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Knights, Titans vie for CPC title

North Davidson’s Kennedy McCoy (left) runs for a gain against R.J. Reynolds as teammate Alex Rose (78) helps block on the play. (Photo by Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch)

Everyone’s been talking about it for some time but even with all the pressure associated with a very important football game, North Davidson coach Mark Holcomb can always come up with a good quip.

The Black Knights will make the short trip to West Forsyth on Friday and the winner will take home the Central Piedmont Conference championship.

“That’s who we’re playing this week?” Holcomb said.

North, ranked No. 10 in the latest Associated Press 4-A poll, is 9-1 overall and 4-1 in the CPC. West Forsyth, also 9-1 overall, is 5-0 in the conferences. The Titans are ranked No. 5 in the 4-A poll.

Needless to say, the stakes are high.

“It’s going to be a big challenge for us,” Holcomb said. “You want it to come down to the last week of the season, if you can. A chance to play for the conference championship, a chance to be a high seed in the playoffs.”

That’s what North had last year as the Black Knights were undefeated in the regular season and were set up to be at home all the way through the 4-A semifinals. That played out very well as North won three playoff games before falling 34-27 to Porter Ridge.

North’s task was made more difficult this year wen the Knights opened CPC play with a 25-22 loss to Mount Tabor. But the Spartans faltered after that and the Knights, who have won 23 of their last 25 games, are now in position again to lay claim to a favorable postseason situation.

“You don’t want these games to define your program but you know if you play in them every year, you’re doing something right,” Holcomb said. “This is where we want to be at the end of the year, playing for a conference championship. I think that’s nice.”

The only blemish on West Forsyth is a 17-10 loss to East Forsyth, a team that is also 9-1. West Forsyth, known for its defense, has torn through its five games by a combined scoring margin of 155-29.

“They like to run the football,” Holcomb said. “They’re very good offensively.”

And North is very good offensively.

The Knights can deploy an array of weapons out of their shotgun, no-huddle attack behind quarterbacks Brandon McCray and Khylil Miller, who is a talented, multiple threat player. McCray has thrown for 1,363 yards and 17 touchdowns and also has 365 yards and three TDs rushing. Miller has thrown for 419 yards and four touchdowns, run for 245 yards and three touchdowns and caught 27 passes for 447 yards and six touchdowns. Jordan Santana has 37 catches for 583 yards and leads the county with 11 touchdown receptions.

If opposing defenses concentrate too much on the passing the game, it will be at their peril. Sophomore tailback Kennedy McKoy has rushed for 1,234 yards and 12 touchdowns.

“We feel like we’ve got a lot of skill kids and we like to spread them out a little bit,” Holcomb said. “We’ve got good quarterback play and a good running back. It’s just a matter of going out there, blocking and making plays, doing the things were supposed to do.”

As well as the Knights are doing now, there is concern about penalties. The Knights were flagged 14 times for 137 yards in last Friday’s 31-21 win over Reagan. A repeat of that against the Titans could be costly.

“We’ve got to stop helping other teams out by committing those penalties,” Holcomb said. “Last week we looked a little undisciplined. We don’t want to be known as undisciplined. We want to play hard but we’ve got to eliminate those penalties, that’s for sure.”

Mike Duprez can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 218 or