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High school football practice kicks off Monday

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East Forsyth Hough Football Quarterfinals (copy)

East Forsyth receiver Que’sean Brown is one of a number of key players returning to an Eagles team that lost at Cornelius Hough in the fourth round of the NCHSAA Class 4-A playoffs last season.

Monday is the first day when area high school football teams can hold official practices as they gear up for their openers Aug. 19. The NCHSAA state champions will be decided Dec. 9-10.

Here are three big questions that will be answered between now and then:

WHO TAKES THE CENTRAL PIEDMONT 4-A?

The Central Piedmont is always a battle, and last year was no exception. Reagan and Glenn shared the crown, with Glenn taking the head-to-head meeting, while East Forsyth was 5-1 and beat the Bobcats but lost to the Raiders in a schedule impacted by COVID-19. East welcomes back QB Jaylen Alexander-Raynor and WR Que'sean Brown on offense and LB R.J. Brown and DE Nick Martin on defense and has added TE Jayvontay Conner, so the Eagles have the most star power. Reagan has as good an offensive line as any in the Triad, led by Notre Dame commit Sam Pendleton and Spencer Webb, and boasts a defense led by Duke commit DE Semaj Turner and DB Jalil Rogers, but must replace All-Area RB Jon Gullette. Glenn lost 16 starters, but can never be overlooked, and West Forsyth is always going to play tough, physical football, while Mount Tabor won a state title in the spring of 2021. You get the idea.

CAN MOUNT TABOR BOUNCE BACK?

Speaking of Mount Tabor, coach Tiesuan Brown's Spartans were one of the youngest teams in the Triad last season after the core of their Class 3-AA championship squad graduated. It showed, as they were an uncharacteristic 4-5 and missed the 4-A playoffs. But QB Semaj Reaves-Smith got better and better as the season went on, and the Peterkin brothers – senior J.P. and sophomore Shamarius – are elite-level athletes who can make plays on both sides of the ball. Tabor also has a massive building block on the offensive line in Austin Pittman and has looked strong in some 7-on-7s, so don't expect the Spartans to be down for long.

WHO WINS THIS YEAR'S NORTH DAVIDSON-OAK GROVE MATCHUP(S)?

North Davidson coach Brian Flynn will face his mentor and former boss, Mark Holcomb, on Oct. 7 when Oak Grove visits the Black Knights in a Mid-Piedmont 3-A matchup. The two schools have met six times since the Grizzlies began playing football in 2018 and North Davidson has won five of those meetings – including two in the playoffs. Oak Grove lost 27-24 last year in double overtime. This year's game will showcase plenty of offensive firepower in Oak Grove junior QB Connor Creech (1,496 yards passing, 168 and 10 TDs rushing) and sophomore RB Kaden Hart (539 yards, 6 TDs) and North Davidson senior QB Gavin Hill (2,118 yards, 17 TDs passing) and senior RB Xavion Hayes (1,515 yards, 21 TDs rushing).

MONDAY'S PRACTICE SCHEDULE

Look for videos and photos at JournalNow.com

Andrews: 6:30 p.m.

Atkins: 5 p.m.

Bishop McGuinness: 5 p.m.

Carver: 6 p.m.

Davie County: 8 a.m.

Dudley: 6 p.m.

East Forsyth: 9 a.m.

Eastern Guilford: 8 a.m.

Glenn: 8 a.m.

Grimsley: 8:30 a.m.

High Point Central: 6 p.m.

High Point Christian: 6 p.m.

McMichael: 8 a.m.

Morehead: 9 a.m.

Mount Tabor: 6 p.m.

North Davidson: 5:30 p.m.

North Forsyth: 8 a.m.

Northeast Guilford: 6 p.m.

Northern Guilford: 6:30 a.m.

Northwest Guilford: 8 a.m.

Oak Grove: 8:30 a.m.

Page: 8 a.m.

Parkland: 6 p.m.

Ragsdale: 6 p.m.

Reagan: 9 a.m.

Reidsville: 4:45 p.m.

Reynolds: 6 p.m.

Rockingham County: 4 p.m.

Smith: 6 p.m.

Southeast Guilford: 6 p.m.

Southern Guilford: 6 p.m.

Southwest Guilford: 10 a.m.

Walkertown: 8 a.m.

West Forsyth: 9:30 a.m.

Western Guilford: 8 a.m.

Winston-Salem Prep: 9 a.m.

Contact Joe Sirera at 336-373-7034 and follow @JoeSireraSports on Twitter.

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