RALEIGH — Four championships will be decided Saturday in the annual North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s state men’s soccer championships at Dail Soccer Field on the campus of North Carolina State University.
The championship weekend will start with the 3-A final on Saturday morning at 11:05, followed by the 1-A game at 2:05 p.m. and the 4-A final at 5:05 p.m. The final game of the quadrupleheader will be the 2-A contest, starting at 8:05 p.m. This will be the 14th year for four separate classified championships.
All four of the games will be televised by Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and available on digital channel 323 on Time Warner systems across the state.
The program opens with the 3-A game, which will see a perennial power take on a newcomer to the finals. Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons (22-2-1), in its seventh NCHSAA final, will take on Fred T. Foard (22-5-2) of Catawba County, in its first trip to the championship.
Gibbons is led offensively by sophomore Drew Rabil, who has scored 23 goals for the Crusaders, while Foard is a well-balanced team with four players with 10 or more goals and two of them, Wyatt Shely and Zach Durham, with over 20. The Tigers were 1-3-1 early in the season and have gotten red hot.
The 1-A final at 2:05 pm will send Wallace-Rose Hill (25-1), a perennial football power that has developed an excellent soccer program, against East Surry (16-5-2). Wallace-Rose Hill is the defending 1-A champ and has compiled a 70-6-1 record in the last three years. Viktor Hansson in goal was the Most Valuable Player of last year’s state title game.
East Surry has made just four visits all-time to postseason soccer play, so this is by far the Cardinals’ best team ever. East started the season 0-4-2 but has won 15 of its last 16 with a veteran team which includes 12 seniors, eight of whom who have played for four years.
The 5:05 pm contest for the 4-A title pits Raleigh Broughton (21-1-2) against Pfafftown Ronald Reagan (24-3). Broughton is back in the finals for the first time since 2007, when the Caps won back-to-back state crowns in ’06 and ’07. Matt Brickhouse, the Caps’ leading scorer, had a hat trick to lead Broughton to a 5-2 win over Wilmington New Hanover in the East Regional final.
Reagan is in the finals for the first time and is making its eighth trip to postseason, but had only won two playoff games prior to this year. Leke Ademoyero leads the Raiders with 18 goals and goalkeeper Quinn Kuhn has an 0.76 goals-against average this season.
The final game of the day will send the Nighthawks of Kill Devil Hills First Flight (24-0-1) against the Red Devils of Newton-Conover (25-1).
First Flight makes its second consecutive trip to the finals after losing a tough 2-1 decision to Salisbury last year. The Nighthawks are an explosive offensive team paced by Graham Smalley (45 goals) and Ricky Sanchez (31 goals). Newton-Conover counters with Alan Esperilla (29 goals, 31 assists) and the Red Devils have outscored their playoff foes 18-1 in five postseason matches.
Tickets will be eight dollars at the gate. Time Warner Cable SportsChannel is the presenting sponsor for these championships, and the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance and the city of Raleigh serve as primary host city sponsors.
NORTH CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
2014 STATE MEN’S SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS
Dail Soccer Field, North Carolina State University
Saturday, November 15
Class 3-A–11:05 am
Cardinal Gibbons High School Crusaders (22-2-1) vs. Fred T. Foard High School Tigers (22-5-2)
Class 1-A–2:05 pm
Wallace-Rose Hill High School Bulldogs (25-1) vs. East Surry High School Cardinals (16-5-2)
Class 4-A–5:05 pm
Needham Broughton High School Capitals (21-1-2) vs. Ronald Reagan High School Raiders (24-3)
Class 2-A–8:05 pm
First Flight High School Nighthawks (24-0-1) vs. Newton-Conover High School Red Devils (25-1)