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North Carolina high school football rankings: Zebulon B. Vance crowned 2020-21 HIGHSCORE Champion, finishes No. 1 - HIGHSCORE
North Carolina high school football rankings: Zebulon B. Vance crowned 2020-21 MaxPreps Champion, finishes No. 1
The high school football season in North Carolina has come to a close with eight teams claiming NCHSAA titles. Class 4AA champion Zebulon B. Vance was among the winners, defeating Rolesvile 35-14 in the final and finishing No. 1 in the final MaxPreps Top 25 state computer rankings.

That victory, coupled with its 10-1 record and tremendous play this season, makes Vance the 2020-21 MaxPreps Champion for the state of North Carolina.

Quarterback Austin Grier, voted the title game's MVP, threw for 200 yards and three touchdowns, two going to Asuani Allen in the third quarter to put the game away. It was the second straight 4AA championship for the Cougars, who piled up 531 total yards, including 331 on the ground. Jalen Swindell was named the game’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player by recording a sack and six tackles. His team gave up 67 total yards.

Sophomore Dylan Smothers rushed 12 times for 97 yards and a touchdown and teammate Joseph Morris added 86 yards rushing on 11 carries.

The Cougars, who finished the season outscoring opponents 435-125, repeated as champions for the first time in school history. It will be the last time the school is called Vance, changing its name to Julius Chambers, a civil rights leader, in the summer. As an inspiration throughout the season, the Cougars used the social media hashtag, #TheLastVance.

“We’re a humble team, but we’re a confident team,” Vance coach Glenwood Ferebee told the Charlotte Observer. “We feel like every time (we) go out and do what (we’re) supposed to do, we can win. Our biggest obstacle was us and it’s going to always be us. As long as we can take care of business, with talent we have and the coaching staff we have, I think we’ll be fine for next 2-3 years.”

Of the seven other teams crowned champions, Grimsley (10-0), Mount Tabor (11-0), Reidsville (10-0) and Tarboro (9-0) all finished unbeaten. It took great resolve to finish this first spring season after postponing the traditional fall season due to the pandemic.
Asuani Allen running the ball for Vance in its 4AA championship win over Rolesvile on Saturday at North Carolina State's Finley Stadium.
Photo by Tom Masters
Asuani Allen running the ball for Vance in its 4AA championship win over Rolesvile on Saturday at North Carolina State's Finley Stadium.
2020-21 NCHSAA state champions

Class 4AA — Zebulon B. Vance (Charlotte)
Class 4A — Grimsley (Greensboro)
Class 3AA — Mount Tabor (Winston-Salem)
Class 3A — Charlotte Catholic (Charlotte)
Class 2AA — Salisbury
Class 2A — Reidsville
Class 1AA — Tarboro
Class 1A — Murphy

Final North Carolina MaxPreps Top 25

# School Rec. Str. +/-
1ZBVHS (Charlotte)10-134.2--
2Grimsley (Greensboro)10-026.6--
3MTHS (Winston-Salem)11-026.1--
4Weddington (Matthews)6-129.0--
5CCHS (Charlotte)9-130.6+4
6Reidsville10-09.3+4
7Hough (Cornelius)8-129.7-2
8DWBHS (Matthews)8-225.3-1
9Cleveland (Clayton)10-119.6-1
10Havelock10-114.8-4
11Tarboro9-05.7+3
12CGHS (Raleigh)9-121.1-1
13Myers Park (Charlotte)9-125.1--
14Rolesville8-123.6-2
15Salisbury9-215.2+6
16Lake Norman (Mooresville)5-226.3-1
17Dudley (Greensboro)8-218.7--
18Monroe7-328.1+2
19CCHS (Charlotte)6-117.6-3
20Ardrey Kell (Charlotte)6-221.1-1
21West Forsyth (Clemmons)4-118.4-3
22EFHS (Kernersville)3-439.5+5
23Glenn (Kernersville)5-229.5+1
24Davie (Mocksville)5-224.4+2
25Mallard Creek (Charlotte)4-327.0-2
High school football: Unconventional Arkansas coach that never punts lands college head coaching gig - HIGHSCORE
High school football: Unconventional Arkansas coach that never punts lands college head coaching gig
Kevin Kelley approached and accomplished things on the high school football field few have ever done. The Pulaski Academy (Little Rock, Ark.) head football coach announced Thursday he was leaving his post to take the same job at NCAA FCS program Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C.

