SOCCER PLAYOFFS: Two teams reach to West finals

After 110 minutes of soccer competition, the Newton-Conover soccer team held on to knock off its fourth road opponent of the 2A playoffs, topping rival South Iredell in penalty kicks, 5-4.

"It was a great game by both teams," said N-C coach Angelo Palozzi. "It's always tough when someone has to lose on penalty kicks. I'm happy for our seniors and excited to be playing on Wednesday night."

The Red Devils travel to Cuthbertson (21-3-1) in the 2A West finals on Wednesday for a chance to go to the 2A state championship game.

The Vikings (20-2-2) took a one-goal lead early in Saturday's contest when Omar Solis made a netter on an assist from Joshua Berg.

Twenty-three minutes later, Newton-Conover (16-6-1) answered when Jake LaFrancis found Chandler Johnson for a goal that grazed off the inside post.

After a scoreless second half and 30 minutes of overtime periods, the pivotal playoff game between Newton-Conover and South Iredell would be decided on penalty kicks.

The Red Devils would get five scores on those kicks from Johnson, LaFrancis, Franklin Wepner, John Tate and Eli Cordes.

N-C goalkeeper Jake Miller stopped a final shot by South Iredell's Edgar Solis to preserve the victory.

After Saturday's victory, the Red Devils have now beaten in the playoffs the No. 1, No. 3 and No. 9 ranked 2A teams in the state (Owen, South Iredell, Lincolnton) with a chance to top No. 2 in Cuthbertson on Wednesday.

3A playoffs: Hickory 3, Enka 2

The Red Tornadoes took a 3-0 lead by halftime and held on for a one-goal victory against the Jets.

Frankie Wyatt netted a pair of goals in the sixth and seventh minutes for Hickory (25-1), which hosts the 3A West finals against Charlotte Catholic (20-1-1) on Wednesday.

Paxton Taylor scored the Red Tornadoes' third goal, while teammates Conner Hartman, Ben Pleasant and Jed Blanchat all made an assist each.

Herman Aguirre and Brad Smith pocketed a pair of goals in the second half to pull Enka (18-7-1) within one, but the Jets could get no closer.