Game of the Week: Forestview @ Nation Ford, SC: The Jaguars and the Falcons continue their border battle. The Falcons have played the Jaguars since Nation Ford opened up in 2007. This is their sixth annual battle with the Falcons leading the series 3-2. The Jaguars are looking to even the series at three a piece, but the problem is they have not won a game south of the border as of yet. The Jaguars are 0-8 when going south of the border. Could this team write a new chapter in that story? The Falcons are coming off their best season in their five year history. They finished 6-6, winning two conference games and winning their first post-season game in school history.
My pick: Nation Ford 28 – Forestview 21
Providence Day @ South Point: The Red Raiders open the season up with a new opponent. South Point no longer plays Clover and has found a formidable replacement. The Providence Day Chargers will make a trip to Belmont this Friday to take on a young South Point squad. The Red Raiders have graduated many starters from last year’s 10-1 team, whom took a shocking first round exit at the hands of Weddington 23-17. Now, the Red Raiders can start anew. They bring a much younger team, but a team that’s just as tough. Providence Day will be a tough opener, though. They are the defending NCISAA champs and are expected to be just as good or better.
My pick: Providence Day 27 – South Point 21
Ashbrook @ Olympic: A game that has been played the fourth or fifth week of the season is being moved up to week one. Last year, Ashbrook was riding a two-game winning streak until Olympic ended their fun. The Trojans won 34-28 at Ashbrook. The last time the Green Wave has beaten Olympic was in 2007. Ashbrook won the game 28-20. Can Ashbrook snap their losing streak to Olympic or will the Green Wave take another one on the chin. Olympic finished second behind Charlotte Catholic in the MEGA-4A/3A conference.
My pick: Olympic 24 – Ashbrook 14
Asheville @ North Gaston: After last year’s 63-14 thumping at the hands of Asheville, this is probably not the game that the Wildcats would like to start their season with. But North Gaston should be much improved over last year. The Wildcats went 0-10 on the field but scooped up a forfeit win against Hickory to give them a 1-9 record. The Cougars won their conference last year with an undefeated record. They were, however, tripped in the third round with a 28-25 loss to Crest.
My pick: Asheville 47 – North Gaston 14
Hunter Huss @ East Gaston: This will be the last year these two face off in a nonconference game. East Gaston is set to rejoin the Big South next year. The Warriors return only seven starters from last year’s team while Hunter Huss returns twice that number. The Huskies won last year’s game 39-32, but were outgained by East Gaston in yardage. The Huskies started the season 5-0, but lost their last seven including a first round playoff loss to Franklin 28-7. Both teams are hoping to improve from a 5-7 record last year. One player to look out for in this game is Hunter Huss RB Kerrion Moore.
My pick: Hunter Huss 27 – East Gaston 14
Burns @ Crest: Last year, Burns finally snapped a long losing streak to the Chargers as they trounced Crest 33-12. This is a new season, however. The Bulldogs will be bringing in new faces as they lost QB Brandon Littlejohn and RB Darius Ramsey and many players on defense. Crest loses RB/DB Rhahiem Ledbetter and DE Jonathan Bullard. Both are currently with the Florida Gators. The Chargers, however, return many other players on their team and could be a threat to take the Big South conference title. Look for this game to be classic Cleveland County shootout.
My pick: Crest 28 – Burns 21
East Rutherford @ Kings Mountain: This game, just like the Huss and East Gaston game, will be a conference game next year. The Mountaineers last year had a slow start going 2-4 before rallying to finish in a tie for third in the Big South conference. With 14 starters back from that team, look for a much stronger start from Kings Mountain.
My pick: Kings Mountain 31 – East Rutherford 14
Maiden @ Lincolnton: The Blue Devils have not beaten the Wolves since 2007. With only four starters back from last year’s 2A state runner-up squad this could be Maiden’s chance to take down the Wolves. But Lincolnton will still be dangerous and could keep the winning streak against their neighbors up 321 going. Lincolnton won last year’s game 35-10. This game tonight should be much closer. These two teams will be reunited as conference foes next year. They haven’t been in the same conference since the 2000-2001 school year.
My pick: Maiden 21 – Lincolnton 14
Newton-Conover @ East Lincoln: After dropping seven of the previous match-up with the Red Devils, the East Lincoln Mustangs broke through with a dominant 55-13 victory last year. The Red Devils break in a new head coach in Brint Russell and a young team. Can the Mustangs make it two in a row against the Red Devils? As if this series wasn’t beginning to get exciting enough, these two teams will be put in the same conference next year.
My pick: East Lincoln 28 – Newton-Conover 14
Bunker Hill @ Cherryville: The Bears and the Ironmen continue their series. Bunker Hill has won the last three meetings between these two. Before that, the Ironmen took four straight 2005-2008. Those four games are the only ones Cherryville has won in the series. With 15 starters back from last year, the Ironmen could be in position to add another one into their column.
My pick: Cherryville 21 – Bunker Hill 17
Bishop McGuiness @ Bessemer City: Bessemer City was idle the first week of the season last year. But they have filled that spot with Bishop McGuiness from Kernersville. The Villains finished 2-8 last year. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets are coming off a solid year. They started off 0-4, one of those losses became a win-by-forfeit. After that the Yellow Jackets won five out of their last six of their games before bowing to Hendersonville in the playoffs. Look for a much improved Yellow Jackets team tonight.
My pick: Bessemer City 21 – Bishop McGuiness 14
Chase @ West Lincoln: The Trojans are coming off a solid 9-3 season. The Rebels, on the other hand, are trying to put last season behind them. A win against a good Chase team could set the tone for West Lincoln.
My pick: Chase 21 – West Lincoln 13
Fred T. Foard @ North Lincoln: These two teams met for the first time last year. The Foard Tigers won the game 25-6. North Lincoln only returns eight starters from last year while Foard is supposed to be much improved.
My pick: Fred T. Foard 28 – North Lincoln 12
Victory Christian @ Highland Tech: The Rams start the year off with only 22 players meaning they will need to stay healthy in order to compete. It could be another bumpy ride for Highland Tech.
My pick: Victory Christian 21 – Highland Tech 7