The nine-time state champion has earned national attention for his statistical-driven, no-punt, high risk-high reward approach while piling up head-spinning numbers at the small (1,221 enrollment K-12), private, independent school in central Arkansas.

The 51-year-old's revolutionary offenses and methods were featured on segments of 60 Minutes, HBO's Real Sports and NFL Films and he once was a guest speaker at MIT. He was a pioneer of analytics in the high school game.

In 18 seasons, he boasted a record of 216-29-1 and was recently inducted into the Arkansas Hall of Fame.

His rise in fame coincided with the invention of numbers-driven MaxPreps.com and he quickly became the poster coach for entering team and individual statistics. His teams often ranked near or at the top of all offensive categories.
Kevin Kelley, Pulaski Academy
File photo by Rickey Miller
Kevin Kelley, Pulaski Academy
Among the Bruins' remarkable feats since 2004:

* Scoring more than 600 points 13 times and at least 700 seven times, topped out at 790 in 2019 and 789 in 2011.

* That 2011 squad was his only team to finish 15-0. Three other times the Bruins went unbeaten including his final season in 2020 (13-0), the only time they finished No. 1 in the MaxPreps Arkansas computer rankings. They finished ranked second in 2008, 2016 and 2019 and No. 3 in 2011.

* In all but one season (2009), they averaged more than 500 yards per game, while once clearing the 600-yard plateau in 2019. That year, they averaged a ridiculous 648 yards, 439 through the air and 209 on the ground.

* Average yards per game per year since 2010: 529, 537, 513, 556, 516, 581, 550, 571, 597, 648 and 579.

* Points per game since 2014: 50.2, 50.8, 47.8, 56.0, 50.2, 56.4 and 50.7.

* In a 2017 game, the Bruins pilled up what was then a national record 991 total yards during an 86-56 win over Little Rock Christian Academy. Layne Hatcher set a state record with 745 yards passing to go along with nine touchdown passes.

Hatcher is one of the most prolific passers the country has ever seen. He's the state leader with 15,483 career passing yards.  But Hatcher is not nearly alone among Kelley's pupils.

A 2020 story by MaxPreps senior writer and historian Kevin Askeland highlighted that Kelley has coached 12 of the top 100 single-season passing yardage marks in history.
Layne Hatcher, Pulaski Academy's record-setting quarterback in 2017.
File photo
Layne Hatcher, Pulaski Academy's record-setting quarterback in 2017.


HIGHSCORE 2019-20 Boys Basketball Junior All-American Team - HIGHSCORE
MaxPreps 2019-20 Boys Basketball Junior All-American Team
Video: Paolo Banchero highlights
See MaxPreps Junior of the Year in action for O'Dea.

Highlighted by National Junior of the Year Paolo Banchero of O'Dea (Seattle), MaxPreps presents the 2019-20 Boys Basketball Junior All-American Team.

Selections are based on team success, individual production and local, regional and state honors from the recently-completed season. Potential at the college and professional level is not a primary consideration. Players in post-graduate or non-scholastic programs are not eligible for inclusion.

Past Juniors of the Year
2010 — Austin Rivers, Winter Park (Winter Park, Fla.)
2011 — Tony Parker, Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.)
2012 — Jabari Parker, Simeon (Chicago)
2013 — Stanley Johnson, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
2014 — Ben Simmons, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)
2015 — Jayson Tatum, Chaminade (St. Louis)
2016 — Kevin Knox, Tampa Catholic (Tampa, Fla.)
2017 — Zion Williamson, Spartanburg Day (Spartanburg, S.C.)
2018 — Vernon Carey Jr., University (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
2019 — Sharife Cooper, McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.)
Graphic by Ryan Escobar
First Team

Patrick Baldwin, Hamilton (Sussex, Wis.)
6-9 | Wing | Uncommitted

Averaged 24.2 points, 11.0 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game to lead the Chargers to Division 1 state quarterfinals before postseason play was halted.

