clear path to the title after sharing it last season with Swain and Cherokee.

Murphy has home games left against Rosman and Cherokee, and should take care of both. Swain (5-4, 4-1) hosts Robbinsville (7-2, 3-1) Friday night in what is likely the battle for second place. A win against Rosman will clinch a share of the SMC crown for the Bulldogs.

Southern Piedmont 1A

Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy (9-0, 5-0) has been the class of this league all season, and can claim the outright title with wins against Mountain Island Charter and Union Academy the last two weeks.

Bessemer City (5-4, 4-1) and Mountain Island Charter (7-2, 4-1) are in second place. Thomas Jefferson can clinch a share of the title by beating Mountain island Charter on Friday night.

Care to comment? Contact keithjarrettasheville@gmail.com

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