Challenging week for area football teams
Two area teams are looking for redemption Friday while Warren County looks to improve to 2-0.
Northern Vance and Webb each lost last week and the Vikings are searching for their first win. Both are at home Friday as Northern hosts Franklinton and Webb entertains county rival South Granville.
Warren County is also at home, looking to go 2-0 after last week’s win over Northern.
Southern Vance returns to action next week against Northern.
Franklinton (2-0) at Northern Vance (0-2)
Franklinton is off to a perfect start this season. The Red Rams opened with a 29-20 win over Goldsboro before last week’s 50-28 win at Louisburg.
Franklinton lost its starting running back from last season’s team that finished 9-3, but Northern head coach Eric Watkins said the Red Rams still look strong.
“They look pretty solid,” said Watkins. “They don’t look too much different from last year.”
Daquan Neal, a true dual-threat quarterback, is back for Franklinton.
“He’s an athletic kid,” said Watkins. “Don’t think he won’t tuck it and run it if he has to.”
A point of emphasis in practice this week for Northern has been attacking on defense. Watkins said that aggressive mentality has been lacking as the Vikings have opened with two losses, a 34-14 defeat at Ravenscroft and a 46-22 decision at Warren County.
Sophomore running back and defensive back Tyrrick Bullock is back for Northern after sitting out last week with a concussion. Trakey Evans’ return also gives the Vikings another weapon in the secondary.
“He can bust it anytime,” Watkins said of Bullock. “He can uplift the offense the way he runs the ball and it’s the same with Trakey on defense. He brings that leadership. And he talks. He brings that communication that we’ve been lacking.”
South Granville (1-1) at J.F. Webb (1-1)
It’s rivalry week in Oxford. Again.
This time Webb hosts South Granville and the Vikings are off to a 1-1 start with a 27-14 loss to Rocky Mount followed by last week’s 37-13 win over Chapel Hill.
“This is one we feel like we almost gotta win,” said Webb head coach Tony Midgette. “It’s one of those that the players feel like, ‘We gotta bat South Granville,’ like, ‘We gotta beat Granville Central.’”
Webb opened with a 29-14 win over Granville Central in Week 1 before being shut out at Rocky Mount last week.
South Granville prides itself on its rushing attack, led this season by a veteran offensive line and tailback Sean Bowman, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season. The Vikings can throw it around too. Senior quarterback Matt McCutcheon is the signal caller. He threw for 79 yards and a touchdown last week.
“They’re going to be very fundamentally sound up front,” said Midgette. “We have to do our part to make sure we’re doing everything right.”
Harrells Christian (2-0) at Warren County (1-0)
The best defense for Warren County Friday could be a good offense — at least one that can hang on to the ball and grind clock.
Harrells Christian has outscored its opponents this season 75-6 in six quarters of football. The Crusaders’ 41-0 win over South Lenoir was suspended because of storms and was not completed.
Harrells, located in Sampson and Duplin counties, averaged nearly 60 points per game last season, ultimately falling in the second round of the N.C. Independent School Athletic Association Division II Tournament in a game that received national attention. The Crusaders fell to Florida quarterback recruit Will Grier and Davidson Day, 104-80.
“I reckon if we can keep the ball away from them, we’ll have a chance,” said Warren County head coach John Ward.
Harrells is led by Brian Aldridge, a former head coach at East Duplin, Beulaville and Whiteville high schools. The Crusaders run a wing-T offense.
Ward knows a thing or two about the wing-T, calling it the “stepson” to his single-wing attack.
“You better be assignment sound,” Ward said of defending Harrells. “The problem is when somebody tries to make up for somebody else.”
Ward said Harrells “runs the heck out of the ball” and is a big team for a school its size, although the most important things he has noticed is technique and a willingness to play hard regardless of the score.
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