NATIONAL JUNIOR OF THE YEAR
Paolo Banchero, O'Dea (Seattle)
6-9 | Forward | Uncommitted

Posted 22.7 points, 11.0 rebounds, four assists and two blocks per game to guide O'Dea to the 3A state title game. Currently ranked No. 4 in the Class of 2021, Banchero made a strong case for being the top ranked player in the class.

6-10 | Forward | Uncommitted
Averaged 23.2 points, 14.2 rebounds and 8.7 blocked shorts per game to lead the Lynx to the Division II Class A state title.

Jaden Hardy, Coronado (Henderson, Nev.)
6-4 | Guard | Uncommitted
MaxPreps Nevada Player of the Year averaged 30.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 8.4 assists per game to lead Coronado to a 19-9 record. Produced a 62-point game in which he led his team back from a 21-point deficit.

7-0 | Junior | Center | Uncommitted
The No. 2 prospect in the junior class had a big-time year headlined by 9 points, 10 rebounds and 12 blocks in a signature win over Sierra Canyon.

Second Team

6-7 | Wing | Uncommitted
Top 20 prospect averaged 13.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.3  assists and 1.7 steals per game to lead the Buffaloes to No. 4 national ranking.

6-6 | Guard | Uncommitted
Chicago Sun-Times All-Area selection averaged around 25 points and 11 rebounds per game to guide the Mustangs to a 20-9 record.

6-6 | Wing | Uncommitted
The 5-star prospect averaged 19.5 points, 10.9 rebounds and seven assists per contest to lead the Lions to their first Southwest Preparatory Conference title since 2007.

6-4 | Wing | Uncommitted
Last season's Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year averaged 34.8 points, 15.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.5 blocks per game to lead the Blue Jays to a 26-4 mark.

6-10 | Forward | Uncommitted
The Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Class AAAA North MVP had a strong junior campaign, leading the Patriots to the state semifinals before losing to eventual champion Woodward Academy (College Park).
Harrison Ingram, St. Mark's
Photo by Jim Redman
Harrison Ingram, St. Mark's
Third Team

6-10 | Center | Uncommitted
Averaged 25.6 points, 11.3 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game to guide the Comets to the 5A state semifinals before postseason play was canceled.

6-2 | Guard | Uncommitted
Alabama Gatorade Player of the Year averaged 34 points per game to lead Calhoun to its first state championship since 2003, hitting a game winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer in the title contest.

6-10 | Forward | Purdue
Guided the Braves to an impressive 23-3 record before postseason play was cut short. Furst averaged 22.1 points, 13.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.

6-5 | Guard | Uncommitted
Averaged 17.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game to help the Panthers to the VISAA Division I state title.

6-2 | Guard | Indiana
Courier & Press All-Metro co-Player of the Year averaged around 23 points, six rebounds and four assists per game to guide the Panthers to the IHSAA Class 4A state tournament before postseason play was canceled.
Trevor Keels, Paul VI
Photo by Randy Kemp
Trevor Keels, Paul VI
Honorable Mention

6-7 | Forward | Uncommitted
Top 100 prospect averaged 23.1 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game to guide the Chaparrals to a 33-2 record.

6-3 | Guard | Uncommitted
Top 50 prospect averaged 26.6 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.8 steals per game. He sits at 1,753 career points.

6-4 | Guard | Uncommited
Top 30 prospect averaged 21 points, seven rebounds and three assists, and dropped a career-high 42 points (and 13 rebounds) in a win over Trotwood-Madison.

6-2 | Guard | DePaul
Chicago Sun-Times All-Area selection averaged 20.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game to lead the Wolverines to their 10th Chicago Public League title.

6-1 | Guard | Uncommitted
Averaged 22.2 points, 4.3 assists and 2.6 steals per game to lead the Saints to the TSSAA Division II Class AA state title game.

6-6 | Guard | Uncommitted
AJC.com GHSA Class AAA Player of the Year averaged 22.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game to lead Knights to third state title.

