Polk at Chase
The Trojans have a new head coach in Cort Radford as he implements a Spread offense at Chase. Although, Radford is more of a defensive coach, the objective is pretty simple this season.
"I see a lot of promise here and I am excited to see what we can do this season," Radford said. "Trying to get these kids to believe that they can win every week and they have chosen to hit the weight room a lot more often is a big step in that change."
Garrett Hampton and Kiylan Miller will be the two biggest threats on offense. Tragen Moore (C, MLB) and Tylek Surratt (DL) should be key defensively.
While Chase is excited about the start of a new tenure at the coaching helm, Polk will be on the emotional side. The Wolverines tragically lost two-way player, Markell Lipscomb (WR/DB) in a car crash just weeks ago.
Elijah Sutton (nearly 1300 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns) will be the workhorse out of the backfield. While there is no more Dillon Overholt, Coach Bruce Ollis is one of the best in Western North Carolina.
Chase is very capable of winning due to the fact that Polk's numbers are not great and they lost most of their weapons from a year ago.
Polk is normally disciplined and they run what plays they have available extremely well.
North Lincoln at Thomas Jefferson
Both teams are starting from scratch in a sense on offense. Both took big hits as most of the programs skilled players graduated a few months ago.
At least Thomas Jefferson has Nomi McMullens back under center. McMullens accounted for nearly 3000 yards a year ago. Almost 1900 yards throwing and 1100 more running the football, the senior will be the catalyst this season.
North Lincoln will use the Spread offense with feature back Clayton Cribb (1,120 rushing in 2017) in the mix.
The Gryphons haven't lost a home game in the last 10, including a 7-0 record one year ago. It's in jeopardy tonight.
Thomas Jefferson 24 North Lincoln 20
South Stanly at East Rutherford
With Jordan Harris as one of the best receivers in the conference back and of course the explosive, Demetrius Mauney (1572 yards/20 TD's) carrying the football, the Cavs should be okay offensively. Meanwhile, the second and third level of defense should be pretty solid as well. Like the last few seasons, the question remains on whether line play can do its job. Cole Larsen and Joey Detetta are experienced seniors on defense. Both will likely have a heavier role with the loss of graduating Cade Hamilton.
Jaquez Cooke took over at quarterback after East Rutherford dismantled them a year ago. Cooke ran and threw for nearly a combined 1900 yards.
Athletically outmatched and in roster size as well, they will be too much for the Bulls once again this season.
East Rutherford 35-6.
R-S Central at McDowell
McDowell returns a slew of players from a year ago and so does Central. The biggest difference this season for the Hilltoppers is change of offensive style. Last year, they tried the spread offense and while it was more appealing, it just didn't pan out.
"Last year, I was building a team and instead I needed to build a program," R-S Central Head Football Coach Brad Hutchins said. "I think this season, things are more smooth, the culture is heading in the right direction."
This season, it's a healthy C.J. Hannon who leads an option offense. Bryson Flynn likely gets the start at quarterback. Former Cavalier and quality athlete, Bryson Jarrell will do his best to replace the heart of the Hilltoppers from a year ago in Demarcus Johnson (136 tackles last year).
Liam Harris, Jake Fry and Gray Parton all are back among lineman, but R-S Central has just seven overall seniors which makes them one of the youngest in the state. The good news is that a ton of freshman played a year ago, so most have game experience.
J.C. Olivo will man the backfield for the Titans. They also have Cedric Biddle and Andrew Davis who will likely be called upon to carry the pigskin.
No matter how you slice it, these two can't play a game together without making it close. Expect the same in Marion on Friday night.
R-S Central 19-14