Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
WEEKLY WATCH: Loads of important sporting events coming up
0 Comments
top story

WEEKLY WATCH: Loads of important sporting events coming up

  • 0
{{featured_button_text}}
Justin Killian

Bunker Hill football player Justin Killian, 1, makes a solo tackle on North Iredell’s Dylan Goodson, 3, in a file photo from September.

There’s so much to write about this week with top-notch contests with conference title implications in football and boys soccer. Volleyball teams are positioning for state playoff berths. Also, one of the top cross country events in the region is on tap.

Here’s what’s coming up:

1) Maiden at Bunker Hill football (Friday)Fans of Bunker Hill football certainly know of the dominance of Maiden in the series between the two teams. For those who don’t, here is the scoop: the last time the Bears defeated Maiden was during the Bush administration. Specifically, it was a few months into the “Bush 41” administration when Bunker Hill earned a 24-8 win at Maiden in 1989. Since that victory, the Blue Devils have won 30 straight.

A season before, with Ronald Reagan preparing to leave the White House, the Bears defeated Maiden at home by a score of 24-12 for its first win over the Blue Devils since 1982. Since then, the Blue Devils have traveled to Claremont 16 times and left on the bus as winners.

This is the underlying story as the Blue Devils and Bears take to the field with the Catawba Valley 2A Conference lead on the line. It would be hard to argue that Friday night isn’t the biggest game for the Bears in decades.

It’s easy to call the Bunker Hill season a clichéd Cinderella story, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Yes, the Bears were 6-49 over five seasons from 2014 to 2018, but this emergence has been building for three seasons.

There was the upset at Bandys in 2019, when an 0-3 Bears team stood tall against the defending South Fork 2A Conference champions and a state quarterfinalist and came away with a 12-9 win. Later that season, the Bears used a last-minute touchdown to edge Draughn, which gave the Bears the Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference’s second automatic state playoff bid. Last spring, the Bears were blown out by Hibriten before blitzing the rest of the conference for another second-place finish. The year ended in a rout at Hendersonville, but clearly Patrick Clark had the Bears believing and the program ascending.

This season, Albert Reid has taken Bunker Hill further up the path of conference contender. After outlasting West Lincoln to start this month, Bunker Hill enters the week at 6-0 overall, 3-0 in the Catawba Valley 2A. The Bears play a makeup game tonight at East Burke before a short week of preparation to get ready to welcome Maiden.

For the most part, the Blue Devils (7-0, 4-0) have sprinted by everyone, scoring 40 or more in five of the seven games. But when it has had to, the Maiden defense has stepped up to make plays and that was the difference for a win in a hostile environment at West Lincoln. That could serve the Blue Devils well in front of a crowd in Claremont that wants to see the streak end.

For three seasons, the Bears have taken a step here and a step there to change the expectations of the program. However, this is a clear hurdle Bunker Hill wants to clear to begin talks of bigger things ahead.

2) Watauga at Hibriten football (Friday)Given how Watauga and Hibriten dominated their respective conferences the last four seasons, when the realignment put these two schools into the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference together for the next four years, the date of the first football match would be circled. At the end of Friday’s game, one will experience an unfamiliar outcome — a conference loss.

Watauga has won 22 straight conference games dating back to a 26-21 loss at St. Stephens on Oct. 13, 2017. It’s been a longer streak for Hibriten with 35 straight conference wins going back to a 22-20 loss to Patton on Oct. 30, 2015.

The last time these schools played was in a Northwestern 3A/4A game on Oct. 14, 2016. Watauga led by 13 at the half before the Panthers rallied to edge the Pioneers 28-27. That is the last time Hibriten has been challenged in a conference game. In fact, over the 30 games since that battle with the Pioneers, Hibriten has outscored conference opponents 1,524-139.

Given the recent years of success, both have shown vulnerabilities earlier this season before bouncing back. East Lincoln opened the season by blasting Hibriten, which also lost to South Caldwell in a nonconference tuneup, the first loss to a Caldwell County school since 2015. Roughed up defensively early, since allowing 42 in the loss to South Caldwell, the Panthers have given up 40 in the three games since.

Meanwhile, the Pioneers were blasted earlier this season by Maiden in their worst loss since 2012, followed by a loss to 1A power Mitchell. Since then, Watauga defeated a good Burns squad before routing Ashe County and South Caldwell.

Both teams are coming off wins from last week and both figure to get the league’s automatic bids — Watauga in 4A, Hibriten in 3A. But for conference championship pride, and to keep respective winning streaks alive, this game holds a lot of interest for fans.