6-1 | Guard | Uncommitted
Tallied around 14 points, eight assists and three steals per outing in team's ninth consecutive state title run.

6-9 | Forward | Uncommitted
Contributed 23.7 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.8 blocks and 3.1 assists per game for the AIA Conference 5A state finalists.

6-7 | Forward | Louisville
Chicago Sun-Times All-Area selection averaged 24 points, 10 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game to lead the Friars to the third round of the state tournament before postseason play was canceled.

6-9 | Forward | Uncommitted
Gatorade Indiana Player of the Year averaged 25.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.6 blocks per contest to guide the defending state champions back to the IHSAA Class 3A state tournament before postseason play was canceled.

6-8 | Wing | Uncommitted
Despite missing much of January due to injury, the top-ranked junior prospect had a strong year as he averaged 16.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game for the 20-7 Celtics.

6-7 | Wing | Uncommitted
Gatorade Tennessee Player of the Year averaged 26.1 points, 12.3 rebounds, 6.2 assists 2.1 steals and two blocks per contest for the 26-6 Cardinals.

6-6 | Guard | Florida State
Averaged 25.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.1 steals per game to guide the Hurricanes to the SCHSL Class AAAA state semifinals. McGowens broke a school record with 65 points in the second round of the state tournament.

Will McClendon, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
6-3 | Guard | UCLA
Teaming with fellow honorable mention selection Zaon Collins, posted around 16 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals per game for the Gaels.

6-8 | Wing | Uncommitted
NJ.com second team All-State selection averaged 19.8 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game to lead Rutgers Prep to its first Somerset County Tournament title since 1983.

6-1 | Guard | Uncommitted
District 6 Player of the Year averaged 21.8 points, 7.4 assists, six rebounds and 2.9 steals per game to lead the Jaguars to the NCHSAA Class 2A state semifinals.

5-9 | Guard | Uncommitted
MaxPreps Mississippi Player of the Year led the way in the Chargers first state title run since 2015, averaging 26.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.9 steals per contest.

6-5 | Guard | Uncommitted
Averaged 22.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game to lead the Mustangs to the Class A state title game.

6-3 | Guard | Uncommitted
Averaged 18.5 points, 4.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game to lead the Marauders to the CIF Division II state tournament.

Top 25 prospect had a strong season for the Jackrabbits, earning third team MaxPreps California All-State honors.

6-3 | Guard | Uncommitted
North Carolina Basketball Association first team All-State selection led the Pride to the NCHSAA Class 4A state quarterfinals, averaging 22.3 points, nine rebounds and 8.3 assists per contest.
High school sports: Southern California regionals announced; No NorCal regionals, state track and field meet - HIGHSCORE
High school sports: Southern California regionals announced; No NorCal regionals, state track and field meet
The California Interscholastic Federation announced Wednesday its plan to hold one-week Southern California regional playoffs in seven sports, including basketball, baseball and softball, starting June 5 and ending June 26. The other sports include soccer, tennis, boys volleyball and golf.

Because only two of six Northern California sections — Central Coast and Oakland — are even holding playoffs, there will be no Northern California regionals. That also means for a second straight year there will be no state track and field or state swimming and diving championships.

The 2021 state track and field meet, scheduled for Buchanan High school in Clovis, would have been the 102nd in history. 

The CIF, which only takes over playoffs at the regional and state level, had no choice. The organization's hands were tied. Section champions feed into the regional playoffs and with no champs to advance, regionals were impossible. 

"Ultimately with only CCS and Oakland offering playoffs, regional playoffs in the North weren't feasible," CIF Executive Director Ron Nocetti said. "We wanted to wait as long as possible to make sure there were no update or changes (with the sections)."

Though disappointed that his athletes can't move on, CCS commissioner Dave Grissom said he's heard no complaints.

