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Nick Stevens

Nick Stevens

Nick Stevens, a Raleigh native, is the senior editor of HighSchoolOT.com. Nick has covered high school sports for WRAL since 2006, and helped create what is now HighSchoolOT.com. In his blog, Nick provides insight and analysis on area high school sports teams, players and topics. He also provides his opinion on numerous issues surrounding high school sports. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStevensHSOT. You can contact Nick by clicking here or by sending an e-mail to nstevens@wral.com.

Chapel Hill's improbable run providing great experience


Dec 5, 2014

Chapel Hill's Connor Stough (10) keeper. Chapel Hill visits Southern Durham in the third round of the NCHSAA 4-AA state football playoffs.   Chapel Hill wins, 39-28, to advance to the next round. Friday November 28,  2014, Durham NC. 
(Photo: Karl Fisher / WRAL contributor)

Chapel Hill's Connor Stough (10) keeper. Chapel Hill visits Southern Durham in the third round of the NCHSAA 4-AA state football playoffs. Chapel Hill wins, 39-28, to advance to the next round. Friday November 28, 2014, Durham NC. (Photo: Karl Fisher / WRAL contributor)

I like to take credit when I pick upsets, but I didn't pick Chapel Hill to make it to the fourth round of the state playoffs.

The Tigers didn't listen to me though, and now they find themselves in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-AA Eastern Regional Final – as the No. 12 seed.

It was improbable, there's no question about that. Chapel Hill came out of a 3-AA East bracket that was arguably the toughest region in all of the 3-A class. And the Tigers haven't had a single home playoff game. All the wins have come on the road.

Chapel Hill dominated West Brunswick in the first round 42-14, then traveled to Fayetteville to face Cape Fear Valley Conference champion Terry Sanford in the second round. The Tigers came away with a 23-20 win.

That set up a rematch with conference foe Southern Durham in the third round. The Spartans were the defending 3-AA state champions, undefeated, the favorites to win the East again, and had beaten Chapel Hill earlier in

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Wake County set for exciting regional final showdown


Dec 5, 2014

Wake Forest's Bryce Love (22). Millbrook visits Wake Forest in the third round of the NCHSAA 4-AA state football playoffs.   Wake Forest   advances to the next round with a win, 28-21. Friday November 28,  2014, Wake Forest NC. 
(Photo: Karl Fisher / WRAL contributor)

Wake Forest's Bryce Love (22). Millbrook visits Wake Forest in the third round of the NCHSAA 4-AA state football playoffs. Wake Forest advances to the next round with a win, 28-21. Friday November 28, 2014, Wake Forest NC. (Photo: Karl Fisher / WRAL contributor)

Wake County is the target of a lot of criticism from football fans in other parts of the state.

High school football fans in other parts of the state are quick to point out the fact that Wake County hasn't won a football state championship since 1987, and most of the Wake County teams who have made it to the title game in recent years have been beaten handily.

While Wake County football teams haven't won the number of state championships schools in Charlotte and surrounding areas have won, Wake County is making progress. In fact, I think it is safe to say Wake County dominates the 4-AA East. And it's not just because they play each other.

Millbrook defeated Jack Britt in the first round 43-35, then went on the road to Richmond County in the second round.

A lot of people assumed Richmond County would be the overwhelming favorite to represent the East in the 4-AA state championship because they didn't have to go to the West this year. Millbrook changed that.

The

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NCHSAA had no choice in Dudley case


Nov 12, 2014

Dudley's Trae Meadows (9) interception return during Dudley High Schools defeat of Hillside High School 12-9 on Friday September 12,  2014, Durham NC. 
(Photo: Karl Fisher / WRAL contributor)

Dudley's Trae Meadows (9) interception return during Dudley High Schools defeat of Hillside High School 12-9 on Friday September 12, 2014, Durham NC. (Photo: Karl Fisher / WRAL contributor)

From the outside looking in it might seem the N.C. High School Athletic Association's decision to remove No. 1 Dudley from the state playoffs is unfair. But it was the only choice the Executive Committee had.

Rules are proposed, discussed, and voted on by the NCHSAA Board of Directors, a board that is made up of administrators from member schools. The Eight Quarter Rule – which appears the be the rule at question here – is one of those rules.

Coaches from all over the state, at all different levels, use the Eight Quarter Rule. 256 teams qualified for the playoffs. One team had this issue. That means 255 others followed the rule without a problem, so it's not an issue with the rule itself.

Is this bad timing? Yes. Do you feel bad for the kids? Without question. But the NCHSAA had no choice but follow its own rules.

For

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What is the Eight Quarter Rule?


Nov 11, 2014

Hillside's Aaron Mccullough (8) and Hillside's Laurence Fogg (41) tackle Dudley's Hendon Hooker (1) during Dudley High Schools defeat of Hillside High School 12-9 on Friday September 12,  2014, Durham NC. 
(Photo: Karl Fisher / WRAL contributor)

Hillside's Aaron Mccullough (8) and Hillside's Laurence Fogg (41) tackle Dudley's Hendon Hooker (1) during Dudley High Schools defeat of Hillside High School 12-9 on Friday September 12, 2014, Durham NC. (Photo: Karl Fisher / WRAL contributor)

As the investigation into four ineligible players continues, more casual fans of high school football in North Carolina have asked the question, "What is the Eight Quarter Rule?"

The Eight Quarter Rule is a provision adopted by the N.C. High School Athletic Association that is intended to help schools in situations where they find themselves without much depth. The rule allows coaches to move freshmen and sophomore junior varsity players up to varsity in a back-up role.

According to the NCHSAA Handbook, "The intent of the rule is to give coaches some alternatives for junior varsity players (9th/10th graders only) to continue to gain valuable game experience at the junior varsity level and still be available as a backup player in the varsity games."

There are stipulations to the Eight Quarter Rule though.

A team may only use 12 players as Eight Quarter players during the course of the season, and the players must be pre-determined prior to dressing for the game.

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For Panther Creek, the key was defense


Oct 11, 2014

Brant Grisel (9) of the Middle Creek Mustangs.  Panther Creek High School traveled to Middle Creek High School and upset the home team on Homecoming defeating them with a score of 13 to 3.     (Photo by:  Suzie Wolf)

Brant Grisel (9) of the Middle Creek Mustangs. Panther Creek High School traveled to Middle Creek High School and upset the home team on Homecoming defeating them with a score of 13 to 3. (Photo by: Suzie Wolf)

We said it on HighSchoolOT Round Table this week. We said it on the pregame show on 620 The Buzz on Friday night. If Panther Creek was going to beat Middle Creek, they would have to do it with their defense.

During Friday's pregame show I said the biggest key for Panther Creek was not allowing the Mustangs to get off to a fast start. James Alverson added that the defense needed to create opportunities and capitalize on them.

All of this became reality.

Panther Creek held Middle Creek scoreless in the first half. In other words, they didn't allow Middle Creek the opportunity to get off to a fast start. It's hard to come back from behind against the Mustangs, but Panther Creek never trailed.

The Catamounts forced eight turnovers. Eight! That's the defense giving the offense opportunities. It also put the Middle Creek defense back on the field for extended periods of time.

And one of the Panther Creek turnovers was a pick six. Isaiah Laster grabbed a short

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