3) United Way Invitational cross country (Wednesday)After skipping a year due to COVID-19 protocols, the area’s largest cross country meet resumes competition at Southside Park in Newton. According to NCmilesplit.com, 671 runners (351 boys, 320 girls) from 33 schools have registered to participate in the event.

The afternoon will feature three races for each gender. A mixed gender race begins at 2:40 p.m., followed by the boys invitational at 3:20 p.m. and the girls invitational at 4 p.m. Finally, the top racers for each school — up to seven runners — square off in the championship races. The boys compete at 4:40 p.m. with the girls starting at 5:20 p.m.

For the boys, the top seeded runner is Eli Julian of South Rowan (16:08.10). From among area conferences, Philip Riddle of North Iredell has the top seeded time and second overall (16:34.20). Grant Parham of Bandys (16:50.90) has the top seeded time among Catawba County runners and is seeded fourth overall.

Among the girls, Providence Day School has the top two runners by seed time, Morgan Boonshaft (17:56.90) and Carly Arrington (18:50.80). The top runner from area conferences is Patton’s Madison Clay (19:06.00), who is seeded fourth overall. Bandys’ Lauren Buckminster is the top Catawba County runner by seed (20:11.29), and she’s 12th overall.

Area schools expected to participate are Alexander Central, Bandys, Bunker Hill, East Burke, East Lincoln, Fred T. Foard, Freedom, Hibriten, Hickory, Hickory Christian Academy, Lincolnton, Maiden, Newton-Conover, North Iredell, Patton, South Caldwell, University Christian, West Iredell and West Lincoln.

4) Key volleyball matches

With state tournaments beginning Oct. 23, teams are making a final push to get into the field of 64 in their respective classification. Here is a quick look at each conference and some of this week’s key matches.

NOTE: 32 teams from the West Region will make the playoffs. Each conference has a set number of automatic bids. The remaining teams are set by the RPI rankings.

Northwestern 3A/4A (1 3A bid, 1 4A):

Among the three 4A schools, Watauga (14-4 overall, 7-0 Northwestern 3A/4A) leads Alexander Central by two games with three matches to play. A Pioneers win or a Cougars loss will wrap up the automatic bid. At No. 13 in the West rankings, Alexander Central (11-3, 5-2) looks to be a sure bet for the state tournament.

In 3A, Ashe County (3-5, 2-4) stayed alive for the automatic bid with a five-set win at Hibriten (13-7, 5-2). With two wins, the Panthers can sew up the 3A slot, but two of their three matches left are at Watauga (today) and at Alexander Central (Wednesday) this week. Meanwhile, Ashe County has two matches against Freedom — winless in conference — and South Caldwell (3-11, 2-5). The bid could come down to next Monday, when Ashe County goes to Watauga and Hibriten wraps up against South Caldwell. Currently, Ashe County’s RPI is No. 25 and Hibriten is No. 30.

Western Foothills 3A (2 bids)

With a sweep of East Lincoln (11-4 overall, 8-3 Western Foothills 3A), Fred T. Foard (18-2, 11-1) has already wrapped up an automatic bid in the state playoffs. North Iredell (16-1, 11-1) can officially join the party with a win over visiting East Lincoln today. Foard is ranked No. 1 and North Iredell No. 2 and it appears that league’s top bid could be settled in a potential conference tournament title match next week.

East Lincoln (No. 9), Hickory (No. 12, 11-7, 7-5) and North Lincoln (No. 19, 8-10, 4-8) appear to be comfortably off the bubble. St. Stephens (No. 29, 6-13, 3-9) may need a win or two this week, or in the conference tournament. The Indians play at Statesville (2-17, 1-11) today, then close out Wednesday vs. Foard.

Catawba Valley 2A (2 bids)

With two matches left, Maiden (13-7 overall, 12-0 Catawba Valley 2A) and Bandys (13-6, 10-2) have clinched the two state playoff spots with the Blue Devils going in as the top seed from the league.

At this point, unless another team wins the conference tournament, those two schools may be it for the league. West Lincoln (11-10, 6-6) is ranked 36th, Newton-Conover (8-7, 7-5) is 37th and Bunker Hill (7-10, 6-6) is 38th.

Newton-Conover will host Bunker Hill on Tuesday, then both will have a shot at one of the top dogs on Thursday: Newton-Conover will host Maiden, while Bunker Hill goes to Bandys. West Lincoln goes to East Burke Tuesday and hosts Lincolnton Thursday.

Mountain Foothills 7 2A (2 bids)

Brevard (12-4 overall, 9-1 Mountain Foothills 7 2A) can wrap up the conference title with a win at Hendersonville (8-6, 6-3) on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Hendersonville and Patton (13-3, 6-3) are tied for second. Those two schools play in Morganton on Thursday. Regardless of who finishes second, both appear to be comfortably off the bubble.