"This pandemic has been absolutely life changing and life altering for so many families," he said. "In the big scheme of things, for there not to be Northern California championships is OK. It's completely OK. It's just one of those things. It was impossible to pull off. I haven't heard one coach, athletic director or school be upset about it."
San Diego Section powers Mater Dei Catholic and Cathedral Catholic figure to reach the Southern California championships, which conclude June 26. Mater Dei Catholic is ranked 19th nationally by MaxPreps.
File photo by Rudy Schmoke
San Diego Section powers Mater Dei Catholic and Cathedral Catholic figure to reach the Southern California championships, which conclude June 26. Mater Dei Catholic is ranked 19th nationally by MaxPreps.
All four Southern California sections — the Southern, San Diego, Los Angeles and Central — will finish up their playoffs in late May or early June and then enter a one-week regional playoff.

The section playoffs must be completed by the following dates in these respective sports: boys and girls soccer (May 29), boys and girls team tennis (May 29), boys volleyball (June 5), boys and girls golf (June 12), boys and girls basketball (June 12), baseball (June 19) and softball (June 19).

The last date for regional championships for each sport: boys and girls soccer (June 5), boys and girls team tennis (June 5), boys volleyball (June 12), boys and girls golf (June 15), boys and girls basketball (June 19), baseball (June 26) and softball (June 26).

With just one week to complete tournaments, each bracket will be no more than eight teams. That will create many more brackets than normally, especially in basketball.

Teams and student athletes will likely be faced with many conflicts, concerning both graduation and club teams. Nocetti is hoping for flexibility in all cases.

"We understand that section championships are top priority," Nocetti said. "But we hope those teams communicate as soon as possible their plans on participation at regionals."

The Southern California baseball and softball regionals should be very interest. Currently, three SoCal teams are in the MaxPreps Top 25 national baseball rankings and four SoCal softball squads are among the nation's 25 best.
CIF's announcement and schedule released Wednesday about Southern and Northern California playoffs.
CIF's announcement and schedule released Wednesday about Southern and Northern California playoffs.


North Carolina high school basketball players adjusting to mask mandate - HIGHSCORE
North Carolina high school basketball players adjusting to mask mandate
Issued by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper on Nov. 23, Executive Order No. 180 called for expanded face covering requirements. That has trickled down to high school sports, with athletes being required to wear masks during games and skill development sessions whether they are held indoor or outdoor.

The order went into effect Nov. 25 and runs through Dec. 11. According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Servies, it requires that everyone needs to wear a mask whenever they are with someone who is not from the same household. The order also adds the mask requirement to several additional settings including any public indoor space even when maintaining six feet of distance, gyms even when exercising, all schools public and private and all public or private transportation when traveling with people outside of the household.

Basketball practice is scheduled to begin Dec. 7 for NCHSAA-affiliated programs but the NCISAA tipped off last month and has already started to adapt to the new norm for the 2020-21 season in the Tar Heel State.

MaxPreps photographer Matthew Plyler was on hand Monday for a masked-up matchup between Northwood Temple Academy (Fayetteville) met Berean Baptist Academy (Fayetteville). Northwood Temple Academy won 69-68.
Brady Rankin of Northwood Temple Academy drives during Monday's games against Berea Baptist Academy.
Photo by Matthew Plyler
Brady Rankin of Northwood Temple Academy drives during Monday's games against Berea Baptist Academy.
"Kids are resilient," Charlotte Country Day head coach David Carrier told the Charlotte Observer. "Kids adjust to things like this a lot quicker than adults."

The order extends to delayed NCHSAA fall sports that got underway in November like cross country and volleyball. The state reported 5,410 new COVID-19 cases Thursday with 44 deaths.

"We are asking our coaches, student-athletes and administrators for their continued vigilance and cooperation in these measures, including making sure to properly socially distance during skill development sessions and adherence to the mask mandate," NCHSAA executive director Que Tucker told the Lake Norman Media Group. "We all must do our part."

On the girls basketball side, Faith Christian Academy (Goldsboro) and Raleigh Christian Academy (Raleigh) were among the first to take the court Tuesday under the new order. MaxPreps photographer Steven Worthy was there to capture that moment.
Faith Christian Academy takes the floor for a Tuesday game against Raleigh Christian Academy.
Photo by Steven Worthy
Faith Christian Academy takes the floor for a Tuesday game against Raleigh Christian Academy.