Rams earn No. 2 seed for state playoffs

The Havelock High football team earned a No. 2 seed in the state 3A playoffs and will face No. 15 Burlington Williams in a first-round playoff game on Friday night.

Havelock, the Coastal 3A Conference champions, finished the regular season with a 10-1 record, while the Bulldogs went 5-6.

“We ended up about where we thought we would,” Havelock coach Caleb King said of the playoff bracket. “Anytime you look at this, it’s win or go home, be 1-0 that week. If you can’t get up for these, you can’t get up for anything.”

King was an assistant coach for Havelock’s three consecutive state championships in 2011-2013 and is in his first year as head coach of his alma mater after replacing Jim Bob Bryant. Havelock has been to the eastern regional championship in seven of the last eight seasons, the equivalent of the final four in the state.

“We’re happy that we could have the first three rounds at home, winning during the year earns you that,” King said.

But first, Havelock has to get by Williams, which lost three of its first four games but ended the year winning three of its last four, including last week’s 35-28 victory over Southern Alamance. The Bulldogs are primarily a running team behind Shemar Thompson, who has 1,383 yards rushing on the season with 17 touchdowns. However, quarterback Tim Grate threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns last week, while rushing for 85 yards and another two touchdowns.

The Bulldog defense surrenders 27.8 points per game but did come up with four turnovers in last week’s victory.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m., and regular-season passes are not valid for playoff games.