Three conference titles up for grabs in final week of football season


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — As if Senior Nights didn’t add enough hype to the final games of the regular season, six teams in our area have the chance to come home with a conference title Friday night.

The Trask Titans travel to Southwest Onslow High School to play against the Stallions. South is undefeated in the Coastal 8 while Trask has only one loss to Richlands. If Trask wins the game, they will share a third of the title. Coach Jonathan Taylor says the chance to add a conference crown to an already historic season is a great opportunity for his team.

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“We know the battle, it’s a tough uphill battle for us,” Coach Taylor said. “They have a great program and a great team. They present a lot of challenges for us. We’re excited about it and it’s really satisfying that the kids can see the value of what their hard work is getting them this year.”

Over in Columbus County, it’s a battle of two of the best in the Three Rivers Conference. The Whiteville Wolfpack have been putting up video game like numbers all season long. South Columbus is perfect on the season led by two former 5th Quarter Players of the Week and a lights out defense. Both coaches recognize this is a huge game and they are both excited to see who claims county bragging rights.

“It’s kind of been building up,” Whiteville Head Coach Luke Little said. “Ever since we lost the first conference game of the year to East Bladen we kind of had to fight our way to be in this position. It’s the way it should be between us, South Columbus and East Bladen.”

“Rivalry, competition and a conference championship,” South Columbus Head Coach Russell Dove said. “It’s not just one word it’s everything. It’s a culmination of everything you’ve worked for this season.”

If South wins, they take the conference outright. If Whiteville wins, it becomes a three-way tie between South, Whiteville and East Bladen.

Then there’s the game in Wilmington.

It may not be possible to hype up this game too much. Both teams are undefeated on the season, both teams have the chance to win the Three Rivers Conference outright and it’s already coined as the biggest rivalry in Wilmington.

New Hanover features another explosive offense and a very opportunistic defense that can make plays when needed.

Hoggard may be one of the most consistent teams in the state. They will work the clock and score touchdowns when needed and is also the toughest defense New Hanover has faced according to Wildcats Head Coach Earl Smith.

It’s the clash of the titans with everything on the line.

“We’ve got to continue to win the battle with the turnover ratio,” Coach Smith said. “We’ve got to play the defense that we’ve been playing. All aspects. That’s the other thing that we’ve been talking about. We’ve got to make sure our kicking game is perfect because those are the kind of things that can change a game very quickly especially a close game.”

“I think it’s whichever team shows up and executes,” Hoggard Head Coach Craig Underwood said. “We’ve got to execute in all phases of the game. Offense, defense and special teams need to play a really disciplined game. We’re really stressing that and the fundamentals of the game this week.”

The games begin at 7 p.m. across the Cape Fear and you can catch the highlights from all the conference title games as well as the rest of the rivalry week games on WWAY’s 5th Quarter at 11 p.m.