Both local teams from the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference achieved their goals for the final week of the 2016 regular season on Friday night.
Surry Central kept its magical 2016 season going and captured the outright championship of the WPAC with a 26-21 victory over West Stokes in King. The Wildcats had taken the lead with just 77 seconds left in the game, but the Golden Eagles calmly took the ball and drove for the winning touchdown on a two-yard run by Riley Dockery with just eight seconds remaining in the contest.
It was the sixth time this season that Surry Central (10-1, 5-0 WPAC) had come back to win a game in which it trailed in the fourth quarter. It also kept the Eagles’ hopes of a No. 1 overall seed in the 2A West Regional alive, since the team’s only loss came in a non-conference game. Central can therefore drop that loss for playoff seeding purposes, and will be treated as if it were 10-0.
Meanwhile, North Surry found itself in a similar spot to a year ago, needing a victory over Forbush to secure a trip to the postseason party. However, this year was different. A year ago, the Greyhounds knew they would probably make it as an at-large team even if they lost, but this season, the team had been plagued by injuries and only held a 4-6 overall record. North needed that No. 3 spot in the conference unless it wanted to start basketball practice on Monday.
The teams went back and forth in a contest reminiscent of last year, with a tie and three lead changes, before North took the lead at 27-23 with seven minutes left. Forbush, which probably needed the win to make the playoffs itself, drove deep into Hound territory late in the game, but the North defense held escaped East Bend with the win and the No. 3 spot in the WPAC.
The teams will learn their playoff seeds next Saturday when the brackets are released by the NCHSAA. The regular season has been extended by a week due to teams needing to make up games in the East because of Hurricane Matthew.
See tomorrow’s issue of the Mount Airy News for full reports on both of these contests.