For the third consecutive year, the Trojans of East Central and the Pioneers of Mooresville will clash in a Sectional 23 game as two of the top Class 4A programs in the state. The Trojans at 8-2 are coming into this matchup averaging 40 points a game, while limiting their opponents to 13.5 average. East Central is led by sophomore quarterback Cole Burton, who has shown tremendous poise and steadiness behind center, limiting mistakes. Burton has just one interception on the year, to go along with his 16 touchdown passes. The running attack by the Trojans is a tough out for any defense. Led by a committee of solid ball carriers, the Trojans have over 2,000 yards rushing on the season. Averaging 200 yards per game. Defensively, the Trojans are turnover machines. East Central has 19 turnovers on the year, averaging nearly two a game. It will take this type of effort to slow down a very talent Mooresville offense.

Pioneers’ junior quarterback Nicholas Patterson has flourished into one of the state’s top passers this season. The gunslinger is 260 yards shy from breaking the 3,000 yard passing mark on the year. He’s tallied 35 touchdowns through the air and has been careful with the football, only 6 interceptions to match. It will take Patterson’s playmaking ability to keep his offense on the field against the Trojans. Look for senior running back Gideon Brimmage to carry the load on the ground for the Pioneers. The workhorse is averaging nearly 6 yards a carry and has hit paydirt 13 times. Brimmage is a more than capable receiver as well. The Pioneers have found ways to get him the ball in the passing game, he comes into the matchup with 500 yards receiving and 4 touchdowns. Somehow there’s enough footballs to go around. A talented group of receivers led by senior Logan Jackson keeps defensives from loading the box. Jackson’s 867 yards is accompanied by senior John Clampitt (694), sophomore Hogan Denny (420) and junior Wes Reeves (322). The underlining key to a Pioneer victory will be their defense that is allowing 20 points a game. The defense has given up 40 points twice on the year. The unit will need to continue their habit of taking the ball away, averaging nearly two a game. A shutout in the opening round of the tournament, shows the defense is trending in the right direction.

In 2019 the Pioneers secured a 3 point win, and followed this in similar fashion in 2020 with an 8 point victory. Fans can expect a great football game between two of the state’s best.