It’s that time again! Pull out your favorite high school sportswear and bring the cowbell because it’s time to head to the football stadium. Week one of high school football has arrived.
McDowell @ R-S Central
The game of the week is at “The Palace” as the Hilltoppers open the year with the visiting Titans from the north.
There is no doubt as to why this is the game of the week. Going back to 1985 (28 meetings), the two teams have played 15 games decided by 11 points or less and the last two meetings were at a mere seven points combined. McDowell won 20-14 in 2012.
McDowell had one of it’s best seasons ever on the football field in 2012 and they have the potential to do well again since two rushers that went over 1,000 yards each return for 2013. Watch #25 Malique O’Neil and #27 Trey Anderson carry the load for McDowell out the backfield in a run heavy scheme.
However, R-S Central has looked good in scrimmages and #20 Matt Atchley along with dark horse #1 Jaylen Hollis should be playmakers. What I do like so far is that the Hilltoppers seem to have the belief that they can do good things this season.
On defense, senior lineman #15 Jared Foster-Smith should be on the attack again and looked like he hadn’t missed a beat in scrimmages.
Erwin @ East Rutherford
East drew the toughest assignment of the week as they host one of the most athletic teams in the western part of the state with Erwin. Looking all the way back to the history books of 1962, there is no record of play between the two schools.
Cavaliers on the radar, I see that as #18 Tyree Lindsay and #21 Justin Rogers. Lindsay will be the safety net of the defense as they need to find a way to hang with a high potent offense in Erwin. East will have to find a way to get the ball to Rogers, who is expected to have a great season with the Cavs.
Meanwhile, #11 Austin Brown can throw accurately or run, while the even more dangerous #5 Kelman Simpson has the jets in the backfield for Erwin. The Cavs defense has been impressive so far in scrimmages.
Chase @ Newton-Conover
It won’t be an easy road game, that’s for sure in Newton-Conover. On the bright side, the Red Devils lost their quarterback, two leading receivers and two leading rushers from last year due to graduation.
While I expect Chase to pound the ball rushing wise, I think the Trojans on the radar this week are Tyrell Boykins #7 and Jordan O’Rourke #1. Boykins (quarterback) is going to have to make a few good throws and they are athletic enough to make yards on completions this season. O’Rourke (wide out) is his best option in the passing game. On the line, I expect the Trojans Chandler Casner to have a good start, but he could face a very tough assignment on Friday.
Chase will have to watch Red Devils running back #7 Nick Baker (5-10, 170) closely, who will likely follow the blocking of #71 Cory Sifford (6-2, 270). Last year, the Red Devils were able to mix it up offensively and showed a decent defense, but I expect more running since their quarterback is just a sophomore to lighten the pressure. And if your wondering, the last three meetings have went to Chase.
Thomas Jefferson @ Lee Academy (SC)
Thomas Jefferson takes to the road to face the Cavaliers this week, but not the Rutherford County version of the Cavaliers.
It’s gonna be a long ride for the Gryphons as the open the season in Bishopville, South Carolina versus Robert E. Lee Academy. I don’t know much about those Cavaliers, but from what I have gathered, Lee Academy has a very limited roster with around 20 players or so and they don’t have much size either.
Offensively, this is a chance to build #14 Mason Martin’s confidence even more as the new quarterback. Defensively, #55 Chris Mintz should be able to get a good pass rush and hopefully that side of the ball can record a number of sacks to start the year off right.