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It’s finally rivalry week for high school football teams across the state, but with that comes a bittersweet moment.

The downside is that it takes all season for some of the top rivalry matchups to occur, but in a way that helps to build up the suspense when the heated matchups carry a lot of weight. This week, the matchups involving Moore County teams might not have conference titles hanging in the balance, but there are high expectations, as always, for the Battle of the Pines game at Union Pines.

The rivalry matchup for North Moore and Chatham Central historically has been competitive, but many times, those contests were used to help decide who would finish last in the conference. This season is far from the case as the Mustangs are the pride of the Mid-Carolina Conference and now look at claiming home field in the playoffs for several weeks at least.

Finally a perfect 3-0 week last Friday for my picks has my record standing at 18-7 through Week 10.

Pinecrest at Union Pines

From talks of past meetings in the rivalry that involve the big crowds, the skirmish in 2010 and Union Pines’ last win over their rivals back in 2006, there’s been a lot of build up for this game. There’s nothing, including overnight rain to saturate the field, that could cool down this rivalry contest.

Given the conditions, ball control will be a top priority for teams, and how last week’s win went for the Vikings, that could be problematic. Pinecrest has run the ball effectively against nearly every opponent this season, with a high rate of success in recent weeks. On the defensive side of the ball, Pinecrest hasn’t given many teams much to work with starting with its play on the defensive line.

The Patriots should win their fifth straight and enter the playoffs riding a wave of momentum after this one, and should get reserve players some quality playing time in this one.

Pinecrest 49, Union Pines 8

North Moore at Chatham Central

Last season, a Big 12-like matchup erupted out of this game in a 77-50 North Moore win. I’m not holding my breath for this one to get this out of hand, especially with the chances of the game being played in wet conditions, but the Bears will have their hands full trying to stop an offense that no team has been able to tame this season.

While there was a loss two weeks ago, the Mustangs have shown very little rust the last two games following a two-week layoff. North Moore’s run game has looked impressive against two of the better teams in the Mid-Carolina Conference, and could use this game to polish some fundamentals against a struggling Chatham Central team.

North Moore 56, Chatham Central 6

Contact Jonathan Bym at (910) 693-2470 or jonathan@thepilot.com.

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