So … we meet again: Tarboro, Edenton square off for fourth straight year in state playoffs

Touchdown Friday

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TARBORO, N.C. (WNCT) — The second round of the North Carolina high school football playoffs continues Friday. One of this week’s top matchups is one we’ve seen many time … four straight seasons in fact.

It hails in the Class 1-AA division with a storied rivalry.

Tarboro (6-0) vs. John A. Holmes (6-0)

Friday, at 7 p.m.

It’s a familiar matchup for No.1-seeded Tarboro High School as they gear up to play No.4 John A. Holmes for the fourth time in four years in the NCHSAA playoffs. It is a game that head coach Jeff Craddock and his team are excited to play.

“It’s been awesome! I mean anytime you are still playing, that means you have done some good things,” Craddock said. “We are definitely excited to be playing.”

The unique spring football playoff is new for many teams, but this particular matchup is a common one between the Aces and the Vikings.

The past three years, Tarboro has walked away with the last word and advanced their season into the state finals.

YEARROUNDTARBOROEDENTON
2019East Regional Finals 35 6
2018East Regional Finals487
2017East Regional Finals507

“It’s a curse in a way because I love the coaching staff there, and I love the Edenton program,” Craddock said. “They are built with so much class and so much pride.

“Unfortunately, for four years, we have had to face each other.”

The past is in the past, and Craddock is making sure his team knows that as they prepare for Friday.

“This isn’t last year’s Edenton team and this isn’t last year’s Tarboro team,” said Craddock. “History means very little. It means absolutely nothing actually, so we have to perform at our best on Friday.”

Tarboro High School’s football field (Kelci O’Donnell, WNCT photo)

For senior Xzavion Pitt, there is a different story to tell for each season, but every year, the Aces have been a factor.

“I mean, Edenton has always given us a good fight,” Pitt said. “They are a real put-together team and they do a good job. We have a fun game every time we play them.

State football playoffs, Week 2: Schedule and game times

“I think if we execute and do what we need to do, we should come out on top. It’s all about the turnovers and stuff like that.”

As for Friday’s matchup, a bigger game means bigger plays.

“We can’t give up consistent plays like Edenton has done to teams all year,” Craddock said. “They just gauge you with the run and they kill you with the play-action pass, big chunks of yards.

“We just can’t do that. Playing a team like Edenton, mistakes can come back and haunt you. So, we just really have to play our best game of the year.” 

Edenton football coach Paul Hoggard and Tarboro coach Jeff Craddock (WNCT photo)

While the Vikings say they take things one game at a time, the goal still stands: to win a state title.

“We are not complacent about playing, I mean our goal is to win that state title, and as we all know, the last time we were in one, it didn’t go so well,” said Craddock. “That seems like a long time ago.

“To get to that state title, obviously we have to beat Edenton and then we have another matchup after that if we are lucky. But, it’s a blessing, and I’m so lucky to be playing this game in the spring.”

Kickoff is set for Friday at 7 p.m. at Tarboro High School. We will have the complete game coverage and highlights on Touchdown Friday!

***

1AA FOOTBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIP SECOND ROUND PAIRINGS 

EAST 

#1 Tarboro (6-0) vs. #4 John A. Holmes (6-0) 

#2 Louisburg (5-2) vs. #3 East Carteret (6-2) 

WEST 

#4 North Rowan (5-2) vs. #8 Polk County (4-1) 

#2 East Surry (7-1) vs. #3 Pine Lake Prep (8-0) 

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