Other schools that look to be in are R-S Central (12, 14-7, 6-5) and Polk County (24, 8-11, 5-5).

Western Highlands 1A/2A (1 1A, 1 2A bid)

Among the 1A schools, Rosman (13-1 overall, 9-0 Western Highlands 1A/2A) has clinched the league’s top bid and can wrap up the conference title with a win at Avery County today. Draughn (13-6, 8-3) is 16th in the 1A West RPI and wraps up the regular season at Mountain Heritage (6-11, 5-5), which is fighting for its own bid, currently ranked No. 32.

Owen (8-8, 6-4) will take the conference’s only 2A bid.

5) Western Foothills 3A soccer log jam

Hickory at Fred T. Foard (Thursday)

Foard currently leads the Western Foothills 3A at 6-0 with Hickory in second at 5-1-1. Those two will make up a match that was postponed last week. Meanwhile....

Fred T. Foard at North Iredell (today)

.... North Iredell is in third at 6-2 and will host the Tigers today. Foard edged the Raiders in the conference opener last month. This is a week during which Foard has a chance to create space for the conference championship. However, don’t leave out....

East Lincoln at Hickory boys soccer (today)

.... East Lincoln, which is fourth at 6-2-1. The Mustangs punched Hickory 4-1 in the second match of the conference season. Since then, the Red Tornadoes have allowed four goals over the last five matches. East Lincoln (7-5-2) split a pair of conference matches with North Iredell (loss) and North Lincoln (win) last week and tied current unbeaten Lincolnton in a nonconference match. And don’t sleep on....

North Iredell at St. Stephens (Wednesday)

.... St. Stephens, which is fifth at 3-2-2. The Indians already own a tie against Hickory and East Lincoln this season. They’ll need to start picking up wins against the upper-echelon teams and get a matchup against one at home Wednesday against the Raiders.

6) Lincolnton at Newton-Conover boys soccer (today)

So much going this week, but there needs to be a few words on this match, which could wrap up the Catawba Valley 2A title.

Lincolnton (9-0-2, 7-0 Catawba Valley 2A) is currently one of two unbeaten teams in the 2A class across the state and is ranked first in the 2A West Region. Last month, the Wolves finally got the long-awaited win against Newton-Conover. Their 4-1 win was the Wolves first over the Red Devils since 2011.

However, Newton-Conover (8-6-1, 7-1) hasn’t gone away and has won six straight since. A tough nonconference schedule may serve the Red Devils well and they’ll get a chance to show what they’ve learned in the rematch tonight at home.

A win by Lincolnton would send the Wolves on the way to the conference title. A win by Newton-Conover would definitely keep it in the mix.

HIGH SCHOOL VARSITY SCHEDULE:

(Schedules listed are taken from information provided by the conference secretaries, athletic departments of individual schools, from information published by the schools on its websites, or on MaxPreps.com. Schedules are subject to change without notice. Volleyball times are approximate, as they often follow JV matches. Contact the school for information on ticket policies and to confirm time of the event.)

WEEK OF OCT. 11-16

MONDAY, OCT. 11

FOOTBALL

Western Foothills 3A

North Iredell at Hickory, 7 p.m.

Catawba Valley 2A

Bunker Hill at East Burke, 6:30 p.m.

BOYS SOCCER

Northwestern 3A/4A

Freedom at Alexander Central, 6 p.m.

Hibriten at South Caldwell, 6 p.m.

Western Foothills 3A

East Lincoln at Hickory, 4:30 p.m.

St. Stephens at West Iredell, 5 p.m.

Fred T. Foard at North Iredell, 5:30 p.m.

Catawba Valley 2A

Maiden at West Lincoln, 5 p.m.

Lincolnton at Newton-Conover, 6 p.m.

West Caldwell at Bunker Hill, 6 p.m.

Western Highlands 1A/2A

Draughn at Avery County, 5:30 p.m.

GIRLS TENNIS

Northwestern 3A/4A

Freedom at Watauga, 4 p.m.

South Caldwell at Hibriten, 4 p.m.

VOLLEYBALL

Northwestern 3A/4A

Freedom at Ashe County, 5:30 p.m.

Hibriten at Watauga, 5:30 p.m.

Alexander Central at South Caldwell, 6 p.m.

Western Foothills 3A

St Stephens at Statesville, 5:30 p.m.

TUESDAY, OCT. 12

GIRLS TENNIS CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS

Northwestern 3A/4A

3A Tournament at Freedom

4A Tournament at Watauga

Western Foothills Athletic 3A at North Lincoln

Catawba Valley Athletic 2A at Maiden

Mountain Foothills 7 2A at Brevard College

Western Highlands 1A/2A at Owen

CROSS COUNTRY

Western Highlands 1A/2A at Asheville Christian, Swannanoa (Owen hosts), 5 p.m.

