Patrick Obley Staff writer @fo_pmo

A year ago, the O’Neal School finished second in its conference and bowed out of the NCISAA playoffs in the second round of the Class 2-A bracket.

Enough with the twos.

The Falcons entered this season with designs on the Eastern Plains conference crown and accomplished that goal in impressive fashion. For their efforts, they were awarded a No. 5 seed and a first-round bye in this year’s postseason bracket.

“We set our goals before the season and the first goal was to compete for the conference championship,” Falcons coach James Franklin said. “I don’t think that was an unrealistic goal.”

Fayetteville Academy (11-1-1) is the No. 1 seed and will have a double-bye.

The O’Neal School (14-2) will await Tuesday’s winner between Burlington Christian and Salem Baptist for a Thursday meeting in Southern Pines.

The Falcons boast a high-scoring offense that takes its cues from the defensive end.

“We’re very well balanced in the sense we score all the goals, but the defensive side in the three years I’ve been in the program, has been the main emphasis,” Franklin said. “Making sure that success comes from being very difficult to beat and then from there sort of trying to wear teams down by being high-pressing defensively but creating as many quick opportunities as possible.

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