MOREHEAD CITY — The panel takes on a tough slate of second round high school playoff games this week. And the going is only going to get tougher as the postseason progresses.
Three games are 5-4 splits for the nine members.
Brian North (WCTI-12), Brian Bailey (WNCT-9), Billy Weaver (WITN-7), Dennis Thomason (News-Times) and Deana King (NCPreps.com) like Northampton while J.J. Smith (News-Times), Zack Nally (News-Times), Tim Hower (CoastalPreps.com) and Brian Barnes (CarolinaGridiron.com) go with Northside-Pinetown.
Thomason, Nally, King, Hower and Barnes pull the lever for Gates County while North, Bailey, Weaver and Smith go for Pamlico.
Weaver, Thomason, Nally, Hower and Barnes pick Currituck while North, Bailey, Smith and King select South Granville.
Three games see three panelists apiece in the minority.
Bailey, Weaver and King like North Rowan over Princeton, Thomason, King and Barnes take Manteo over Granville Central and Weaver, Smith and Hower predict a Seventy-First win over New Bern.
There is one game with two panelists going against the grain.
Weaver and King chose Rocky Mount over Terry Sanford.
One panelist goes it alone in each of two games.
Nally takes Whiteville over Southwest Edgecombe and Hower likes Salisbury over Washington.
The entire panel picks West Craven over Red Springs, Eastern Alamance over Northside-Jacksonville and Havelock over Western Alamance.
The online editors garnered a one-game win last week in the team standings with a 28-8 record. Carteret Publishing was the runner-up at 27-9 followed by the TV sports anchors with a 23-13 mark.
Thomason, Bailey and King led the way in the individual standings with 10-2 records followed by Hower, Nally and Barnes at 9-3 apiece. Smith went 8-4 followed by Weaver at 7-5 and North at 6-6.
The entire panel correctly chose Princeton over East Carteret, West Craven over Kinston and New Hanover over Topsail.
Four candidates went their own way each time in four games.
King was the only one to rightly take Western Alamance over Jacksonville and Bailey was the only one wise enough to go with Whiteville over Wallace-Rose Hill. Weaver missed on both Northside-Jacksonville over C.B. Aycock and South Creek over Southside.
Two panelists apiece teamed up in four games and wound up on the wrong side of the prediction each time.
North and Smith teamed up twice and ended up failing to take the winning team each time, missing on both Southwest Onslow’s victory over Ayden-Grifton and South Granville’s triumph over North Lenoir. King and Barnes failed to take Currituck over St. Pauls and North and Hower failed to pick Gates County over North Duplin.
The East Duplin and Croatan matchup was a 5-4 split. Smith, Thomason, King, Hower and Barnes correctly took East Duplin.
Carteret Publishing saw its five-game lead in the overall team standings cut by one and now sports a 329-133 record. The online editors are in second with a 325-137 mark. The TV spots anchors are stuck in third at 311-151.
There was no movement in the overall individual standings.
Thomason continues to lead with a 115-39 record followed by Bailey at 113-41 and Hower at 111-43. Smith is in fourth place at 108-46 followed by Nally, Barrnes and King in a three-way tie at 107-47 apiece. North is next at 102-52 followed by Weaver at 98-56.