North Johnston (0-1)
at Bunn (0-1)
The area’s only Thursday night game this year features North’s second straight week facing a familiar opponent showing up for the first time in its nonconference schedule. Last week, it was Northern Carolina 2A Conference member Franklinton. This week, it’s NCC member Wildcats.
Longtime head coach David Howle is back at the helm for the Wildcats, although he will miss more game nights than he’ll attend since he’s vowed to attend Penn State games this season with his son, Ty Howle, who starts at center for the Nittany Lions.
The Thursday night spot gives coach Howle the chance to coach his Wildcats, then travel to New York City Friday for Penn State’s season opener against Syracuse.
South Johnston (0-1)
at West Johnston (1-0)
There’s a good chance this one will be the most competitive games on the Friday night schedule this week. Why? History, simply. The last five games in the series and six of the last seven have been decided by a touchdown or less.
There will be plenty of nerves rolling on both sides, so both sides want to win the battle against mental mistakes and turnovers. The team that turns the ball over the fewest amount of times almost always wins close games.
And this should be a very close game.
at Corinth Holders (1-0)
It’s been all Comet blue so far in this developing nearby school rivalry. Clayton has outscored the Pirates 83-18 in the last two seasons and looks to build on that streak heading into the long weekend.
The experience for Corinth Holders is on the defensive side of the ball this season, and that’s the group that will need to step up if the series trend gets reversed this week. The Pirates return nine starters on that side of the ball.
They’ll have to figure out Clayton’s wing-T attack, which features dangerous slashing runners and the pounder in fullback Jace Brown. The Comets also want to get quarterback Sam May involved more in the offense early this season, so the Pirates’ secondary will need to be readily aware of play action off of the run game.
Offensively, the Pirates need to find some more production of their own. Ideally, those would be clock- and yardage-churning drives.
at Southern Wayne (0-1)
It should be a strength vs. strength battle – literally and figuratively – when Smithfield-Selma’s offensive line matches up against the defensive line of Southern Wayne. The Spartans’ offensive line includes four returnees with experience, while the Saints’ defensive line is anchored by Chris Brinson, Mitchell Morrisey and Marcus Elliot.
at Princeton (1-0)
These two former conference rivals were almost league rivals again but Midway’s a 2A school now. That means it goes to the Four County 2A Conference instead of the Carolina 1A with Princeton for the next four years.
The Raiders are coming off of a 5-7 record and are playing their second-straight road game.
Princeton continues its push to make Bartholomew Stadium a true home-field advantage with another victory.