Week 2 Preview: Raiders to sport new look for home opener
Zero Dark Friday?
Southern Vance is taking a page out of the UNC football book with new black jerseys and pants. The Raiders will debut the new look tonight in their home opener against Cedar Ridge.
The Tar Heels busted out an all-black look last season in a Thursday night matchup with Miami in what was billed as Zero Dark Thursday.
“We saw those last year and I thought those looked really good with the black jerseys and Carolina Blue numbers,” said Southern head coach Lewis Young. “So we have the same color scheme.”
Traditionally, Southern wears dark blue jerseys at home and either dark blue or white pants on the road. The Raiders plan to wear the black jerseys at home this season and use the black pants as an alternate option for away games.
Southern players got a close-up of the new kits on Wednesday.
“We’ve been waiting on them for a long time,” said senior Maurice Howard, “and we finally get a chance to see them. I’m excited. I’m ready for Friday now.”
“It’s a fun feeling,” said senior Juwan Harris. “Everybody was excited to see them today for the first time.”
The traditional Carolina Blue helmets remain along with an interlocking SV decal that now rests inside the black outline of a pentagon, meant to resemble the Superman shield. The helmets also feature a new black stripe.
Alternate uniforms, featuring black or gray, have become commonplace in college athletics in recent years. N.C. State unveiled its “Pack in Black” football helmets earlier this summer and East Carolina donned black for much of the 2013 football season.
Southern’s 2-A Northern Carolina Conference rival Warren County debuted alternate black jerseys and pants last season.
It’s the Raiders’ turn now.
“Anything to give them a little boost,” said Young, “something to be proud of, something they can hold on to.”
“I feel excited any time I put on a football uniform,” said Howard. “But the new uniforms — I feel like it’s a revolution for the Southern Vance football team.”
Other things to watch in Week 2:
PEYTON FOOTBALL: Young sees some Johnny Manziel in Cedar Ridge quarterback Peyton Pappas, who threw for 334 yards and two touchdowns last week in a 39-38 loss to Carrboro. The junior also scored twice on the ground.
“Their offense is so much more explosive this year,” said Young. “They have a really good quarterback. He’s dangerous. He’s not just passing, but running it too. He kind of reminds me a little bit of Johnny Football.”
The Red Wolves are led by Clay Jones, a first-year head football coach and the former Warren County head boys basketball coach. Jones also coaches Cedar Ridge’s boys basketball team.
Southern opened last week with a 40-0 loss at Elizabeth City Northeastern.
EAGLES’ RETURN: Warren County returns to Viking Stadium for the first time since claiming a 22-17 win in 2009.
Warren County’s 46-22 win over Northern Vance last season was the first meeting between the schools since 2010.
“I know they’re going to be up for us because we beat them,” said Warren County head coach John Ward. “They’re going to want to avenge that at their place I’m sure.”
“Everybody is up for it. My kids are up for it,” said Northern head coach Eric Watkins. “They know how big of a game this is even though it’s a nonconference game.”
SEASON OPENER: The Eagles are opening their season while Northern started last week with a 49-21 loss to Ravenscroft.
Warren County has three starters out with injuries and Ward said the Eagles are having to “reinvent the wheel” on the offensive front because of the setbacks.
Ward said his biggest concerns against the Vikings are protecting the football and limiting big plays.
Northern quarterback Kris Haywood threw touchdowns of 45, 22 and 9 yards last week; two to Quavon Harris and one to Jonas Simmons.
“They’re better than they were last year,” said Ward. “They’re faster and bigger than they were last year.”
GRYPHONS CAN FLY: Rocky Mount smashed South Granville 34-0 last week, holding the Vikings to 118 total yards of offense.
Webb lost 30-0 to the Gryphons last season and Webb head coach Tony Midgette saw another fast, athletic team on film against South Granville.
“This year I think they’re a little bit smaller,” said Midgette, “but I think they’re quicker up front on the defensive line. They have speed and athleticism on defense. They caused a lot of havoc up front for South Granville.”
Rocky Mount’s Rashawn Harris caught a 27-yard touchdown pass and scored on a 72-yard punt return. Malik Lewis ran for a 70-yard score and added 27 additional rushing yards.
DYNAMIC DUO: South Granville’s Sean Bowman, the preseason pick for 2-A Northern Carolina Conference Player of the Year, was held to 35 rushing yards by Rocky Mount and the Vikings never got inside the Gryphons’ 20-yard line.
Webb’s offense is led by tailback Tevin Evans and fullback Rakym Winstead, who combined for more than 350 rushing yards in a 39-30 comeback win over Granville Central last week.
“Every game we feel like we want to establish the run,” said Midgette. “I think those two guys did a great job. We moved some people around on the offensive line. I think that was the big difference from the first quarter.”
Rocky Mount was eliminated in the first round of the state playoffs last season by Orange and was picked by league coaches to finish third in the 3-A Big Eight Conference this season.
“Up front, we have to neutralize some of that speed Rocky Mount has,” said Midgette.
|Cedar Ridge at Southern Vance|
|Warren County at Northern Vance|
|Rocky Mount at J.F. Webb|