GIRLS GOLF

Support Local Journalism

Your subscription makes our reporting possible.
{{featured_button_text}}

Western Foothills 3A at Cowen’s Ford, Stanley (East Lincoln hosts), 3 p.m.

BOYS SOCCER

Catawba Valley 2A

Bandys at East Burke, 5 p.m.

VOLLEYBALL

Western Foothills 3A

Hickory at Fred T. Foard, 5:30 p.m.

Catawba Valley 2A

Bandys at West Caldwell, 5 p.m.

Bunker Hill at Newton-Conover, 5 p.m.

Lincolnton at Maiden, 5 p.m.

West Lincoln at East Burke, 5:30 p.m.

Mountain Foothills 7 2A

Chase at Patton, 6 p.m.

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 13

GIRLS TENNIS CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS

Western Foothills Athletic 3A at North Lincoln

Catawba Valley Athletic 2A at Maiden

CROSS COUNTRY

Northwestern 3A/4A

Alexander Central, Watauga at South Caldwell, 5 p.m.

Ashe County at Freedom at Hibriten, 5 p.m.

Nonconference

United Way Invitational at Southside Park, Newton, 2:40 p.m.

BOYS SOCCER

Northwestern 3A/4A

Alexander Central at Ashe County, 6 p.m.

Freedom at Hibriten, 6 p.m.

Watauga at South Caldwell, 6 p.m.

Western Foothills 3A

North Iredell at St. Stephens, 6 p.m.

West Iredell at Fred T. Foard, 5:30 p.m.

Hickory at North Lincoln, 6:30 p.m.

Catawba Valley 2A

Bunker Hill at West Lincoln, 5 p.m.

West Caldwell at Maiden, 5 p.m.

East Burke at Newton-Conover, 6 p.m.

Lincolnton at Bandys, 6 p.m.

Mountain Foothills 7 2A

East Rutherford at Patton, 6 p.m.

Western Highlands 1A/2A

Draughn at Mitchell, 5 p.m.

VOLLEYBALL

Northwestern 3A/4A Conference

Freedom at Watauga, 5:30 p.m.

South Caldwell at Ashe County, 5:30 p.m.

Hibriten at Alexander Central, 6 p.m.

Western Foothills 3A

Fred T. Foard at St. Stephens, 5:30 p.m.

Statesville at Hickory 5:30 p.m.

Mountain Foothills 7 2A

East Rutherford at Patton, 6 p.m.

THURSDAY, OCT. 14

BOYS SOCCER

Western Foothills 3A

Hickory at Fred T. Foard, 5:30 p.m.

Catawba Valley 2A

Bunker Hill at Lincolnton, 6:30 p.m.

Western Highlands 1A/2A

Owen at Draughn 6 p.m.

Nonconference

Kings Mountain at Alexander Central, 6:30 p.m.

GIRLS TENNIS

Northwestern 3A/4A

Alexander Central at Freedom, 4 p.m.

VOLLEYBALL

Catawba Valley 2A

Maiden at Newton-Conover, 5 p.m.

Bunker Hill at Bandys, 5:30 p.m.

East Burke at West Caldwell, 6 p.m.

Mountain Foothills 7 2A

Hendersonville at Patton, 6 p.m.

Western Highlands 1A/2A

Draughn at Mountain Heritage, 6 p.m.

FRIDAY, OCT. 15

FOOTBALL

Northwestern 3A/4A

Ashe County at Freedom, 7:30 p.m.

South Caldwell at Alexander Central, 7:30 p.m.

Watauga at Hibriten, 7:30 p.m.

Western Foothills 3A

Hickory at West Iredell, 7 p.m.

North Lincoln at Fred T. Foard, 7 p.m.

St. Stephens at East Lincoln, 7 p.m.

Catawba Valley 2A

East Burke at Lincolnton, 7:30 p.m.

Maiden at Bunker Hill, 7:30 p.m.

West Caldwell at West Lincoln, 7:30 p.m.

Mountain Foothills 7 2A

Brevard at Patton, 7:30 p.m.

Western Highlands 1A/2A

Rosman at Draughn, 7:30 p.m.

BOYS SOCCER

Nonconference

Forest Hills at Newton-Conover, 5:30 p.m.

VOLLEYBALL

Catawba Valley 2A

West Caldwell at East Burke, 5 p.m.

SATURDAY, OCT. 16

FOOTBALL

Catawba Valley 2A

Newton-Conover at Bandys, 7 p.m.

0 Comments

Get in the game with our Prep Sports Newsletter

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News

News Alert