This past weekend, the NCHSAA playoff brackets were announced for all classifications. Now, teams will transition into the final stage of the high school season as they look to pursue a state championship. Each classification has clear favorites, intriguing darkhorses, and loads of next-level talent. Similar to the private-school playoffs, there is a much greater level of parody than we’ve seen in the recent years. Let’s take a closer look at each group, starting with 4A…

All Brakcets:

It’s no secret that NCHSAA 4A is an absolute bloodbath. North Carolina’s largest classification features such teams as Myers Park, Richmond County, Lake Norman, Weddington, New Hanover, Millbrook, North Mecklenburg, and countless other notable squads. Interestingly enough, there has only been one team to win multiple 4A state championships over the last 19 seasons (New Hanover in 2007 and 2012). Therefore, we will either have a returning victor or continue this trend for yet another season. Let’s look at each quadrant of the bracket.

Starting with the top right, Myers Park appears to have the most challenging road compared to the other top seeds. Mallard Creek, Ardrey Kell, Southwest Guilford, Watauga, Reagan, Independence, Cox Mill, North Meck, TC Roberson, Charlotte Catholic, South Meck, West Forsyth, Mooresville, Mount Tabor, and Palisades make up an incredibly competitive grouping of teams. There are multiple teams who could ultimately compete for the state championship.

Finishing up the other half, Lake Norman earned the other top seed for the west. After being ousted early last season, the Wildcats may get their second chance against East Forsyth in the second round. Ultimately, things should really heat up for round three with the potential matchups of Weddington/Chambers looming. There’s also a lot of intrigue with the first-round matchups of Page/Grimsley and Davie/Northern/

Moving over to the east, New Hanover claims the top seed and might have one of the more favorable paths in getting to the title contest. Between Northern Durham, Hillside, Knightdale, Hoggard, Lumberton, Chapel Hill, Sanderson, New Bern, Southview, Panther Creek, Jordan, Clayton, Holly Springs, Millbrook, and Jack Britt, there’s still a slew of quality teams. In addition to several highly enticing first-round matchups, this grouping could potentially have the most competitive battles across the ensuing rounds.

In looking at the final group, headlined by Green Level and Richmond County, there are several teams worth noting. Squads like Pine Forest, Wakefield, Garner, South Garner, Heritage, Laney, Pinecrest, Cardinal Gibbons, Southeast Raleigh, Hoke County, Riverside, Overhills, Apex Friendship, and East Chapel Hill make up this quadrant.