Eagles look to end skid against Southern
Warren County and Southern Vance will renew their 2-A Northern Carolina Conference football rivalry Friday at Raider Stadium.
The Eagles and Raiders haven’t met as league opponents since 2008 and Warren County hasn’t claimed a win over Southern since 1999. The schools have met in every season since 1993.
Northern Vance hosts Northwood for homecoming in 3-A Big Eight Conference action and J.F. Webb welcomes unbeaten Orange, ranked seventh in the latest Associated Press 3-A state high school football poll.
Warren County (5-3, 1-1) at Southern Vance (3-5, 1-1)
Warren County’s coaches and players are well aware of their 13-game losing streak to rival Southern Vance.
But Eagles’ head coach John Ward said the teams’ positions in the conference standings is what makes this one a big game to him.
Warren County can move into the upper half of the league table with a win, an unfamiliar position for the Eagles in the last several years.
“We’ve got to win this one to make that a possibility,” said Ward.
Southern head coach Lewis Young echoed Ward’s sentiment. Young knows he won’t have to try too hard to get his guys motivated to play Warren County.
“The stakes have been raised a little,” said Young. “Everybody knows both teams are coming in with one loss and trying to take a step up in the conference.”
South Granville and Franklinton join Warren County and Southern with one conference loss while Bunn is the only unbeaten team. Roanoke Rapids has no league wins.
Ward said half of his backfield could be out with injuries.
Five Eagles have more than 350 rushing yards on the season in Ward’s single-wing offense. Jaquan Jones and Kaelan Evans, who see most of the snaps at quarterback, each have more than 500.
“Their offense is just hard to stop,” said Young. “So much misdirection. It makes you stay balanced. And they’ve been passing a lot better.”
Southern has been passing better too with quarterback Ty-Traveon Roberts reclaiming his starting role in last week’s upset of South Granville. But Young said the injured Roberts is a gametime decision Friday.
Northwood (6-2, 2-2) at Northern Vance (0-8, 0-4)
Northern head coach Eric Watkins is telling his team to “just go out there and play.”
Watkins has been pleased with the Vikings’ attitude all season despite the empty win column.
“We’re always thinking positive and looking for positives,” said Watkins. “The kids are amazing to me. They’re good kids first of all and they’re working hard. The underclassmen have really been stepping up.”
“The kids come in with enthusiasm every week and they don’t change,” added Watkins. “They’re trying to get better at what they do.”
Watkins said senior defensive back and slot receiver Trakey Evans stood up in practice this week and told his teammates he didn’t want to lose his fourth straight homecoming game and the Vikings responded with one of their more intense workouts of the season.
Evans and his fellow defensive backs will be tested by Northwood quarterback Ti Pinnix and the Chargers’ spread attack.
Northwood is averaging 43.1 points and lost 56-54 last week to Southern Durham, one of two unbeaten teams in Big Eight Conference play along with Orange.
“He throws the ball well,” Watkins said of Pinnix. “He seems to be reading the field pretty good and he’s a pretty smart guy.”
Orange (8-0, 4-0) at Webb (2-6, 0-4)
Webb has opened Big Eight play with four losses after starting the season 2-2. It’s not getting easier for the Warriors, who host Orange Friday and Southern Durham next week before closing the season at Northern Vance.
Webb fell 24-17 to then winless Cedar Ridge last week.
Orange is coming off of a 6-0 win against county rival Chapel Hill last week. A 45-yard touchdown pass with no time left in regulation gave the Panthers the win.
Prior to that, Orange’s closest game on the season was a 20-point win over Northwood.
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